Fish River Canoe Marathon organisers expect paddling festival to go ahead

With the current uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus outbreak worldwide, organisers of the 39th edition of the Fish River Canoe Marathon are confident that they will be able to put on another exciting instalment of the race from 25-26 September.

This year the world has been thrown into limbo as this virus spreads through every country around the world and South Africa is currently in the grips of a nationwide lockdown to try and curb the spread locally.

All sporting events and gatherings have been cancelled or postponed for the next few months, but with five months until the Cradock classic, organisers are hopeful that we will be back to some sort of normality by then.

This year’s Fish will host the South African K1, K3 and SA Schools River Marathon Championships which adds more to prestige to an already classic crown on the national river racing scene.

Fish River Canoe Marathon set for September

Head of the race organising committee Roy Copeman is aware of the difficulty that the current situation presents but is not changing his stance on the race yet.

“We are still going ahead as planned at this stage,” Copeman said. “We have been in contact with both Canoeing South Africa and the Eastern Cape Canoe Union and we have decided that we will see how the situation pans out before we make a decision.

“We have five months left until the race so we are still on track to host the Fish.”

b84d3b58 fish river crowds 2048x1366 - Fish River Canoe Marathon organisers expect paddling festival to go ahead
As events around the globe are postponed or cancelled, the 2020 Fish River Canoe Marathon is still set to take place from 25-26 September and is anticipating large crowds as usual for the two day event in the Klein Karoo.
Photo: John Hishin/
Gameplan Media

The race normally opens it’s entries on 1 July and this is still the plan according to the organisers although they aren’t ruling out a change in plans should the need arise.

“Everyone involved has been very understanding and we are not jumping into the paying of deposits just yet given the fluidity of the current situation.

“If things do change then we will let all paddlers know through our various platforms,” he added.

The Fish has grown into the biggest race in the country due to its guaranteed water release, it’s small town appeal and the generous hospitality of the people of the Klein Karoo. Copeman’s organising committee and all those involved are crucial to making the race such a success annually.

“I have been head of the organising committee for five year so I have a good idea of how we go about things but I have a great team involved.

“We know how to get everything done and there is a lot of experience in our small organising team which do a great job in putting on a brilliant event every year for the paddlers that travel from all over the country.

“At the moment we are still committed to putting on another memorable Fish River Canoe Marathon,” Copeman mentioned.

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