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History beckons for Umgeni Park family at Dusi

Tony, who, at 80 years, nine months and 11 days, is hoping to become the oldest finisher at this year’s race.

IN 2012, the Evered-Hall family became the first crew that spans three generations to complete the Dusi Canoe Marathon, consisting of grandfather Tony (Ant), father Mark and his son, Josh.

There is now another milestone on the horizon for Tony, who, at 80 years, nine months and 11 days, is hoping to become the oldest finisher at the race, beating Hugh Raw who was 80 years and four months when he completed the race in 2021.

Tony will be aiming to complete his 16th Dusi Canoe Marathon this year while his son, Mark, will be aiming to complete his 31st.

This year’s race will also be the 10th time the experienced father and son crew have paddled along the Msunduzi River and uMngeni River together.

Also read: Milestone Dusi for Durban North brothers

Northglen News recently caught up with the Crusaders Canoe Club members to find out about the potential history-making paddle.

“We’ve shared so many special memories on these rivers, and I’m hoping to carve out another piece of history with my dad,” explained Mark. “His last Dusi was in 2016 when he completed a second three-generation-paddle with my daughter and his granddaughter, Sarah. My dad has always come back strong no matter the setback. In 2010, he suffered a heart attack on day one of the race, and we felt that may be his last Dusi Canoe Marathon.

“He was back out on the river the next year. In November last year, he had his gall bladder removed so we adjusted our training plans, and he has been phenomenal out on the river. The training has gotten better as the weeks have progressed, so we felt, let’s give it our best and seize the day. It is a blessing to be able to paddle our 10th Dusi together – not many kids get to do that. We haven’t set ourselves any specific times for three days – we just want to enjoy the race and finish strong,” he said.

His words were echoed by Tony, who completed his first Dusi in 1971.

Also read: Durban North paddlers aim for top 10 Dusi finish

“The Dusi Canoe Marathon has always been a fantastic challenge. No matter how many times you’ve paddled one, you still get the rush of adrenaline and delight out on the river. This whole journey, for me, has been a blessing – being able to paddle this great race with my sons, Tony and Guy, in 2008, making history in 2012 by completing the race with my grandson, Josh, and then a few years later, with my granddaughter, Sarah. Every one of those Dusis has been special to me. It truly is a privilege to be a part [of the race], and I have to say, the support from my wife, Helen, and my family keep me going strong,” he said.

The Dusi Canoe Marathon starts at Bishopstowe Hall on Thursday, February 15 and finishes at Durban’s Blue Lagoon on Saturday, February 17.


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