George Oliver 1948 – 2020

It is with great sadness that we bring you news of the death of George, long term member of Nottingham Kayak Club and friend to paddlers all over the country and abroad.

He came to Nottingham as a cabinet maker at Stag in 1970, joining the club in the autumn of that year. He was already a paddler, having sea canoed in the North East.

On joining the club he took particular interest in Long Distance Racing, now known as Marathon. However his interest in other branches of the sport remained and he brought his skill in boat building to designs in sea boats, canoes, racing kayaks, polo and slalom boats. Up until his death in February this year he was still working on new designs for both outriggers and marathon canoes. Without George, Nottingham Kayak Club would not be the club it is today. With his help, we were able to develop a fleet of racing kayaks and canoes, general purpose and canoe polo boats. Club members also benefitted from George’s guidance in making their own boats. Income generated by the club under his guidance allowed developments way beyond anything the existing members could have managed, including replacing old wooden outdoor boat-racks and a crumbling wooden shed, with our current building.

George worked at a number of jobs including as a laminator for a local plastics company, building much bigger boats than canoes. Meanwhile he continued to develop his coaching skills and paddling prowess including winning Liffey Descent in K2, DW Canadian Trophy and DW Mixed K2 & Home Built Boat. He also went to Eaton Hall College, Retford and qualified as a teacher although young people in canoeing benefitted from that more than those in classrooms or workshops.

In 1980 George took on the role of Administrator to Canoe 81 Nottingham, the Sprint World Championships. After this very successful event had taken place, he took the job of Canoe Coaching and Development Officer for Nottinghamshire County Council, giving support and help to schools and clubs all over Nottinghamshire. He kept this role until the funding for Leisure Services dwindled and ceased when he retired. He had also travelled abroad with the national sprint and marathon teams, and it was in 1982 at the sprint World Championships in Belgrade that he met his wife, Radmila.

Throughout his involvement in other areas of paddlesport, George continued to support NKC generating funding in the club workshop and producing entry level racing boats. Few paddlers at events like DW or Watersides can have failed to spot the multitude of boats he made. All have his trademark rib along the centre of both front and back deck. The “stable K2” started life as a slightly longer version specifically for DW, but could not be used in other events, so the standard K2 length version emerged soon afterwards remaining popular to this day among paddlers wanting a stable K2. Trimmers also remain popular as a stable K1. In recent years his main developments have been canoes or outriggers. Most outrigger paddlers in this country using his 01 boats know little of his legacy to the rest of the paddling world.

Many paddlers in the UK have a great deal to thank him for, often unaware of his support for paddling in disciplines other than their own. Sea canoeists, slalom paddlers, sprint, marathon, freestyle, polo …. the list goes on, but George made contributions to the development of most disciplines. It didn’t matter if you had known him 5 days or 50 years, George offered his skills, guidance and friendship in his own, quiet, unassuming way.

Although dogged by health issues over the past few years he remained an active paddler at NKC and continued to do some of those “hidden” jobs that make up a club’s existence. The weekly “Clifton Race” in its current form is mainly a legacy of his and he contributed to timing it until the week he went into hospital.

Over the years he collected many awards: Nottingham City Citizen of the Month; Bravery (for rescuing people from the Trent;) Volunteer Awards; Lifetime Achievement Awards, but more important than those, without his guidance, support and friendship, many developments in our sport would not have taken place when and how they did. More importantly, as tributes to him attest, many of our lives would have been completely different. We owe him a great deal.

Nottingham Kayak Club – February 2020

Details of George’s funeral will be posted in due course.

