Lizzie Broughton tops ICF World Rankings 2014

Richmond CC’s Lizzie Broughton has finished 2014 top of the ICF Canoe Marathon Rankings, after her silver medal at the World Championships and her win at the Waterlands Marathon (part of the ICF Classic Series) in April.

Tom Sharpe (also of Richmond) and Keith Moule (Chelmsford CC) were ranked joint 12th in the men’s list.

The ICF newsletter announcing the final tables also contains details of the ICF championships in the years ahead, and the 2015 series of classics. You can download it here.

International Race Report: World Championships Oklahoma 2014

Monday day one.

Met London Heathrow – team members arriving 50 minutes late which was not a good start….!  Checked in but getting critical for boarding with time dwindling away. With most of the team through security, Stan and Tom have to take the bundle of long paddles to have them reopened and individually swabbed for explosives…now only 20 mins. remaining before close of boarding! Luckily following a rapid and sweaty run through the airport we make it!  But did the paddles?

Long flight to Houston and then with two hours to change flights down to OKA international…. a number go off to find some more food and are only found as the doors for the flight are closing, another close call but we finally all board.

Arrive OKA, collect cars after being told that the missing two bags and other bundle of paddles will be coming on a later flight.  Settle into apartments by 9pm local time, 3am UK time, after 18 hours of travelling.

Tuesday day two

Up early as expected and after breakfast a visit to the airport to collect the two remaining lost bags and all the paddles which were no longer in a bundle obviously having been torn apart in transit. Luckily all there! Travel to the course around 30 mins, weather, clear sky and getting hot. Unpacked boats and although there was some minor damage most were intact. With some assistance from the Nelo service team all in racing order by later in the day. Training paddle took place followed by a run for some. Very hot now and sun screen essential. Hydration will become a constant issue in the dry heat and constant breeze –  now 86 degrees F .

Accommodation now full with other teams arriving and Masters Competition starting tomorrow.

Wednesday day three

Various training groups down to the course and some further boat maintenance, excellent on site lunch. Masters racing today. For those that watched them some useful information about the course and portage was gained. Windy but hot conditions persist.

Thursday day four

Another training day in between masters K2 racing, cooler in morning but again deceptive wind with rising temperatures to 88F. Lunch and team leaders meeting them back to apartments to collect all and return to course in heavy traffic for the opening ceremony.

Friday day five

First day of World Championships. Early start as Magnus and Zyggy K1 on at 9.00am followed by Elise at 9.03am. Sam RC paddling mid morning and after a few more shuttles back and forth, Sam P and Nick K1 at 2.45pm, in the worst heat of the day.

A live feed via the ICF website allows athletes from around the world to experience the racing first hand as events unfolded.

With a strong field it going to be a hard boys K1 race but our paddlers quickly established themselves in some large groups with Magnus towards the front and leading through the first portage. With a light wind and it being a little cooler paddling conditions were good. Zyggy was moving up through the field but slowly the race pace separated the groups. Final result Magnus 8th and Zyggy 10th with some valuable experience gained. Both paddlers should be pleased with their performances at this level.

Elise’s K1 race fielded some good quality paddlers and held a fast pace from outset.  Elise established herself towards the front and paddled well to come a creditable final 8th place overall. Our aim was to field a team capable of top ten placing’s and we were on target. Well done Elise a great performance.

The U23 women’s race saw some mature and tactical paddling from Sam RC. Whilst the race pace was not high at times there was a high number of quality paddlers and things could change in a moment.  Sam was not fazed as the pace of the leading group increased but continued to make some mature decisions to come in with a solid performance and Silver medal. A fantastic result.

Sadly things did not go so well for us in the U23 Men’s.  With 20 minutes to go the guys were on the water but Sam had a pump problem so Melvin and I set to, to try and resolve things.  Time was ticking away and it was complicated with the full foot plate which meant it was going to be a close call but with two and a half minutes to spare he was paddling to the start line….when the race was started early – something which should not happen at this level especially when all competitors where checked onto the water and it should have been obvious to the starter that they had one missing!   A 200 meter deficit at the start is an impossible margin to make up but Sam paddled well pulling up places with each lap.  Meanwhile Nick was looking strong and in a good position when the inevitable happened when boats are dragged at the portage and he removed his under stern rudder totally!   After returning to the side a very quick replacement was fitted but too much ground had been lost.  Sam finished 14th and Nick 20th reflecting on the events rather than ability. Both were understandably very disappointed.

