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Burma Road portage removed for Dusi 2020

Safety and security concerns

The 2020 Dusi Canoe Marathon committee has taken the decision that the Burma Road portage on the third day of this year’s race will be off limits for safety and security reasons. Picture: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

Paddlers taking part in the 2020 Dusi Canoe Marathon from February 27-29 must factor in an important change to the final stage of the route, after the organisers confirmed that the option of the Burma Road portage will not be available.

The decision to run over the Burma Road portage can be a tactical advantage to very strong runners, and also cuts out some of the bigger rapids on the 36km final stage from Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon.

Dusi organising committee head Shane le Breton said the decision was made after meeting with the eThekwini Metro and SAPS management on concerns about the safety of paddlers.

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“It became clear that the resources that were requested were not available, to the point that we could not guarantee the safety of every paddler choosing to portage over Burma Road, so we had no option but to remove the Burma Road portage this year,” said Le Breton.

History of the Dusi

“It is a sad thing to have to do because Burma is etched in the history of the Dusi, and so many of the title races have been influenced by the strong runners going over the hill while the stronger paddlers paddle around.

“What makes the Dusi unique is that paddlers have to adapt to changing conditions. Not having the Burma Road portage as an option this year should be seen as a challenge for every participant.”

After a strong performance at the recent 50 Miler, Ant Stott (front) and Carl Folscher (back) have put their names in the contenders’ hat before the 2020 Dusi. Stott is a former Dusi winner and world marathon champion, and says he is thriving on his return to competitive K2 racing with Folscher because theirs is a combination that works instinctively. The paddling veteran says Folscher provides the power to the boat, while he contributes a wealth of paddling experience and tactical know-how on the Dusi. Picture: Anthony Grote/Gameplan Media

Le Breton confirmed that there had been several incidents during the past few years that heightened the concern about the safety of paddlers running the portage through the outskirts of Inanda.

Manpower

“Sadly we don’t have assurances of manpower to be able to do that (ensure security) this year. The area on the descent has also developed significantly over the last year, and we could no longer use traditional paths through the bush.

“That would require runners to use the tar roads for the descent, which is an added complication as these roads cannot be closed,” he added.

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“We will sign-post all the major rapids on the paddle around Burma. That, coupled with the abundance of videos on the race website detailing these rapids, will ensure that every paddler is equipped with the information they need to safely enjoy the final stage into Blue Lagoon,” he said.

He added that a new repair station will be set-up at the Burma Road take-out to fix any damaged craft.

Good water

“We anticipate having good water for the paddle around as Inanda dam is about 75% full, and many Dusi regulars regard this section of river going around Burma as one of the highlights of the race,” he added.

The 2020 Dusi Canoe Marathon takes place from February 27 to 29, 2020. Entry details and more information can be found at www.dusi.co.za

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