Four paddlers are poised to join the elite group of eleven who have completed twenty or more editions of the N3TC Drak Challenge in partnership with FNB canoe marathon, earning them the title of ‘Super Trouts”.
Kevin Middleton, Hugh Raw, Anthony van Tonder and Bruce Wenke have each finished the popular two-day, 75km race on the upper Mzimkhulu nineteen times, and while van Tonder has yet to lodge his entry, there will be new members joining the ‘Super Trout’ club next Sunday afternoon.
Last year the trio of Lawrence Blackbeard, Nigel Stevens and Gary Waud drove the membership of the grouping into double figures, and were congratulated at the prize giving by the race record holder Owen Hemmingway, the only person to have finished 25 Draks.
Hemmingway will be in Underberg next weekend for the race, but he won’t be paddling as he is recovering from major shoulder surgery that has sidelined him from his canoe for an entire season.
He will instead be enthusiastically supporting his son Ian doing his second Drak. It will be only the second time that Owen Hemmingway has not paddled the 27 year old race.
Kirsten Oliver is the only female paddler in the Super Trout club, with 22 finished to her credit.
4 838 athletes have taken part in this event since it was started in 1994, with 174 reaching the milestone of ten finishes, earning them the status of a ‘Drak Trout’ and the right to start in the early Drak Batch.
Owen Hemingway 25
Dave Macleod, Colin Simpkins 24
Kirsten Oliver 22
Bart Fokkens, Glenn Hilliar, Greg Hitchins, Gavin Tarr 21
Lawrence Blackbeard, Nigel Stevens, Gary Waud 20
Poised to become Super Trouts:
Kevin Middleton, Hugh Raw, Anthony van Tonder, Bruce Wenke 19