Saturday day six

Another early leave after 6am get up. Traffic light and we were in to the course bathed in early morning sun….again, when does it rain here!  It was obviously going to be very hot later so with lessons learned a cool box was acquired and ice to keep the drinks bags cool for the later races.

With the first races away at 9.00 the conditions were near perfect for the early races, sun, not too warm (by Oklahoma standards) but light breeze. First up were our two junior men’s K2′ s.

A large field of 21 boats saw a quick start with Jack and Ed nudging forward in the group after a fast start and looking strong. Luke and Magnus were holding there own with others but wide of the main pack. This turned out to be useful, as nearing the first turn Jack and Ed were involved in a scuffle and this resulted in a clash, loosing them valuable places.

Luke and Magus were able to avoid the problems arising from such a large group all jockeying for position to get to the best washes and move clear with the leaders.

Approaching the portage the leading group moved around again and Luke and Magnus found themselves being disadvantaged by a wrongly timed manoeuvre which could have resulted in a swim. Luckily they came through this but dropped back a little as a result. Portaging was swift and as expected there were some minor clashes and mistakes, with Luke and Magnus nearly loosing reach of their boat at one stage after the jump out, but still they maintained a comfortable lead over the other British crew who were struggling to make up the lost ground.

This was a fast race and at times hectic race.  A very creditable performance from Luke and Magus coming in 8th with much valuable experience gained.

Jack and Ed held their place to finish 11th after the unfortunate incident in the early stages.

Next at 11.45 was senior women’s K1 – temperatures were rising not just because of the midday sun…..Lizzie was on a storm from the start and making her mark in this race! After the leading group reducing to just two she demonstrated some powerful paddling and excellent portaging edging her towards a certain medal – but could it be Gold or was it to be Silver –  our hearts were in our  mouths at one stage when Lizzie hit her under stern heavily on the joint between two pontoons which could have easily ended her day in disaster, but it survived and on her next passing a message was got to her to carry rather than drag her boat to protect from possible further damage, which she duly did!  With the two boats together out of the last portage it could have gone either way but a powerful performance from the other paddler saw her edge away from Lizzie in the final meters – but a superb Silver medal and world class performance from Lizzie without doubt.

If Lizzie’s race was exciting, Keith and Ed’s kept us on the edge of our seats.  Keith flew out from the start into a lead that surprised some of the world’s best paddlers!    Ed had a strong start in a race that was always going to be dominated by the top paddlers……and what a performance with strong pace and great tactics up in the front group.  Keith’s portaging was ultra fast with many commenting upon the sheer speed of his run! But he did not stop there with a constant and aggressive pace being set on the water too.

Both our paddlers finally settled into the second group with continued pressure being exerted all the time by Keith, who was obviously not content with racing his own group but prepared to make a real attempt to claw back the meters to the leaders.  Superb commitment and gutsy performance from Keith with a sprint for his 7th position in the final meters to achieve a truly excellent result, he was followed by Ed with a creditable 10th.

Sunday day seven

Another early start the first car leaving at 7.15am and with very little traffic we were into the course in record time. Beautiful sunny morning, but rather warmer than before. Obviously another hot day to come. It was to climb to 94F later.

The first race was the Women’s Senior K2 with Sam RC and Amy off to a strong start and looking good from the line.  Fay and Lizzie were also there and looking good. A strong and solid performance followed with other boats slowly falling off the leaders washes – but it was great to see our two boats right up there in the mix at the front.  It was always going to be close at the end and our girl’s crew of Sam and Amy gave it all they had to be there right until the end sprint and collect a superb Bronze medal. Fay and Lizzie not disappointing with an excellent 4th placing not too far behind.

The final race of the championships – a very strong Senior Men’s K2 race which promised to be THE race of the weekend with anyone’s guess as to the winner. Tim and Andy were there in the leading group with Keith and Ed close by. The leaders and groups were moving around with Tim and Andy playing the washes very well and maintaining good position in some lovely V washes before falling back a little to lead the second group.  They proceeded to break free before being re-joined in the later stages but seemed to have the pace to control those with them. Their portaging was swift and their position maintained. A creditable 6th final place was well deserved and commendable at this level.   Keith and Ed’s race was cut short, with an early retirement following their efforts the previous day in their K1’s.

