The traditional hosts of the annual Non-Stop Dusi canoeing ultra-marathon have decided to revert to the events original, informal structure for the 2017 race.
The race was slated to be held on Friday 3 March, but responding to a variety of issues relevant to the race, Natal Canoe Club has decided to change the race format to revert to the twenty year old race’s original format.
The Non Stop Dusi involves racing the entire course of the three day FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon in one day, unsupported by the race with the paddlers relying solely on their seconds for assistance during the day, which allows far longer portages than its three day parent.
When it was founded in the 1980s, it was an informal event, arranged by like-minded paddlers telephonically when it was clear that the rivers would be fullest.
In recent years, the event was formalised and raced on a set date, materially altering its character as it often relied solely on water available from Henley Dam.
With the region still in the grips of the drought, and with limits on the water that can be expected from Henley Dam, NCC has agreed to let the event revert to its original ad-hoc status, and to allow keen paddlers to co-ordinate amongst themselves on social media and via the race website when it seems that rains will leave the uMngeni and uMsundusi rivers full enough to make the Non-Stop Dusi viable.
“The current format of the race appeals to a very small sector of the canoeing community, and the present day formal structure of the event is not feasible in today’s environment.” said NCC General Manager Brett Austen Smith.
“We afforded the race the backup and support similar to that provided for the FNB Dusi, but the costs including helicopters, infrastructure and prize money were unrealistic.
“It makes sense to allow paddlers who are keen to take on this challenge – and it remains a substantial challenge in canoeing terms – for the Non-Stop to revert to the way it was done in its formative years,” said Austen Smith.
“The Non-stop has not been cancelled, we are just looking at allowing it to return to its old informal structure, with no entry fees and no prize money for now. Unless there is a substantial change, the race will take place as slated on the 3rd March. This will be clarified via social media and the press. ” he said.
“All the results will be recognised in the cumulative records of all the Non-Stop results, he added.
Austen Smith said that they were still looking for a title sponsor, which would allow them to return to hosting it as a formal event in the future.
“We will make the website and social media platforms which have been developed over the years, available to paddlers who want to participate on the day. There will however be no organisation as has occurred in previous years.
“In this age of social media, this seems like the ideal way to organise a truly unique event like the Non-Stop Dusi, and I urge anyone interested in the race to keep close tabs on the website, Facebook and Twitter accounts,” he added.