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Winter arrived on the highveld for the Gauteng Marathon Champs at Roodeplaat, so this was the first event where we have had cold weather. It was fresh for the K1s on Saturday and then on Sunday conditions got worse; but this did make the K2 racing and results interesting.

On Saturday, in the Guppies Ruoxi showed his form and consistency in winning again with Phamana just beating Cayden, while Amilie who has been battling with the likes of Buhle and Cassandra over the last several weeks took the Gauteng girls honours. Kyle Armdorf won the short course race but there was a good battle between him and Rico from ACA who just managed to drop Helen and Alexis in the final sprint. Respect to Gunther who stopped and helped Kayla after she fell out and had to swim to the bank, although she then dropped him; shame. In the lady seniors, Caitlyn was without competition and comfortably won the Gauteng crown, with Alison Hay from the Lowveld coming second. Where the other ladies were, we don’t know. In the senior men, it wasn’t the same names we have heard in the last few weeks as we had some guys from the Cape and KZN come to check out the course. Uli Hart took first place, followed closely by Hank and then young Luke, so we had two U23 on the podium and a Sub Master. Our Vet, Wayne was 4th by 1 second. In the age groups Alexia was first U16, Theo first U18, MJ first Sub Vet, Monty Monteith first Great Grand Master and Woody Wilson first Grand Master, so Dabs dominated the Gauteng Golds. Well done to all 52 who paddled the long course. In total there were over 130 boats out on the water on Saturday. Fantastic stuff. And some not so fantastic put-ins, like this one by our drummer boy…

Where Saturday was fresh for the K1’s the K2’s had it cold and windy on the Sunday. In the senior men’s there was an initial front bunch of 4 boats: Hank and Uli, Wayne and Luke, Rob and MJ, Jack and Alex, and as the day progressed the wind and waves got worse. Hank and Uli who have a penchant for coming first; were the first boat to take a swim. Wayne and Luke had to pull over on the first lap to empty and then on the second lap, both Wayne and Luke along with Rob and MJ got swamped, sank and had a swim, leaving the victory to Alex and Jack who weren’t struggling as much in the conditions, as they were in an Ultra, a fast boat with a high deck. Clever boys. Benjamin and Lollipop were second with Siseko and Wally Fisher coming third. The bookies would have lost money if you had called that. Only one ladies K2 finished with Helen and Caitlyn taking the win. Renchi and Sarah were also out there, but they got swamped and had to abandon their ship. Some likened the conditions to the 2023 Freedom Paddle, which was best described in one word: Kak. So well done to all who went and competed. As Boet (who appears to be getting soft in his old age) said: ‘Salute to the club members who gave up their weekend to help!’ Thanks to Rob, MJ, Elandrie, Kevlar, Rene, Geachy, Steve, Brad, Philip & Esti, Jennie & Bertie. All who will be selflessly giving up another 3 days in two weeks’ time to run the SA Marathon Champs. Danko, girls and guys, Danko.

Well done to our ever busy Chairman Elandrie who went on a crusade to get the Scarcies the nutrition they need for racing. So, Fresh Earth will be doing a talk at the next camp to stress the importance of nutrition for racing, plus Fresh Earth and the Ridge together with Dabulamanzi have sponsored prepacked breakfasts and lunches for 5 days for all the Scaries participating at GCU and SA Marathon Champs. So this is a big shout out from the Scarcies and E3 to the Ridge for their amazing support. Thank you!

Next weekend it’s the infamous Turtle Tour. What a fantastic way to escape the weather that has arrived in Joburg. The likes of Raoul, Moolies and Fish are always keen to have new recruits, so call them if you are keen. Have fun guys, we know there will be stories, but please don’t make them too epic.

On Sunday it’s the Big C. It will be an up run and the shortest ever (due to roadworks), but hey 86km is still a long way. Only three of our guys are going. Sheldon, Kevin and Chuck are off to earn their beers. We also have one lady entered. Claudia is a proper runner but has had swine flu and is undecided about starting; an awful position to be in after months of training. Good luck guys. Enjoy the day, have a good one!

SA Champs are in two weeks’ time so this weekend’s event was great for our guys to experience the course, the take-outs and put-ins. We just have to hope that we don’t get Sundays conditions again. The racing is going to be fantastic, particularly among the elite women and men. With Andy and Hamish having qualified for the Olympics, many thought they would bow out of Marathons to focus on Sprinting, but the lure of selection for the World Champs in Croatia, where if they were to go, they would be far more likely to medal than at the Olympics, means that they will be competing at Roodeplaat. But just as they spoiled the party for Chrisjan and Nicholas, there are guys from Gauteng, KZN, the Eastern and Western Cape, all wanting to spoil theirs. In you are not an elite like Wayne or a wannabe like Willie who will be there to paddle, go watch; it promises to be exciting stuff.

Lastly, for those who can’t get into the boat pound, please complain to the club administrator; her name is Caren Naude. She cut you off, just as those people of Eskom like to do, so it’s her fault; unless you haven’t paid your fees.

Till next time – Go Dabs!