A surprise for us all in that we heard that Lizzie had won the World Ladies K1 Ranking trophy that was duly presented to her. A fantastic end to the weekend and achievement to be proud of.

The final Nations ranking for the competition revealed that we had come 4th – only one point behind the strong South Africa team.

An evening Bar- be- q round the pool with the South African team followed back at our apartments.

We returned the following day to Heathrow after another 20 plus hours travelling.

It was excellent to see a good group of Parents who attended the event to give support to our team.

Our thanks to Melvin who was out there competing in the Masters for his valuable assistance (and congratulations on his Gold Medal) and staff members Claire and Tom for giving up their valuable time and providing support to the team.


Stan Missen, Team Manager.

GB team claims second place in Spanish International K4 Series

Each year the towns of Sanabria and Valladolid organise a pair of international K4 races, over a distance of roughly 5km each. Over 60 K4s take part in a range of classes, with the international K4 class being the highlight.

This year, the Spanish organisers attracted eight international crews of the highest standard, to take on their top crew of Merchan, Alonso, Fernandez and Ruiz (who hold a selection of world marathon and sprint titles between them).

Racing against them were our GB crew of Tim Pendle (NOR), Andy Daniels (LON), Keith Moule (CLM) and Jon Simmons (WEY). The German crew included multiple Olympic medallist Andreas Ihle, and crews from Portugal, the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland and Italy all contained proven medal winners.

The first race took place on 19th July in Valladolid, where the GB crew took third behind Spain and Germany. They went one better the next day in Sanabria, but were unable to stay with the Spanish crew and had to settle for the silver medal ahead of Portugal. These results gave them second overall for the series.

These athletes will all be contesting the National Championships at Worcester next month, and will be hoping to make the World Championship team for Oklahoma in September.

Four medals for GB at European Marathon Champs

Only a week after the opening of the season of ICF marathons with the World Cup, the European Championships took place between 13th and 15th June in Piestany, Slovakia.

Sprinters will be familiar with the course on the dammed river Vah at Piestany, which can be generous to racers with its slight following current. The annual junior international took place here only two weeks before the marathon in chilly conditions, but the sun was very much shining on the GB team this weekend.

Our team comprised the following:-

Magnus Gregory (Longridge) and Ross McMullen (Elmbridge), racing in the junior men’s K1 and K2 races
Elise Piercy (Elmbridge), racing junior ladies’ K1
Sam Plummer (Leighton Buzzard) in the U23 men’s K1
Jenny Illidge (Worcester) in the U23 women’s K1
Fay Lamph (Wey) and Lizzie Broughton (Richmond) racing in the senior women’s K1 and K2 races
Jon Simmons (Wey) and Keith Moule (Chelmsford) racing in the senior men’s K1 and K2 races
Andy Daniels (Longridge) and Tim Pendle (Norwich) racing in the senior men’s K2 race.

The European Championships entry was of a very high standard this year, meaning it would be hard to match our three european gold medals of 2013 (Amy Ward in junior K1, and with Sam Rees-Clark in junior K2, and Fay & Lizzie in women’s K2). The entry lists featured most of the names who had won senior and U23 world medals at Copenhagen.

Three long days of competition start with the junior singles races. At only 15 years old but with an impressive set of results behind him already, Magnus faced a tough task in the boys race, and was joined by Ross McMullen who had won the Bedford assessment race. A big start saw Magnus at the start of a large group heading into the first turn only 1800m from the start line. This upstream turn proved important in most races as it thinned groups out considerably, but Magnus’s positioning near the front saw him through clear. Very quickly Magnus and the Hungarian Gyorgyjakab broke away at the front of the race and established a lead of several minutes. Ross found himself in a challenging group of nine boats stretching from third to eleventh on the water. While the front runners were untroubled, the big group regularly fractured at portages and turns, while Ross made impressive efforts to come back each time he was held up.

The Hungarian finally too strong for Magnus in the final portage and broke away to win, but Magnus took an excellent silver medal, nearly five minutes ahead of third. Ross took tenth place only 30 seconds from the bronze winner. Tough break of the day went to the Portuguese Azevedo who was lined up to collect a bronze medal, only for judges to pull him out of the queue in favour of the German Pflugfelder at the last minute. Perhaps an omen of the football result to come!

While the boys were racing, Elise was contesting the junior ladies’ K1. A difficult start saw her separated from the front group of six, and despite chasing one of them down she had to settle for seventh place. Elise will still be a junior next year, unlike four of those who finished in front of her.

