The 62nd edition of The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon gets under way at Camps Drift at 6am on Thursday 14 February with the best weather and water levels for decades, and the women’s race loaded with the best river marathoners in the country.
Steady rains in the province throughout the summer has left all the dams on the route spilling, and for the first time in decades the natural outflows from Albert Falls, Nagle and Inanda dam will guarantee full rivers for the three day race to Blue Lagoon in Durban.
The women’s race sports an exciting list of contenders, and should be fiercely contested. Robyn Kime comes into the race seeking her fourth title in succession. The Maties based star won a silver medal at the world marathon champs in Rome last year, and is now a seasoned Dusi tactician, having won two titles with another wise Dusi owl Abbey Ulansky.
Kime has spent less time tripping the rivers than she has in the past. In sharp contrast, her Team Best 4 Kayak Centre team mate Abby Adie is in the form of her life, and is oozing confidence after a near flawless build-up to the race.
Both are good runners, and skilled river paddlers. Kime managed to shake off a resilient Adie in the recent best 4 Healthcare 50 Miler, but her narrow margin of victory only serves to underscore how close this race will be.
Add to that the tenacious Gauteng-based Jen Theron, whose set or river skills a heart that contrasts her slight frame, will make her a serious podium candidate.
Similarly Hilary Pitchford, now engaged to former Dusi winner Deon Bruss, is itching to get onto the water. She missed last year’s race due to a broken arm suffered just weeks before the start, and with full rivers predicted, her advantage will be in the big rapids, where she thrives.
The Unlimited Charity batch auction raised a staggering R347 120 towards the crèches supported by The Unlimited Child. This charity batch will include a number of popular celebrities taking part in the race.
Popular radio presenter and SA Idol’s judge Unathi Msengana will make her Dusi debut, paddling with seasoned surfski ace Oscar Chalupsky. Alongside her in that batch will include Dusi returnee Liezel van der Westhuisen.
Maritzburg’s BMX Ballie Sharlene McGillvray, the world champion in her masters age, sets off on her first Dusi, partnering Shelley Bloy, the daughter of Dusi stalwart Lyall Wheeler.
The Unlimited Dusi starts on the 14th of February at Camps Drift, and the race ends at Blue Lagoon in Durban on 16 February 2013. More information can be found at www.dusi.co.za