Martin Friedrichsen is the latest paddler to join the field for next year's event. Photo: www.dusi.co.za

PIETERMARITZBURG – Danish international paddler Martin Friedrichsen is the latest international star to take on the FNB Dusi Canoe marathon from 14 to 16 February.

The Dane admitted he couldn’t resist the attraction of the world famous race through the Valley of a Thousand Hills.

Friedrichsen, 26, races for the Danish national marathon team and has enjoyed taking on races such as the Liffey Descent in Ireland, which offers technical river racing challenges in the forms of rapids and weirs.

It was at this year’s Liffey Descent that he bumped into South African paddler Jenna Ward and the conversation turned to the Dusi.

“The discussion in Dublin with Jenna Ward turned to the Dusi,” recalls Friedrichsen. 

“So I said to myself: ‘If not now, when?’

“After I came home to Denmark, I was so motivated and I wrote to my coach Finn Larsen, telling him that I couldn’t take him to Seville next year because I was going to race the Dusi Marathon,” he said.

Friedrichsen has decided that he wants to do his first Dusi in a K2 with an experienced local partner, and he has put out a request on the Dusi website inviting anyone keen to partner him and assist in his preparations for the race to contact him.

“I heard about the Dusi Marathon a few years ago, and it sounds like the hardest race ever,” said Friedrichsen from Denmark, where winter is settling in, making training for a race in February tricky.

“It motivates me to say 'Okay, one day I will fly to South Africa, and I will do the Dusi'. 

"It will be such a great challenge and experience for me,” he added.

Friedrichsen will be joined on the start line by paddlers from around the world. 

A group five paddlers from Jersey has already entered the three-day race. 

Last year, Hungarian ace Adrian Boros raced to a shock second place in the 2018 K2 championship race. 

African News Agency (ANA)