The U23 races also took place on Friday. Jenny Illidge made an impressive start to get into the front group, but was unable to keep with the pace of some of the 2013 world medallists who dominated the race, and finished tenth behind the winning Hungarian Vaczai. Sam Plummer, in his first year as a senior, faced a similarly tough task in a world class field, finishing eleventh only three minutes from the Norwegian winner Minde.

Following Ross and Magnus’ performances in K1, they had high hopes for the K2 the next morning, and their first few laps promised to deliver. Unfortunately fatigue caught up with them and they were dropped from the leading group of three, by the Hungarian and German crews. They were eventually caught by the chasing pack and had to settle for a sixth place which didn’t quite do justice to the quality of their race.

Lizzie and Fay, last year’s European K2 marathon champions, had made the decision to double up this year and test their ability to race both K1 and K2. At the same time, the big guns had come out to play and the women’s K1 start included a string of world champions in Csay, Cicali, Faldum and Bara. This group set a blistering pace to the first turn, where the current sent Lizzie into one of the turn buoys, into reverse gear and out of the front group. She and Fay set about chasing, and over 2km kept the gap at around 20 seconds. The portage thinned out the lead and chasing groups, leaving Lizzie just behind the front group with the Bulgarian (and ex-Hungarian world champion) Faldum. Lizzie waited until they were within striking distance before attacking the Bulgarian and rejoining Csay, Cicali and the Serbian Bedocs.

With Csay’s long experience dictating the race, Lizzie raced with great strength and intelligence to drop first the Serbian, and then the Italian, finishing 25 seconds behind Csay to claim the silver medal. Fay claimed seventh place just behind Bara.

If the women’s K1 was not enough excitement for the day, the men’s K1 was equal to it.The field here was exceptionally well matched, and saw a group of a dozen mix it up for almost the full duration. At the front, marathon champions Alonso of Spain, Ramalho of Portugal and Hamar of Norway were fighting a tactical war against the German three-time Olympic medallist Andreas Ihle. Rather than fall into a trap of paddling steadily, the marathon racers broke the sprinter down with sharp accelerations and better tactical use of the current. In the mix throughout was Keith Moule, who found himself in and out of the front group several times.

Things looked to be settled when Ramalho led Alonso and the Hungarian Boros away with a lap to go, but only 1800m later Keith was back leading a front group of ten only 3km from the finish, while Ihle was dropped. The final portage was taken at full pelt, and a slip-up getting in saw Keith’s boat fill with water, dropping him to a ninth place finish, extremely impressive nevertheless. At the front, Alonso led through the finish ahead of Ramalho and Hamar. Some aggressive steering in the finishing strait saw the Spaniard relegated to second, making Ramalho the champion.

Sunday’s K2 races are the fastest of the event and did not disappoint in terms of excitement. Fay and Lizzie were under constant pressure in the front group of the ladies’ race as reigning champions, and the Italian and Hungarian crews contained better rested athletes. These crews managed to get away, while Fay and Lizzie beat the Swedish pair to claim the bronze medal, and GB’s third of the competition overall.

GB have not claimed a medal in a senior men’s K2 championship since 1997, but this year we fielded two strong crews in Pendle/Daniels and Moule/Simmons. Tim and Jon hair paired up for a fourth place last year, while Andy had managed a fourth place at the 2010 Worlds, so there was plenty to hope for.

Tim and Andy managed to establish themselves in the front group from the start, while Keith and Jon got into the chasing group. The front group soon became five: the Spanish world champions
Alonso & Merchan, their compatriots Bouzan & Fernandez, the Hungarians Boros and Petrovics, and the Portuguese Brandao & Nanita. All of these crews had winning pedigrees but our boys were untroubled throughout. First to fall back were the Portuguese who valiantly chased the front four for several laps, led mostly by the GB crew as the Spaniards were content to wait.

Merchan and Alonso waited until the final portage to attack, putting in first in an attempt to go clear. Bouzan and Fernandez had seen it all before and caught them quickly, with our boys and the Hungarians close behind. The world champions led the complete group of four out of the turn, and with 200m to go Tim and Andy made a serious attempt to come past. But the race plan of the spanish crews paid off and they were able to take first and second by a quarter of a boat length from the British crew, the Hungarians having fallen back.

