Cradock – The flat-water marathon season might be the focus with the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships on the horizon, however Christie Mackenzie and Saskia Hockly have confirmed they will team up for the 2023 Fish River Canoe Marathon from 6-7 October.
The North Coast-based training partners will both be in Denmark representing South Africa at the Marathon World Championships from August 31 to September 3, and they will be hoping to peak in time for the global showpiece.
“We just kind of knew that we were going to paddle Fish together to be honest,” Mackenzie said. “I’ve been training with Matt (Bouman) and the squad for a year now and Saskia and I jumped in the boat before SA Marathons, and we felt comfortable together.
“We will want to get into a river together to test our water wings, but at the moment we feel comfortable, and we will have a bit of time to train before we head to Cradock this year.”
In years past, paddlers that have paddled in the World Marathon Champs have had a race against time to get to Cradock in time for the start of the Fish, this year is different, and Euro Steel’s Mackenzie is looking forward to a more relaxed build up.
“It’s nice that we will have some time to train together after Worlds and before Fish, because that hasn’t been the case in the past.
“I am excited about having a nice gap between getting back from Denmark and then getting to Cradock,” Mackenzie added.
“The quick turnaround is tough psychologically, especially when I was studying, working and paddling – so it was a bit much.
“This year we have a nice break in between, so I can get back into work and get my mind right for the next race. It’s also tiring because your build-up is never as good as you would want.
“It will be nice to build up again for Fish and then taper again before the race this year,” she commented.
Mackenzie has one winner’s medal in a K2 with Bridgitte Hartley (pictured above on their way to victory), and she is eager to add another one to the handful of silver medals she has. Mackenzie believes she should have a better record at the Klein Karoo classic.
“I’ve been known to swim quite a bit in the past and I think that is changing as I gain more confidence in myself, and training in Durban has put me in a different headspace.
“Training in the ocean has definitely helped my river skills as well because the ocean is a scary place for me!” she laughed.
“My swimming has let me down in the past and in the last year it’s slowly started coming right and it’s shown in the Drak and Dusi this year with the big water levels.
“Girls bank on me taking one or two swims and with that out the equation it’s sort of surprised everyone,” Mackenzie mentioned.
More information can be found at www.fishmarathon.org.za.