Paddlers brave the Croc in true Lowveld spirit

One of the most technical river races in the country was concluded this past weekend on Sunday, October 22.

The annual TRAC Lowveld Crocodile Canoe Marathon was hosted by the Lowveld Canoe Club on the Croc River between Kwena Dam and Old Joe’s Kaia on October 22.

Fifty-two of the country’s most skilled and daring paddlers braved the dangerous rapids, some to dice one another for line honours, others just to enjoy the challenge and beauty of the magnificent river.

Famous as one of the most technical river races in the country, the race was won by the unassuming but talented Matthew Millward from Pretoria, who grew up paddling in the canoeing-crazed KZN midlands. “I’ll definitely be back next year, and hope to bring more paddlers with me to enjoy this awesome river!” Millward said following his victory.

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While many veteran ‘river dogs’ come back to do the race every year, it was refreshing to see the young 19-year-old Amy Hulett taking on the challenge and adding her name to the ladies winner’s trophy. The youngster finished the race in 02:57:27.

The TRAC Lowveld Croc epitomises typical Lowveld hospitality and atmosphere.

Many landowners and farmers allow access to the river through their properties. The finish was even hosted on Terblanche Landgoed where Deon and Lara Terblanche provide much-needed sustenance to the tired paddlers!

Local industries like Sabie Breweries and Hay’s Maroela Juice supported the event.

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Instead of winning medals, each finisher received a small tree – a fitting reward and reminder of their time immersed in nature on one of the few clean stretches of river in our country.

Lowveld Canoe Club played hosts to this one-of-a-kind race and would like to thank TRAC for its continued support as race sponsor and towards canoe development, as well as Coca-Cola and Lowvelder.

“Then lastly, a big shout-out to our race organiser, Piers Cruckshanks, and his team for your commitment to the sport and all the effort that went into making this race a huge success,” Lowveld Canoe Club wrote on its Facebook page.

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