Following the raising of the Covid-19 lockdown to adjusted Level 4 last night, the organisers of the Berg River Canoe Marathon, who was due to start next week, have postponed the event to 5-8 August.
Following the raising of the Covid-19 lockdown to adjusted Level 4 last night, the organisers of the Berg River Canoe Marathon, who was due to start next week, have postponed the event to 5-8 August. After consultation with Canoeing South Africa, the race organisers felt strongly that the 60th edition of the four day race from Paarl to Velddrif cannot be cancelled and agreed to move it to the long weekend on the second weekend in August. By moving to the available date on the Women’s Day weekend, the organisers have more than a month to allow for the third wave of the pandemic to abate to enable them to stage the race with the strict protocols already planned for the event.
“We have the biggest entry in for many years and we fully appreciate that everyone has made travel arrangements and booked accommodation for the race,” said race director Brandon Macleod. “We trust that changes and postponements to these bookings can be easily made.
“It has become clear to use that there is a real passion driving the sixtieth anniversary of this great race, which has inspired us to do whatever it takes to make the race happen,” he added.
The race safety plan already had strict Covid-19 lockdown regulations compliance measures, and participants in the event were divided into smaller batches starting further apart, with strict limits on access for technical support crews and no spectators.
“We fully endorse the Canoeing SA Plan to place the safety and health of every single person as a top priority,” said Macleod. “Right now as the country deals with the third wave we need paddlers to focus on their well being.
“The success of the MyLife Dusi in March showed what can be achieved with a structured plan that is fully lockdown regulation compliant, and we are confident that our arrive-paddle-depart plan for Berg 2021 will keep each entrant and their support crew safe.”
The move to early August will be welcomed in many quarters as paddlers noted that the level of water in the Berg river has been more reliable later in the winter in recent years.
“The date change gives paddlers an extra month to get in the training to enjoy the race, and may well open the race up to more paddlers interested in getting involved in this milestone edition of the race,” he added.