Many of the athletes racing for Great Britain at the championships had made a choice between attending the June regatta selections or going for a medal in Piestany. The potential sacrifice of a sprint selection demonstrates their commitment to being medal winners, and they delivered.

James Smythe, Team Manager.

Marathon World Cup 2014, Bohinj, Slovenia

Team; Seniors; Tom Sharpe (RIC) Albert Hicks (NOR) Mark Wilkes (CLM) Paul Yates (WEY), Juniors: Zyggy Chmiel (NOT) James Russel (CLM) Trevor Thompson (EAL) Luke Bowyer (ELM). Staff Melvin Swallow, Sarah Akerman.

Fantastic venue in the heart of Slovenia’s Alp national parkland, a lake 4k long 500mts wide surrounded by mountains. The lake was flat whilst we were there but I’m told can get windy. The local canoe club operates from there and has a 2k line of buoys every 10mts for training. There are no powered craft allowed other then electric, we saw one pleasure tourist boat around 7mts in length that operated from one end of the lake to the other. The trips were a 2 hour turnaround and the boat travelled around 5km/h, with little wash.

The race control area, portage, start/finish and athlete area were all in one location with enough room for a world cup, but needs some more development for a major championship. Our accommodation was 6mins walking away, so no transport problem. The course was out and back for both events, for the short course Ok but some thought needs to be put in for the long course to make some improvements especially the portage.

The organizer was very enthusiastic and in general done a good job and the results were available soon after each event.

New format short course racing which is based on a 1000mt circuit involving a portage, a course which has the furthest point at 500mts; 3 laps and a mini lap making 3.7k with 2 portages. Each class does a heat in the morning to qualify for a final in the afternoon with 50% of the entry being eliminated from the heats.

The Bohinj entry was around 20 senior men so 2 heats of 10 were drawn, with the first 3 over the line from each heat straight to the final and then the 4 fastest losers, making 10 for the final. Junior men had 2 heats of 10, women, girls and C1 were all straight finals. The competitors were a mix between sprint race guys and marathon. The junior men and senior men events were won by sprint guys that did not take part in the races on Sunday (marathon events).However the marathon guys were a close second, Matais Hamar (Nor) who won the race on Sunday was 4th in the short course race on Saturday. With the juniors Zyggy Chmiel (GBR) who won the marathon was 2nd on the short course. The event was well received by athletes and spectators, and after discussing with the athletes competing in the 2 events did not affect their performance on the sunday.

Sunday marathon: a marathon of laps in our normal format with 8 3.7 K laps for sen. Men and 6 for junior boys. Our development team of 4 boys and 4 men all performed well which gave us a chance to see what they could do against some good competition. Outstanding performances for the juniors Zyggy 1st and Trevor 3rd. Sen men Tom 6th.

(Full results at

Dyson Pendle, Team Manager.

Gent Marathon 2014

The MRC invites a small team of young athletes each year to take part in the Gent marathon in the Flanders region of Belgium. This 20km race is a considerable challenge for mostly aged under 16, and who for the most part are not yet ranked in division 3 or above which would give them regular experience of racing over this distance. In recent years, the race has also seen entries from the best Belgian juniors, including world and European junior medalists.

This year our team was comprised of the following athletes:-

JUNIOR MEN C1 Adrian Meikle-Briggs, Ben Phillips (both Richmond)

JUNIOR MEN K1 Matt Hayward (Norwich), Timo Morris (Falcon), Joe Petersen (Banbury), Ben Powell (Richmond), Harry Shearer (Norwich), James Smithson (Leamington), Declan Strong (Chelmsford), Josh Westwood (Wey), Owen White (Chelmsford) , Guy Willoughby (Addlestone)

JUNIOR LADIES K1 Charlotte Avery (Chelmsford), Rose Blackman (Gailey), Ava Dale (Falcon), Flo Duffield (Norwich), Bronte Holden (Fowey), Laura Ruff (Royal), Lily Wong (Richmond) and Rebekah Solway (Elmbridge)

Invitations are based on the commitment and performances observed at winter training days and local/regional time trials, which should have made this winter’s list tough to choose due to the high winds and flooding that disrupted our events throughout the winter. But when it came down to looking for performances, there was plenty to choose from with successful training days in several regions, races like the Essex Winter Series and Wey’s Hare & Hounds, early Hasler races and even the Watersides. In the event it was very difficult to reduce the list to 20 athletes who had not been invited to the race before.

