With the rescheduling of the MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon to March 18-20, former K1 and K2 champion Hank McGregor says he’s ready to put his hand up when the three-day classic gets under way at Camps Drift.
After the cancellation of the N3TC Drak Challenge during the height of the second wave of Covid-19 infections, the racing goalposts are constantly shifting, which tends to make planning difficult.
“There has been so much uncertainty. It makes is really difficult to train for anything!” lamented McGregor.
He pointed out that many elite athletes had planned their training to peak for the Dusi in mid-February, and the date change had played havoc with training plans.
McGregor said the regulations barring access to dams, rivers and beaches had also hamstrung elite paddlers trying to keep up their training routines.
Bridgette Hartley on the 2021 Dusi Canoe Marathon
“Being on the NCC committee and seeing the work that has gone into this year’s Dusi has really made me excited for the race” – Bridgitte Hartley
— Dusi Canoe Marathon (@DusiCanoe) February 17, 2021
McGregor continued: “As frustrating as it was, there is no way we could try to break the law just to go training,” he said. “We could drive down to the beachfront with our surfskis on the roof and look at the sea but not get onto the water legally.
“We agreed that we had to set an example and not try to be sanction-busters because that would encourage other paddlers to do likewise. Canoeing SA has done a great job getting us back to training and some events during this lockdown and we can’t have some selfish individuals jeopardising that,” he added.
When you hear the rivers are open and there's good water, grab your boat and run!🌊
— Dusi Canoe Marathon (@DusiCanoe) February 5, 2021
The 11-times marathon world champion has been staying in shape, and says the lockdown has forced him to increase his running, which may well play into his hands when the Dusi does finally get under way.
“My wife Pippa and I run at Holla trails just about every day, so I am in great running shape,” said McGregor. “Bring on the Dusi!” he added.
“Some of the runners might get a bit of a fright on the portages.”
McGregor won the K1 Dusi title in 2005 and then added the doubles title to his impressive CV the next year when he partnered the “Dusi Duke” Martin Dreyer. He claimed a second K2 title 12 years after his first doubles triumph, this time with Andy Birkett.
Dusi info at www.dusi.co.za