Berg Ca­noe Marathon set for a new cham­pion

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - FRONT PAGE -

ELEVEN- TIME cham­pion Hank McGre­gor has con­firmed that he will not be tak­ing part in the Berg River Ca­noe Marathon from 12 to 15 July, leav­ing the door ajar for a new name to be en­graved onto the vic­tor’s tro­phy.

The 39 year old de­fend­ing champ is reg­u­larly con­flicted about which in­ter­na­tional events to con­test at this con­gested time in the global pad­dling calendar, and has opted out of do­ing the Berg this year to com­pete in a num­ber of in­ter­na­tional surf­ski races.

“It is such a hard de­ci­sion, but I have de­cided to fo­cus on Cana­dian surf­ski champs and the Gorge Down­wind champs on the Columbia river in the United States, which are ba­si­cally at the same time as the Berg,” said the Dur­ban­ite, pic­tured.

“Ob­vi­ously the World Marathon Champs in Pi­eter­maritz- burg in Septem­ber in­flu­enced my de­ci­sion as well. I feel that I have a good base af­ter my Molokai cam­paign, and now I want to fo­cus on my speed by do­ing some shorter races.

“You can­not come into a Berg un­der­cooked, it will come back and bite you!” he added. “You have to do the hard yards in train­ing if you are go­ing to be suc­cess­ful and en­joy the Berg,” he added.

The man who has dom­i­nated the Berg since his first win in 2005 vowed that he would be back to chal­lenge for a 12th ti­tle in the near fu­ture.

“I re­mem­ber when I didn’t do the Berg in 2013 and 2014, I missed it like crazy. It is very much part of my make-up so I will def­i­nitely be back for an­other Berg,” he said.

“It will be up to one of the other lo­cal pad­dlers to step up now, es­pe­cially with Adrián Boros hav­ing en­tered,” he added.

“I reckon that miss­ing out on the Berg this year will only make me hun­grier to get back to it again in a year or two’s time,” said McGre­gor.

The Berg River Ca­noe marathon starts in Paarl on 12 July and ends at Veld­drif on 15 July. More in­for­ma­tion can be found at www.berg.org.za

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