Increase in 2016 race levies

Following strongly positive responses to a consultation on raising the 2016 race levy, from 1st March the racing levy will be £2 per seat for seniors AND juniors.

The levy is a supplement paid on the entry fee for an MRC-registered event, which funds the domestic development of our sport including young athlete development and the presentation of major championships. It constitutes roughly half of the MRC’s income, the remaining half coming from British Canoeing central funds.

The racing levy is collected by race organisers on the MRC’s behalf. “Event tickets” are separate fees for those unable to prove BC membership, to cover the insurance cost of their participation at the event in question.

National marathon squad training and assessment day, 27th Feb

The MRC will be holding a training and assessment day on 27th February at Willen Lake, Milton Keynes. This is open to current members of the national marathon squad PLUS any athletes seeking selection to the GB development team for the Waterlands Marathon, who are ranked in the following divisions or higher:-
SMK1 – Div 2
SWK1 – Div 4
JMK1 – Div 3
JWK1 – Div 4

Details: venue postcode MK15 0DS; check-in 9.30am, first session 10.15am, second session c. 2pm, finish 3.30pm. Please bring a packed lunch & drinks, there are 2 water sessions with no portages. In case of bad weather we will attempt to move the training day to another location with 48 hours notice.

Fill out my online form.

2016 international assessment races and availability form

The following races are designated assessment races for GB marathon team selection in 2016.

15th May – Worcester (K1/C1)
29th May – Reading Circuit (K1/C1)
12th June – Burton (K2/C2)
(1st-3rd July – European Marathon Championships, Pontevedra, Spain)
23-24 July – National Marathon Championships, Reading (all classes)
(30-31 July – World Cup, Prado Vila Verde, Portugal)
21st August – Longridge (K1/C1) – NOT the Hasler race of Sat 27th Aug

The availabilility form below is for athletes wishing to be considered for selection. Please also read the guide to assessment, race as many assessment races as you can, and note the deadline dates for the various internationals.

Fill out my online form.


The MRC will be selecting a GB marathon development team for the Waterlands Marathon in Holland on 16th April. This is a K1 race for men and women, junior and senior, with top quality international fields in many classes.

Athletes wishing to be considered for this team should read the information below and FILL IN THIS AVAILABILITY FORM by 1st March. The availability deadlines for other internationals are detailed on the form, so athletes can submit new availability forms later in the season.

Our intention is to select a team that is progressing towards future major international selection (World and European Championships), but we will not consider athletes who have already earned a major international selection in their current class. For example, seniors who raced at last year’s worlds and europeans will not be considered, but a first year senior who raced as a junior last year may be.

Selection is made on a continuous basis in keeping with established MRC selection policy. Therefore we may consider recent national training day performances and race results as far back as last season when considering the team. We will hold a final assessment event as part of the Willen Lake training day on 27th February. This assessment will follow a similar format to past training days, with multiple timed races of roughly 4km each in the morning and a single-distance race in the afternoon, without portages.

In recognition of the fact that there are some up and coming marathon racers who did not qualify for the national training squad this winter, we will be opening up the criteria for the final Willen Lake training day to athletes ranked in or above the following divisions:-


As there is no C1 race at Waterlands we will not be considering any C1s for this team. Selection for the major internationals in 2016 will be open to C boats as usual.


Waterside records bode well for 2016

Yesterday’s season-opening Waterside A time trial saw 328 boats racing over the renowned 14-mile course that serves both as an indicator of early-season GB team form, and who may be potential DW challengers.

As usual there were schools and services crews, many with literally weeks of paddling experience under their belts, racing alongside top club paddlers, world championship medallists and DW winners. This gives the race a unique character, along with the time-trial starts, 19 slippery portages and one of the Kennet & Avon Canal’s famous low bridges. Mild temperatures and a tailwind made for good conditions this year, and much faster times than the ice of 2015.

If there was a stand-out performance among the four or five records that fell on the day, it arguably came from Richmond CC’s Lizzie Broughton. The world championship silver medallist and reigning DW champion took 6 minutes off the previous women’s K1 best to set a mark of 1h48, a record which may stand for a long time, unless she betters it herself.

The men’s K1 record has been beaten by small increments in previous years, with Tim Pendle shaving seconds off the previous best back in 2013. This time however, Keith Moule and Chelmsford had a plan. Backed up by the very fast K2 of Matt Johnson and Pete Wilkes, Keith was able to lower the previous record by two minutes and set a new time of 1h37.

In the junior women’s K2, two crews finished inside the current record time. Falcon’s Kate Clark and Emma Hield took 2 minutes off it to record 2h01, but were bettered on the day by Wey’s Sam Martyn and Sophie Thompson who took a further two and a half minutes to set the new bar at 1h58. The next generation are looking up to the challenge of maintaining GB’s track record of top juniors at world level.

The junior K2 race was won by the mixed crew of Bronte Holden and Dan Palmer of Fowey CC, possibly the first time this feat has been achieved and also possibly a junior mixed K2 record (although there isn’t one on file)

Finally, the junior men’s K1 record fell to Charlie Smith of Leighton Buzzard, who shaved 20-odd seconds off the previous best to record 1h46. Clubmate Sam Plummer had set a comparable time in 2014 but with that race finishing early, this one looks to be the new benchmark.

The top K2s look set to provide an interesting and close DW race this year. If Johnson and Wilkes choose to focus on GB selection, the fastest of the rest were Freddie Purcell of Richmond and Rodrigo Hortal Garcia, an ex-international Spanish kayaker now based in Cambridge, finishing in 1h40. Three and a half minutes behind were Beazley/Smythe of Bishops Stortford and Leaside, setting a new veterans’ K2 record of 1h44 just ahead of Richmond’s Baker/Irvine. However DW isn’t won on a 14 mile dash, and the highly experienced crews of Maycock/Turner and Hinves/Kent are also showing enough form to challenge on the day, and the mixed crew of Jordan/Brown are looking good in that class. LBZ’s Sam Plummer set a fast time in the K1 and may be keen on a new DW challenge this year, after finishing 2nd last time out.

As usual the race was impeccably organised, and thanks to the Waterside Series, Newbury CC and Marsport for their efforts.

SW regional marathon training day, Roadford Lake, 21 Feb

Paddlers above Div 7 are invited to the South West regional marathon training day at Roadford Lake (on A30 between Okehampton and Launceston) on Sunday 21st Feb 2016. Details can be found here

Please register your attendance by email giving the following information:
First name
Current divisional ranking
Mobile number
Email address
NOK contact (name and mobile number)

Event Safety training – liability insurance benefits

Every club organising a racing event should have a nominated Event Safety Officer, and that person should have attended a British Canoeing event safety course. If your club doesn’t have one or you’re not sure, please find details here

A major benefit of having attended this course is that Event Safety Officers are then covered by British Canoeing’s Professional Indemnity and Public Liability insurance to a limit of £10m should a claim be made against them.