This year’s race had been postponed from the usual late March to late May, which held the promise of better conditions than the driving snow and headwind of last year. Rain had been forecast but in the event it was suntan weather. The 12 mile race involved a lap of the Gent regatta lake, followed by two laps of the Leie canal which forms a loop around parts of the city.

With most of the team arriving that the course on Friday afternoon, we were able to paddle a lap of the river section to get a feel for the water and learn key parts of the course. The benefits of this might sound flimsy, but on this course the water gets very choppy behind a group, so sections of the course are easy to lose time or energy on, and others offer tactical advantage if you are familiar with them. It was telling that the four athletes who had exams on the Friday morning in the UK, and who had arrived too late to paddle the course on Saturday, suffered from both the stresses of the Friday and lack of preparation on the course.

The junior boys race start was second off, immediately after the senior men, and included the current Belgian national champion Daan Cox, and Niels Verduyckt, whose father Erik has his own well-stocked trophy cabinet. Josh Westwood (Wey) made a strong start with the Belgian Cox, and after a lap of the regatta course they had broken clear, with Verduyckt and Joe Petersen (Banbury) in pursuit, closely followed by Declan Strong (Chelsmford), Ben Powell (Richmond) and Timo Morris (Falcon)

The Belgian Cox was able to break away and win by a minute from Josh, with Verduyckt some 4 minutes back. Declan finished well in 4th, Joe 5th with Timo and Ben close behind in 6th and 7th.

The girls’ K1 race started with the boys’ C1 and senior women’s K1. On a bumpy course, Elmbridge’s Rebekah Solway quickly found her way to the front with a couple of Belgians and Chelmsford’s Charlotte Avery and Royal’s Laura Ruff. Rebekah used a quick first portage to break away from the group and establish a lead of over a minute by the finish.

The front runners at the first portage were closely followed by Ava Dale (Falcon), Rose Blackman (Gailey), Lily Wong (Richmond) and Bronte Holden (Fowey)

After a hard first lap of the bumpy water of the Leie canal the order had changed, with Rebekah ahead of Charlotte, followed by Lily, Rose and Laura.

At the front end of the race, Rebekah Solway managed to break away and win from a couple of senior Belgians, with Charlotte Avery the second junior and Lily Wong close behind in third, a highly impressive performance for a 14 year old. Rose Blackman followed in fourth and Laura Ruff fifth.

Adrian Meikle-Briggs and Ben Phillips (both Richmond) had a difficult job in their C1s on such a bumpy course which seemed at times to demand more steering than power on the stroke. They raced together to over half way, before Adrian managed to break away on the final lap.

The team travelled back to the UK on Saturday evening, and it was impressive to see so many of the athletes take part in Reading’s Hasler and assessment races the following day. The qualities of future international athletes are there for all to see.

Thanks very much indeed to the coaching and support team of Katie Williams, Claire and Phil Gunney, Sarah Akerman and Tom Daniels.

And extra thanks to Bruce Blackman and Ian Hayward, who volunteered to pick up the athletes taking exams and bring them all the way to Gent (or is it Ghent?) for the weekend. Your long drive, and short night’s sleep in a tent in a wet field was appreciated by the young athletes.


James Smythe, team manager

Waterlands Marathon 2014 – Report


A development team of 8 K1 men, 4 K1 junior men and 1WK1 were selected to take  part in the 42nd running of the Waterlands canoe marathon. The team was chosen following the Elmbridge Assessment race on 16 March.


The race consists of one loop of the canal system essentially starting and finishing in the vicinity of Viking Canoe Club. The race has two starts one for senior men and veterans, for a 23km course with two portages and the other start for juniors and women for a 14km course. The second start is just after the first portage on a wide section of waterway.

The  race for the senior and veteran men contains two portages , one after 7 kilometers in the town of Monnickendam and a second portage close to the town of Ilpendam. The race starts on a wide section of canal about 2km from the canoe club. The course then follows several canals which vary in width and depth. The first portage is relatively simple round a canal lock. The second portage at Ilpendam is unique because the Dutch wetlands requires participants to land their boats on to the shore before continuing through the marshy meadow. The route then passes through the shallow waters of a nature area before heading back to the main deeper canal and back through the start line and on to the finish near the canoe club.


