Dusi stars take to the water for 50 Miler

The 50 Miler on Saturday is one of the most popular Dusi Canoe Marathon seedings.


One of the Dusi Canoe Marathon’s most important qualifying races, the 50 Miler, will see some of the top contenders fight it out for early season honours when they tackle an important stretch of the Msundusi and Mngeni Rivers on Saturday.

The 38km route incorporates some of Dusi day one and two’s most important rapids and obstacles, giving paddlers a chance to tackle Mission Rapid, the Confluence, the Big Three rapids of Thombi, Gumtree and Hippo Rocks, and the infamous Nqumeni Portage, in racing conditions.

The race has also guaranteed a water release from Henley Dam, which will give paddlers a chance to race on close-to-Dusi conditions, seven weeks out from the three-day epic from February 27 to 29.

“The 50 Miler is always an important race because we have very few chances to go tripping these days,” the experienced Thulani Mbanjwa (pictured below) said.

Sbonelo Khwela

“Also, the 50 Miler is a race where you will always see the top Dusi crews and so you can get a good idea of who is going to be paddling with who and how you shape up against them.”

Bringing pedigree to the Dusi challenge

Mbanjwa has teamed up with former Dusi champion Sbonelo Khwela and the pair will be keeping a close eye on the other combinations going into this year’s 50 Miler to assess what sort of shape they are in prior to the event.

“I always feel like you need to race hard at the pre-Dusi races and we are going to make sure that we do everything we can to stay with the top guys.

“If you have trained hard and stay with the top guys then you are on the right track, but if you have trained hard and get dropped, you are in trouble,” he laughed.

Cabbage Tree Portage

While many of the elite K2 crews look to cement their Dusi seedings at the race, many choose to play their cards close to their chests, mindful of the belief that winning the 50 Miler compromises your chances of a Dusi win.

Tackling sewage and rubbish problems

The 50 Miler will have a distinct Dusi flavour with the inclusion of the Cabbage Tree Portage as an option for paddlers, but the Finger Nek and the first Saddles portages will not be available.

The weekend of Dusi training will include a shorter race from Mfula Store to eNanda on Sunday, taking full advantage of the water in the system. There are hopes that rain forecast for Friday will further boost the river levels for the two races..

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