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Century City canoeists shine at Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon

20 August 2014

Century City canoeists shine at Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon

Ivan Kruger, one of Century City sports ambassadors, and partner Graeme Solomon finished seventh overall in the recently held Green Kalahari Canoe Marathon (GKCM).
The GKCM is a kayaking race that takes place annually on the Orange River from Upington to Augrabies with this year’s race attracting a record number of entrants including international paddlers from the Czeck Republic and Sweden. 

This is Ivan’s record of the event.
Day 1-30km
A furious start saw the Czeck boat taking an early lead and claiming the first hotspot prize. A break away bunch which included myself and Graeme Solomon slowly reeled them in and eventually caught them after about 5km.  The bunch stayed like this for the next hour as we zigg-zagged through the various rock formations that make up the uncountable number of channels on the river.
Roughly 5 km from the finish you get to a compulsory portage. My  river knowledge coming in handy I knew that we had to get there first. We got out the portage first and managed to obtain a small lead with only the Czeck boat and Stuart McLaren  and Tom Sc;hilperoot hanging in. The day result was decided in an end-sprint which Graeme and I just  took from the Czeck boat.
Day 2- 39km
Starting the day in elapsed time, again it was the top 3 boats together. The big obstacle of the day would be a 1.8km portage after 15km. Disaster struck 50m before the portage when our boat struck a rock which tore a 30cm cut in the side of the boat-we didn't notice immediately. We had a fairly good portage where again we managed to break away. Roughly 500m after the portage i felt the water level in the boat rising. We were busy sinking and had nothing to repair the boat and to the next seconding spot was 14km away to make matters even worse. 
We paddled the next hour emptying the boat every 10 mins. We even had to get rescued by the police rubber duck when we sunk paddling across the dam just before the final portage of the day.
In total we lost about 22min on the front bunch and put ourselves out of a podium position.
Day 3-24km
Race plan for the day was to hurt the people. Being a short day we decided to go flat out at every opportunity that we got and prove a point. At the start it was a massive bunch of 7 boats that got away. This remained unchanged till the hot spot of the day. A strong challenge from “the Zulus” - Sbonelo Zondi and Thulani Mbanjwa -in the sprint saw some of the weaker boats fall off. We took the hotspot.
Just 2km later you get to another compulsory portage. We once again managed to get away with the Zulus and the Czecks. This high paced racing continued all the way to the finish where we once again won the end-sprint and took line honours for the day. 
A bit of bad luck on day 2 cost us a potential race victory,  but a strong showing on the last day left me satisfied with my effort and a hunger to come back even stringer next time.