The quality of the senior K1 field was impressive with Ramalho (Portugal) Alonso, Merchan, Rodriguez (Spain) all having been world marathon champions or medallists. There were also paddlers from Czech Republic, Germany, Belgium, Italy, Ireland, Norway, Denmark, Hungary and of course the Netherlands. Quite an opportunity for domestic competitors to line up in such a quality field. With approval from the BCU Marathon Committee the race is within reach, distance and ability, of many of our marathon competitors.

The senior/veterans start was a 60 boat+ affair. A fast start being a must. A large front group formed with all the main protagonists present. Romalho and the Spanish led through the first portage with many of our team hot on their heels. The race continued on to the second portage with much the same situation at the head of the race. A large front group, 10 or so boats, stayed together with others not far behind. Romalho had the lead on the wide canal on the way to the finish. The Spanish launched several attacks but failed to get past and the front group splintered as they approached the finish line. Romalho 1st, Merchan 2nd, Rodriguez 3rd, and Alonso 4th. The stand out result for our team was Magnus Gregory, an U16 junior , coming in 12th place 39 seconds behind the winner. Also Nick Romain, first year senior, was 14th just a few seconds behind Magnus. Magnus performed well at the Elmbridge assessment race and the selection committee offered him the opportunity to race with the seniors at Waterlands which he grabbed in no uncertain terms and really did himself proud along with his support team at Longridge Canoe Club.

In the junior race we had 4 competitors. They all made a strong start and Kayne settled into the front group with our other juniors not far behind. A mishap at the portage detached Kayne from the leaders and joined him with the second group with Luke and James with Trevor not far behind. The trio of Kayne, Luke and James chased hard and finished just 27 seconds behind the leading three. A good effort by all four boys.

The ladies race had mixed fortunes for the UK paddlers. Lizzie Broughton and Leanne Brown, both private entries, got away well. Emma got caught up in a congested start crash and ended up in the water. She got back into her boat and paddled strongly and went through the field to finish in 8th place. Lizzie took the win with Leanne in 3rd.


Viking Canoe Club ran a good race. Excellent hospitality no stress with late comers wanting to race and the facilities of the club open to all. They did a great job enticing top paddlers to make a very competitive club international race. One to put on everybody’s calendar.

Edwin de Nijs deserves special mention. He laid on a guide to take us round the course so we could recce the portages and main features prior to the race, thanks to Paul Hoekstra for the trip round. Edwin also arranged our evening meals in a local restaurant with athlete food, a must before the race!!


An excellent event, good competition, with 28 or so competitors from the UK taking part. Viking Canoe Club run the race annually and are very welcoming to overseas competitors…..put it on your list of races for 2015.

Thanks go to the MRC for the opportunity to take part in a top class development race, the MRC volunteer staff for the event, Viking Canoe Club and particularly Edwin. Last but not least the paddlers who all raced well and did the team proud.


Magnus Gregory
Albert Hicks
John o’Grady
Sam Plummer
Nick Romain
Shaune Walsh
Mark Wilkes
Paul Yates

Luke Bowyer
James Russell
Trevor Thompson
Kayne Wilkinson

Emma Horner

Melvin Swallow (Team Leader)
Sarah Akerman
Phil Gunney (Phil’s photos can be found on the Viking Canoe Club website and Facebook Page….a selection of action shots!!)
Dave Sackman

The results can be found following this link:

M Swallow 24 April 2014.




Racing behaviour, and the image of our sport


We sincerely hope that all competitors continue, as they do in the main, to conduct themselves, even in the heat of competition, in a responsible way. It is however evident that there is an increased amount of ‘pushing and shoving’ taking place at portages to gain advantage or put off the opposition. This is clearly unacceptable and events will be monitored and result in sanctions against crews where necessary.

Continue reading “Racing behaviour, and the image of our sport”

World Championships 2013 report

ICF: World Championships Marathon 2013 Copenhagen Denmark.
It was a three day programme starting Friday 20th September. We arrived Wednesday afternoon, our hotel was 10mins drive (not walking distance) from the course. The venue was excellent and the course was on Bagsvaerd lake which has been used before, although the finish line was a bit tight on the turn and portage.