K1/C1 Assessment for German Nationals and World Cup

Please find below the race details for the K1/C1 assessment to be held at Reading Canoe Club on the 4th April 2020:

Assessment Reading April 4th 2020

This is the first assessment in 2020 calendar and will be used to make selections for the German Nationals Development Team and the World Cup Senior/U23 team.   All details on the events for selection, the selection process and athlete eligibility can be found in the Marathon Selection Policy 2020: Marathon Selection Policy 2020

To enter and confirm your availability, you must complete the online entry and availability form by 10pm on the 1st of April – there will be NO late entries allowed.  The form can be found below:

4th April K1/C1 Assessment Entry and Availability Form

If you have any questions about the event, please contact Katburbeck@yahoo.co.uk

If you have any questions to direct to the Chair of the Selection Committee, please contact David Enoch david.enoch2@btopenworld.com

NB: You do not need to be available for selection to compete, we welcome all athletes who are seeking experience and the opportunity to race against the best in the country.

Yorkshire Race Series 2

The organising team have decided for safety reasons to cancel this weekend’s Ripon to Aldwark race, due to high river levels.

The river is currently falling, but heavy rain is forecast, the surrounding area have seen localised flooding, and access to the portages & finish are not currently guaranteed for Sunday. The finish was under water last weekend and there is a good chance it will be again this Sunday.  We had considered moving the race to the Calder, but unfortunately due to lock damage during last week’s storm CRT are unhappy with us running a race on this section.

With regards to online entries, I will once again roll your entry forward to the Ripon to York race on 22nd March.  Please let me know by email if you are unable to race and would like a full refund.

Lets hope the weather improves and we can run our flagship event on 22nd March as planned

David Jefferies

Ripon to Aldwark Race – Postponed

Unfortunately, due to the adverse weather forecast, the Ripon to Aldwark race is POSTPONED to Sunday 23rd February.

The intention is to run the Ripon race in place of the Sowerby Bridge race.  More details will follow nearer the time.

National Training Squad – Training Day

Please find below the link for the sign-up form for the first 2020 NTS Training Day, which will be held at Reading Canoe Club on 14 March.

This is specifically aimed at developing marathon skills in preparation for the K1/C1 Assessment Races at Reading in 2020.   Please complete the form by 10pm Sunday 7 March to confirm your attendance.

NTS Training Day 14th March Form

The day will include some short-course race practice in the morning (with full portage, timing and video feedback), followed by an interactive land-based technique session, then on-water skills sessions to close.

The aim is to give athletes a competitive training experience in a safe, non-assessment environment, where they can focus on their own key areas of development.

Further details can be found on the sign-up form, and final details will be emailed to attendees one week prior the event.

This training day is open to the following athletes:

– All NTS named squad members
– Div 1 Senior K1 Men + Div 2 U23 /Junior K1 Men
– Div 2 Senior K1 Women + Div 3 U23/Junior K1 Women
– Div 3 Senior C1 Men + Div 4 U23 C1 Men + Div 5 Junior C1 Men
– Div 5 Senior C1 Women + Div 6 U23/Junior C1 Women

If you have any questions, please contact Kat Wilson at   katburbeck@yahoo.co.uk

MRC Communications

As many of you will have heard, James Smythe is currently unwell and starting a long course of chemotherapy which will see him unable to continue to act as our secretary until further notice.  Please therefore address all MRC business emails to the official MRC Secretary email address  ( marathon.secretary@vol.britishcanoeing.org.uk ) rather than James’s own personal email address.

I know that his many friends and colleagues throughout our sport are thinking of him at this difficult time.

Stan Missen, MRC Chairman

Marathon Racing Regions for 2020

The document below explains the MRC  review of distribution of clubs in the Midlands and South West . The reasons are given and the issues that may arise are listed.  The main ones are that Midlands has a disproportionate number of clubs in comparison to other regions, and that distances to races in both regions can also involve several hours travelling.  It is hoped that the redistribution will ease both these issues.

Adjustment of Marathon Racing Regions for season 2020

 

Marathon National Training Squad

Following the success of the MRC Junior Development Squad (JDS), the MRC has launched the Marathon National Training Squad (NTS).

This squad will be aimed at athletes who are ready to progress out of the JDS all the way to our top international paddlers; bringing these athletes together to offer opportunities and progression that will support our current and future international success.

Congratulations to the athletes who have been selected onto the squad and we look forward to welcoming more on during the 2020 season.

Click here to see the list of squad members and full details of the NTS.