Therons spice up already potent Non-Stop Dusi Mixed flavour

Pietermaritzburg – Husband and wife paddling stars Jen and Jacques Theron have thrown their hat into the ring for the upcoming Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon as more as even more women brave the tough challenge of doing the “Dusi-in-a-day”.

2013 mixed doubles victors, the Therons have confirmed they will again be on the start line of this year’s race as they look to defend the title they claimed in their maiden attempt, finishing just six minutes off Ken Collins and Abbey Ulansky’s 2007 mixed doubles record.

“We just had such fun last year!” enthused Knysna Racing/PVM’s Theron fresh off her and Dusi partner Jane Swarbreck’s fifth place finish in the women’s section of the iconic three day event.

“Plus Jacques has some unfinished business with the stretch from Tops Needle (Rapid) to the finish,” she added tongue-in-cheek after Jacques and Pope’s Canoe Centre/Matelec’s Shaun Griffin’s Dusi Canoe Marathon top 10 hopes were obliterated just a few days ago when they wrapped their boat around a rock in the rapid shortly below Inanda Dam’s wall.

Having stormed home in 8 hours, 43 minutes and 2 seconds, crossing the line in an impressive seventh place, it will be tough to beat their 2013 efforts this time around however Jen is confident she and Jacques can do so.

“Last year I was so unconfident about my ability to go such a long way in one day so I definitely held back a bit. This time though we’re definitely looking to race and we’d love to win the mixed doubles again!

“Holding back last year probably ended up being a good thing for me, having never done anything similar to that sort of distance ever before.

“This time round, now that I know what it feels like to go that distance and what sort of pacing is required, we’ll have to be careful not to get a bit carried away and push things too hard too soon,” she added cautiously.

With strong opposition expected in this year’s Non-Stop Dusi mixed doubles category and the adventure a character testing one in itself, a strong effort from the Theron couple will be required if they are to achieve their goal but if anyone has the strength of mind and paddling and running pedigree to do so, its Jen and Jacques.

“Jacques is a lot fitter this year than he was last year and we’re both a lot more running fit after Dusi,” said Jen.

“The real challenge is just getting the mind right. It’s all about going into it knowing you’ll be out there for the whole day and then it’s actually even a bit easier than Dusi, especially with the section through confluence on Dusi’s second two not being a part of Non-Stop.”

With the likes of Theron’s Dusi partner Swarbreck and her boyfriend Ant Bown also set to tackle the clash and a possibility of Race Food/Pepto Sport’s Hilary Bruss and 2014 Dusi 24th place finisher Kevin Musgrave pairing up, a fascinating mixed doubles contest is likely to unfold and the category’s current race record may well be under threat once more should the water gods smile upon the duel.

The 2014 Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon begins at Camps Drift, Pietermaritzburg at 05h30 on Friday 28 February and finishes at Blue Lagoon, Durban. More info can be found at www.nonstopdusi.co.za

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Jen (Knysna Racing/PVM) and Jacques Theron are eager overcome the challenge of their fellow mixed doubles contenders and defend the category’s Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon title they clinched handsomely in 2013. Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

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