Olympic swimmer Terence Parkin has confirmed that he will be ending a gruelling 12 day 1120 kilometre multi-sport journey with the three day FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon from 14 to 16 February.
The deaf Olympic medallist covered 960km in a similar feature last year, and plans to extend it in 2019 as part of his drive to raise awareness of water safety through the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
After leaving from the St Vincent School for the Deaf in Johannesburg on 4 February he will cycle to Midmar dam over five days, then swim eight miles at the aQuellé Midmar Mile, and then run from Midmar to Camps Drift for the start of the FNB Dusi.
He will partner experienced paddler Mark Mulder in a K2 for the three day paddle through the Valley of a Thousand Hills, hoping they can erase the nightmare second stage that dogged them last year.
“We broke our boat last year and we lost about 45 minutes trying to fix it,” recalls Parkin.
“Water kept pouring into the boat and I had to pump all the way to Inanda dam, but we managed to get to the end of the second leg at Inanda dam,” he added.
Based on his experiences last year Parkin believes the Dusi forms the toughest part of his odyssey as he comes into the three day race already fatigued.
“It is very tough because I have done a few hundred kilometres already cycling, swimming and running,” he pointed out.
“Last year I felt I was really ready but the running leg beforehand really took its toll on my legs as it was mostly downhill. When I met up with Mark (Mulder) I could hardly walk but he was a good leader and helped me a lot.
“I am hoping this time will be better as I am focusing a lot on running – its 80km running this year as opposed to 32 last year,” he added.
Parkin has an affinity for ultra-distance endurance events, having just ridden the first Ultimate version of the Northside uBhejane Xtreme mountain bike challenge in December, and thrives on extreme challenges like the 1120km journey he is planning in February.
He is driven by a desire to raise funds for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation and to raise awareness of the important work that it does in educating and empowering youth with water safety.
“I want to help children in SA to reach their full potential and grow into healthy adults, while at the same time being safe in the water,” Parkin said about the cause.
“Swimming has been an incredibly positive influence on my life and I want children with hearing difficulties and other challenges to experience something similar. Who knows, there may be more Olympic medallists out there in SA that we can reach through this initiative!
“Water safety is important no matter where one goes and rivers like the Dusi present a different type of water to the sea, a dam or a pool.
“Every body of water has its different challenges and cannot be treated the same. Skills for the pool won’t equip you with skills for rapidly running water in rivers or strong undertows at sea,” he stressed.
At this point, he is looking for sponsorship to help raise funds for his cause. Anyone who is interested in donating or becoming involved can contact Jenny Wentzel on 082 990 3578.
For more information on the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation South Africa Foundation please go to www.pcmfsa.co.za or follow them on Twitter @PCMFSouthAfrica and Instagram @pcmfsouthafrica
• 4 February: St Vincent School for the Deaf, Johannesburg to Frankfort (200km)
• 5 February: Frankfort to Phuthaditjhaba (200km) and a visit to Thiboloha School for the Deaf and Blind
• 6 February: Phuthaditjhaba to Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho (140km)
• 7 February: Afriski Mountain Resort to Underberg (180km)
• 8 February: Underberg to Midmar Dam (183km)
Swimming – aQuellé Midmar Mile
• 9-11 February: Midmar Mile event where Terence will swim 17.8km over 3 days
• 11 February: Midmar Dam to Shooter’s Hill (26km)
• 12 February: Shooter’s Hill to Albert Falls (27km)
• 13 February: Albert Falls to Natal Canoe Club (27km) – Start of FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon
Canoeing – FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon
• 14 February: Natal Canoe Club to Dusi Bridge (40km)
• 15 February: Dusi Bridge to Inanda Dam (44km)
• 16 February: Inanda Dam to Blue Lagoon (36km)