SOLOMON LEADS AFTER FIRST DAY OF THE MEN’S HEALTH SWARTLAND CANOE MARATHON
At the end of the first day of the Men’s Health Swartland Canoe Marathon Graeme Solomon, a former Isuzu Berg River marathon winner, of the host club Peninsula, held a slender 1 second lead from second placed and leading under 21 paddler, Lance King.
In third place was Kwa-Zulu Natal paddler Sven Bruss, 1 minute 20 seconds behind King. These three, together with eventual 5th placed Jonathon Niemann of Gauteng paddled together for most of the 43kms first day of the race.
Graeme Solomon explained “Lance and I managed to pull a small gap at a narrow point in the river with about 10kms to go”, and continued “ I put the hammer down and we dropped the other two.”
Sven said “I was on Solomon’s outside and pulled too close to a tree, as I leaned to get myself away I took some water into the boat”. A visibly upset Bruss continued “The next half an hour was spent pumping water and watching them disappear”.
In the Ladies race Alexa Lombard, of Peninsula Canoe Club, crossed the line 2 seconds ahead of Abbey Miedema paddling in the colours of the Harmony Club. The two spent the day in each others company although Abbey conceded, “I had to play catch up a few times”.
She said “ With the separate ladies start it is lonely with only the two of us in the front, I would really prefer to be seeded with the men and take my chances, at least until there are a few more girls able to keep up the pace at the front”.
Veteran paddler and Berg River specialist Donnie Malherbe took 4th place overall.
Heinrich Sloms, Paul Marais and Ernst van Riet took 6th, 7th and 8th for the Western Cape while Soweto Canoe Club coach, Ryno Amdorff and Harmony’s Martin Dreyer rounded out the top 10.
The first junior paddler, paddling in the under 18 category was the young Pierre Andre Rabie of Paarl in an incredible 14th place overall seven and a half minutes ahead of second placed junior Brett Dorman of Milnerton canoe club.
With the last 10 k’s of the race run into a strong headwind from the North West and cloud scudding in, heralding a major incoming cold front, tomorrow is set for a challenging day. While the weather may be cold the racing is expected to be red hot!