Hansa SA Marathon Champs

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I hope everyone is enjoying the Public Holiday! It sure is cold here in Plett, great excuse to sit indoors and watch Switzerland v Spain on TV 🙂

The Hansa SA Marathon Champs went well for me. I used it as race practice, as the field was somewhat small. I made a break after the first portage and then tried to keep up a constant pace throughout the race, and run the portages hard. I was on my own, and I wanted to see what kind of time I could do. I ended up paddling 40 seconds faster than I did last year, and last year I had Bridgitte to help with sharing the pulling in the race. So overall I am pretty happy with my level of conditioning at this point in time.

I am on a small break now, then it’s time for the travelling to start. Hoping to go to the US for US Nationals and then 2 surf ski races in Portugal, followed by the Mauritius Ocean Classic, and then onto Spain for World Marathon Champs! Busy times ahead! But so exciting!

There was unfortunately some sports politics at the Nationals on the weekend, where 2 athletes were forced not to compete. As much as these 2 athlete’s are in amazing form, and would probably go on to make the National Marathon Team, one has to respect Canoeing South Africa, and it’s rules. The debate is not whether they would make good marathon paddlers, but whether they are breaking contract. Last year, after the sprint team selection trials, the contract came out and it had quite a few rules in it. One rule being no marathons. The reason being, that CSA is willing to spend hundreds of thousands of Rands on the Sprinters, backing them financially, and with Sports Science help, equipment purchases, great accommodation overseas for tours and flight costs paid, on the condition that the athlete focuses on Sprints alone, and the ultimate goal of winning medals for SA at the Olympics. Seems a fair trade. It’s more support than we got in the past by a long shot. It’s professional.

I made the decision to NOT sign the contract, as I wanted to carry on with my long distance goals of Surf Ski, Rivers, and Marathon. As did Grant vd Walt. A personal decision. The others that signed have received unbelievable backing from CSA. Now all they need to do is fulfill their side of the bargain, so by showing up at the National Marathon Champs, after signing along the dotted line, seems hardly fair. Unfair to CSA, and unfair to those of us who chose not to sign.

So although CSA looks like the “bad guy” in the situation, I think we all need to take a step back and think about it.

OK, enough politics! Let’s watch some soccer!

Thanks for all the amazing support. I am truly blessed to have the backing I do.

See you on the water,

Michele



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