Olympic medallist Terence Parkin was honoured with the Chairman’s Award at the end of the 2019 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon for the heroic manner in which he ended his 1120km journey by bicycle, water, foot and canoe from Johannesburg to Durban for the Prince Charlene of Monaco Foundation.
The three day canoeing classic from Pietermaritzburg to Durban was the final leg of his journey that had all gone according to plan until he fell and badly twisted his ankle on the final leg of the run from Albert Falls to Camps Drift the day before the start of the Dusi.
Parkin and his Dusi K2 partner Mark Mulder took the decision that they would still take on the Dusi, which includes 20km of portaging through the three days of racing.
“I was very upset (after I injured my ankle) and doubted I would finish,” Parkin said. “When the physio saw me she told me not to continue but I knew I would regret it if I didn’t finish.
“On the morning of the start of the race the physio strapped my ankle which made it feel better but she and Mark (Mulder) insisted that I still use the crutches.
“I felt so bad that Mark had to carry the K2 by himself,” said Parkin.
The race was going to be tough enough with Parkin having to walk the portages with his crutches, but on the final day the pair broke their boat at a rapid that they intended on portaging which led to a 18km walk to the finish.
“We tried to salvage as much as we could but we knew that the boat was completely broken so we made the decision that we were going to walk the rest of the way.
“We walked 2km to get to the road where we found our support team and from there walked along the road all the way to the finish.
“Mark and I both got sick on the night before the final day and we were vomiting along the way but we just had to soldier on.
“I cannot describe the feeling I had when we got over the line. I was happy, relieved, tired, and excited!
“I couldn’t believe that I had just walked 20km on crutches!” he added.
Parkin and Mulder finished the 2018 edition of the race together and encountered issues during that race too. Parkin believes that Mulder’s influence was vital to him getting to Durban.
“I also want to say a huge, huge thank you to Mark for being such a good team mate and leader. Without him I would never have finished the full 1120km.”
Parkin’s journey was all to raise money for the Prince Charlene of Monaco Foundation to help teach children to swim around South Africa.