The 2020 edition of the four day Berg River Canoe Marathon from Paarl to Velddrif in early July has been cancelled. Photo: supplied
The 2020 edition of the four day Berg River Canoe Marathon from Paarl to Velddrif in early July has been cancelled. Photo: supplied

Berg River Canoe Marathon 2020 cancelled

By Staff Reporter Time of article published May 11, 2020

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CAPE TOWN – The 2020 edition of the four day Berg River Canoe Marathon from Paarl to Velddrif in early July has been cancelled.

This comes as the country prepares for the worsening of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The iconic paddling race was to have been held from 8 to 11 July. However, with the current projections for the spread of the novel coronavirus showing that July will be the peak of the pandemic in the Western Cape, organisers consulted with stakeholders and decided that it would be impossible to stage the race in 2020.

“There was a good deal of excitement around the Berg this year, with a new organising team in charge with plans to add significant value to this iconic event, which makes it very frustrating to have to accept that we will not be allowed to host the race in July,” said race organiser Brandon Macleod.

“We looked at a variety of suggestions to try and stage the race in a way that observes all the lockdown regulations, but it is clear that the seriousness of the projections for July that there is no way we could think about holding the event safely and responsibly,” said Macleod.

He added that the remoteness of the event meant that all the participants and their support crews had to travel long distances, many of them across provincial boundaries, and were then reliant on local accommodation during the event.

“There were a myriad of factors to consider, including the support crews, safety personnel and all the requirements of the event safety plan, and in almost every instance there was an insurmountable obstacle when viewed against the projected level of the lockdown and the seriousness of the pandemic at that time.

“The Berg relies on winter rainfall, which heavily limits its date flexibility, and the possibility of postponing the race,” he added.

Regarded as one of the toughest ultra-paddling races in the world, canoeists planning to complete the 240km long odyssey need to spend months training and preparing, which has been curtailed under the current lockdown.

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"2021 will be the 60th anniversary of the first Berg, and we plan to make that really special. Hopefully that will motivate the core Berg supporters to train hard to be part of that milestone event," he added.

More information can be found at www.berg.org.za

Staff Reporter

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