1700 paddlers set to take on Fish River

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Friday, 1st October 2010

CRADOCK came to life yesterday as more than 1700 paddlers flocked into the Karoo town ahead of the start of the Hansa-Powerade Fish River Canoe Marathon today.

Competitors face blistering hot conditions this year, with the temperature expected to reach a high of 36°C on the first day of the two-day event.

This year’s marathon, a K-2 race, is expected to be among the most competitive in the event’s 28-year history.

“King of the Fish” Hank McGregor will be hoping to clinch his third successive K-2 race, having won the 2006 race with last year’s K-1 champ Len Jenkins, and the 2008 race with youngster Grant van der Walt, who will again be his partner this year.

Unfortunately for Cradock-born brothers Greg and Ryan Louw, who came third in the 2008 race, their quest to be the first local winners was dealt a blow when elder brother Ryan broke his arm in a bicycle accident.

“It’s really sad that I won’t be participating but will be a spectator this year. But it will be a great race,” said Ryan, who will be taking off the cast on his left arm in three weeks’ time.

It will be a sea of pink at this year’s race as the paddlers will be embracing an initiative to support the Cradock Cancer Care unit by wearing specially made pink caps.

The first day of the race today coincides with National Breast Cancer Awareness Day.

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