Hansa Powerade Dusi Canoe Marathon

The three-day Hansa Powerade Dusi is one of the world’s largest canoe marathons, and organizers anticipate a record number of entries in the 2008 event set to take place on 17-19 January. This is the 57th edition of the Dusi canoe marathon and total entries, including local and international participants, are expected to exceed 2,000 – a 10% increase over the 2007 event. This popular sporting event in South Africa enjoys extensive media coverage and generates significant income for the areas along the Dusi route.

The Dusi canoe marathon covers approximately 120 kilometers, starting off in Pietermaritzburg and following the Msunduzi River (more commonly known as the Duzi or Dusi river) to the South African coastal city of Durban. Seasoned competitors will be on the look-out for known hazards as well as stretches they can use to their advantage to get ahead, although it must be noted that due to environmental concerns there have been some changes in the route for 2008. Novices are assisted with plenty of information from the organizers and are encouraged to make use of the pre-race practice day which is open to all competitors.

Day one of the Dusi canoe marathon begins with the first batch of competitors leaving from the Camps Drift Canal in Pietermaritzburg at 6:00 am with the route for the day finishing at Dusi Bridge. Further batches depart at intervals to be determined by the Dusi organizers. All competitors must complete each day within eight hours or less to remain in the marathon. Day two of the Hansa Powerade Dusi starts with the leader leaving Dusi Bridge at 6:00 am and competitors in the main class leaving within an hour of the leader on a lapsed time basis. The first batch of remaining competitors will start at 7:05 am. The final destination for day two is the Inanda Dam. The third day sees the leader starting off from Inanda Dam at 7:00 am with other competitors departing in the same format as day two and the first batch leaving at 8:05 am. The already fierce competitive spirit is bound to increase on day three as participants renew their resolve to get to Durban in the shortest possible time.

To add a humanitarian aspect to the race, the organizers have once again decided to run the successful Hansa Powerade Charities Batch. This makes it possible for competitors to bid for the benefit of leaving with the 5th batch each morning of the race, regardless of their finishing times the previous day. Bidders get to choose which charity their bid must go to, with the charities benefiting being Starfish, S.P.C.A and D.U.C.T – or they can split the funds between the three charities. The highest bid in the 2007 Hansa Powerade Charities Batch was R26,000, giving these charitable organizations a much needed financial boost.

Canoeing fans – both competitors and spectators – are no doubt eagerly looking forward to the Hansa Powerade Dusi Canoe Marathon 2008, an increasingly popular South African sporting event.