With a number of factors to take into consideration, the organising committee for the 2023 Dusi Canoe Marathon have moved the start of the iconic race from Camps Drift to the Bishopstowe Hall on Thursday.
The race will now start on the main polo field at the Bishopstowe Hall just outside Pietermaritzburg and paddlers will begin their 2023 Dusi with a portage down to the river.
A combination of poor water quality through the Pietermaritzburg area, together with storms forecast for the days in the build up to the event have forced the race organisers make a call in the best interest of paddler safety.
“Paddler safety is critical and although this is a tough decision, this is in the best interest of the future of this annual event,” said Steve Botha, chairman of the Dusi Canoe Marathon organising committee.
“We did not take this decision lightly and consulted with both the Duzi Umgeni Conservation Trust (DUCT) as well as an independent company on the quality of the water and it was advised that we move the start.
“Although the start venue has changed, we hope that the paddlers understand that it was a necessary change.”
The race will start at 07:00am and due to the running (portage) start, Batch A will be split into two batches at 10 minute intervals.
As a significant paddling portion of Day one has been eliminated by the move, there will be a change in two rules. Paddlers will have to put in at the Campbells Bridge and paddle to Guinea Fowl take out, with the Hole in the Wall portage is not an option.
Paddlers will not be able to use Finger Neck portage and will be required to paddle around Finger Neck. Cabbage Tree portage will remain in play should paddlers choose this portage over the paddling option.
Day one will still finish at Dusi Bridge in KwaXimba.
The parking area that is traditionally used for Pine Tree Portage, just past the hall on the left will be used for paddler/seconder parking. Seconders will be permitted to travel down the dirt road past Campbells, but will not be permitted to stop or second on this section.
The organisers of the race have made the decision that day two will include 45 minutes of elapsed time.