Promotions at non-divisional races

Earlier in the year there was some discussion as to whether promotions could take place at races such as the Frank Luzmore and Thameside.  The MRC agree that the current wording created some ambiguity and so the rule wording has been revised accordingly.

For clarity promotions can take place at such events.  Such races are one of the few occasions that all divisions race over the same distances in the same conditions and are thus useful ‘leveller’ against which performances can be compared.  Such races can also however be subject to adverse river levels and weather conditions which may be taken into account and mean that no promotions are appropriate.

Gent Marathon 2015

Saturday 28 mar saw the annual Blaarmersen Marathon, a race around the historic town of Gent in Belgium. Once one of Europe’s main trading ports, Gent is criss-crossed with waterways, making for both an interesting race course and a scenic one, should you have time to look up from the task in hand.

For the ninth successive year we invited a team of young athletes to take part in this race as a development experience, hopefully towards a place in the full international team in future. Most were racing abroad for the first time, and for some it was even a first venture into foreign soil.

The team met early at Elmbridge on the Friday morning, the early start being more of a problem for parents needing to get back to work by 9am. We then travelled in three minibuses down via a stop at Maidstone, to Folkestone for the Channel Tunnel. By 3pm we were in Gent and starting a recce of the race course.

The Koninklijke Cano Club Gent (or Gent Royal Canoe Club) is set on the side of a 2000m regatta course, with the river Leie flowing in and out of either side. The stepped concrete sides make for fairly bouncy conditions, and together with cloud, rain and a chilly wind we knew this would be a very British sort of race.

Races started around midday on the Saturday. Under 16s went off first for a 12km race, starting with half a lap of the regatta course, a trip round the river Leie via the town, and back onto the lake for a final half lap. Our U16 boys team featured Fowey’s Matt Collinge, Tim Gannicott-Porter and Juan Gearing of Chelmsford, Arthur Urquhart of Banbury, and Joe Webb of Richmond CC, racing against 13 Belgian and German competitors plus one from Medway Racers in the UK (Kim Hollman). A strong first lap of the regatta course followed by the first portage 2000m in put paid to the boys from German clubs Mulheim and Duisburg, and Joe Webb comfortably led away a group of four Brits, including Juan, Tim and Arthur. This was to be the finishing order after an hour’s racing, with a spread of only 30 seconds from first to fourth, the first of the Germans being nearly two minutes back.

Our U16 girls should have been racing two German and one Belgian competitors but for various reasons the Germans didn’t arrive, and the Belgian girl started with the boys race. Despite the hosts failing to show, our girls set about the task of beating each other, and a cagey first lap saw a large group together into the first portage. As usual this offered a decisive break, with Madi Barnicoat and Lucy Hield of Falcon getting away with Emma Russell of Chelmsford. Maia Wallman of Royal and Sam Martyn of Wey formed a chasing pair, with Sophie Thomson of Wey, Maia Wallace-Loizou of Leaside, Eloise Hall of Leighton Buzzard, Lucy Tozer of Wey and Harriet Quigley of Wiltshire Youth following. This proved to be a close race with only three minutes between first and ninth; Emma Russell won by 23 seconds from Madi, in turn 15 in front of Lucy.

The U18 races over 18km included an extra lap of the river Leie. The boys race, also a Belgian team marathon assessment race, featured the excellent Daan Cox of Belgium’s dominant club Neerpelt (which has produced sprint and marathon world medallists in recent years). Our racers were David Stubbs and George Harris of Falcon, and Chris Carson of Wey. David managed to get away with the Belgian Cox, and pull out a huge five minute lead; he was beaten by 30 seconds in the end but this was certainly one of the star performances of the trip. George finished a good fourth despite swimming and beat Chris into fifth in a sprint finish.

Our U18 girls were Ella Beatty of Bishops Stortford and Kate Clark of Falcon, racing in a fast start that included the senior and veteran ladies again as a national team assessment. Kate also fell in on the bumpy regatta course at the start of the race so lost a good deal of time, in the end finishing 4th junior; Ella managed an impressive third behind the Belgians Plas and Smeulders of Neerpelt. The overall start was won by Medway Racers’ Leanne Brown.

The team got back to Elmbridge later on Saturday evening, with many of the racers heading straight off to half term training camps or Hasler races on the Sunday. They were very ably supported by the staff team of Sarah Akerman of Wey, Katie Williams of Elmbridge, Phil Gunney of Wey and Tom Daniels of Longridge.

Full results can be downloaded here, with some photos here

Other than offering what is hopefully a good learning experience to the young athletes, this trip is also a good way for adult volunteers keen to get involved in the GB Marathon team to get first hand experience of managing and coaching the athletes. If you’d be keen to be part of the team for next year’s race please get in touch.

James Smythe, team manager

GB Marathon Team Staff

We are looking for more volunteers willing to travel with the GB Marathon team to internationals as members of the staff, particularly female staff members and/or those willing to drive a team minibus (aged 25+)

With no paid staff, the GB Marathon team couldn’t exist without its volunteers from clubs and individuals all over the country. In return for free time and effort, you can be part of this medal-winning team and support our inspirational and successful young athletes.

A typical international trip will involve two or three staff flying out with the athletes, and two more doing the overland drive with the boat trailer. For a three-day ICF event, we’re away for between five and seven days.

If you’re interested in being part of this, please email David Enoch to find out more.

GB Team for Waterlands Marathon 2015

The Selection Committee has chosen a team of fourteen athletes to represent Great Britain at the Waterlands Marathon in Amsterdam on 18th April. This race has quickly earned a reputation as one of the fastest in the world, as the organisers sponsor the top K1s from the previous World Championships to attend, so it will be a daunting international debut for many of our team.

This event is designated as a “development” event in our selection policy, for athletes who have not yet raced at a major international in their current class, but who are on track to do so in the near future.

The team features athletes from nine different clubs, demonstrating how strong the competition is nationally for GB team places. Congratulations to all those selected, especially Chelmsford CC who earned five places, and good luck to all British athletes racing as part of the team or as a private entry.

SMK1
A Butler (LON)
R Poole (LBZ)

U23MK1
D Johnson (CLM)
J Childerstone (WEY)
L Duffield (CLM)
M Johnson (CLM)
T Lusty (SOL)
R McMullen (ELM)
P Wilkes (CLM)

U18MK1
D Strong (CLM)

U17MK1
W Smithson (RLS)
J Westwood (WEY)
T Morris (FOX)
D Hatton (CHE)