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McGregor to miss Berg Marathon

Star to miss out on chance to reclaim title as he awaits the birth of his first child.

World-renowned canoeist Hank McGregor will be a notable absentee when the 53rd edition of the tough Berg River Canoe Marathon from 16 to 19 July.

The 36-year-old, who has won the 240 kilometre race from Paarl to Velddrif on nine occasions, will miss out on a chance to reclaim the title as he awaits the birth of his first child.

“The Berg is important to me, but I will definitely be at home this year for the birth of my first child,” McGregor confirmed to “It is something that only happens once or twice in your life – hopefully – so I don’t want to miss out on the moment.”

McGregor also missed the Berg last year to take part in the International Canoe Federation’s first ever surfski world championships, allowing Lance King to end his eight-year reign.

He claimed his first title in 2000 before dominating the race from 2005 to 2012, beating Robbie Hereveld’s record of six consecutive titles, and he says he is aiming to return in the future.

“The Berg is a tradition and it will always be there, so I am sure I will be back to do another, probably next year, hopefully with a slightly bigger support crew,” he added.

“But the issue of winning ten Bergs comes up often in conversation. Strangely enough it doesn’t mean that much to me but it seems to mean a lot to other people.

“If I never win another Berg again, it will be enough to have won one Berg.”

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