Friday saw our junior K1 girls & boys competing first, Ed Haws (Wey) & Bruce Jones (Elm) in a large field of 44. Casper Pretzmann (DEN) looked to be favourite after winning both K1 & K2 at the Euro’s and medals at the Sprint Euro’s. A front group formed consisting of Casper, Peters, (Bel), Rice (SA), 2 Hungarians and 2 Portuguese, with Ed best placed in the next group and Bruce a group behind Ed. The pace was fast but with no real commitment by the leaders to get the group down to 4. This allowed Ed to keep in touch with the front of the race after the 1st portage and he stayed there for 2 laps, a good effort. The race was won by the Hungarian with Peters (Bel) 2nd, Hun 3rd , Casper (Den) disappointed in 4th after the Hungarians had done their work on him. Ed finished 12th, 4mins down and Bruce 21st at 6mins.

Amy Ward (Elm) and Sam Rees Clark (Bas) both got off to a good start in the front group. Amy was getting the rough end of the 2 Hungarians and consequently dropped at the portage. The race then strung out with 2 leaders Hun/SA, closely followed by Hun/GB (Sam) with Amy in no man’s land 5th, clearly not having a good time. We decided to pull Amy out saving her for the K2. Hun won over SA with Sam sprinting for the line for the bronze, the Hungarian narrowly getting the edge.

U23’s is a really competitive class with 17 women (Jenny Illidge, Run) and 31 men (Jonny Tye Wor and Tom Sharp Ric). These races are just as fast as the senior races, just I lap shorter. It also enables Friday’s athletes to compete in the Sunday K2 senior race with a rest day in between. Jen went for the long haul start doing her own thing until the first turn and came into the first portage with a group and chased the next group going out, getting 12th from 21.

In the mens race there was a string of good athletes from SA, Nor, Spain Bel, Hun and Den. The race was full on the whole time dominated by the SA’s, Birkett, and Van de Walt, and Morton Minde (Nor), (winner 2011) who blew out big time and retired. Jonny and Tom chased in the 2nd group and finished 2.30 mins down on the winner SA, Birkett with Van de Walt on his wash, Hamar (Nor) 3rd. Tom and Jonny are guys who can progress at this level.
Saturday programme; Junior girls/boys K2 (Amy/Sam), (Ed/Jack Childerstone), (Sam Plummer LBZ/Nick Romain Ric). Sam and Amy were really up for the K2, they were focused for the start, settled in a group of three off the start and came into the portage the same. After the get in, all three were chasing Hun who were going for gold, GB in hot pursuit leaving the Portuguese to follow. The race stayed like that until the last 1000Mts when the Danish crew made a brilliant effort catching the 3 placed boat to get the bronze. A silver for GB.

Jack & Ed started very well and hooked on the back of the large front group, leading was Casper (Den) doubling up from K1 the previous day but a bit nervous after the beating he received from the Hungarians. The Danish crew asserted themselves well and were strong throughout. Jack and Ed took advantage of the cat and mouse from the other crews dropping off and then paddling back to the front group, by picking those wash’s and finished only 30sec down on the winners Casper/Graversen Den, from Hun, then Spain. A very good 4th place. Jack & Ed have another year in this class and should be one of the front runners next time out. Nick and Sam had a good start and despite falling in at the bottom turn only finished 4 min’s down.

Senior men K1 Keith Moule (Clm) Edward Rutherford (Elm) 38 starters.
Another big field with quality athletes. Grant van Walt SA, (winner 2012 U23) Ivan Alonso Esp, (Winner 2012), Hank Mcgregor (winner 2011), Ramalho (2nd 2012), Rene Poulsen 500/1000Mt euro champion & 4th 1000mt worlds 2013) and Cylle Carre, France, another quality sprinter.

Poulsen blasted the start and held the lead to the bottom turn, the field split, with Poulsen, Mcgregor, Alonso, Ramalho and Carre forming a front group. Coming to the first portage the 5 were still setting the pace, but with a string of athletes in hot pursuit just a few seconds back including Ed with Keith another group back. The race stayed like that for another lap, but with so many good athletes within touch of the front group the race was any body’s with at least 10 in the mix. On the third portage Poulsen had blown a gasket and struggled over the run going backwards through the groups. Ed held his place and was looking good even relaxed over the portage, Keith also looked strong about a minute behind the front. On the 5th lap Poulsen revived and came back from about 500Mts down to challenge the lead. Ed made the most of Poulsen’s surge and hooked onto the front group. Poulsen then faded again and left the race finish to Mcgregor 1st, Alonso 2nd, Carre 3rd , and Ed finished 5th only 30sec down and Keith 14th at 2mins. My money had been on Ramalho (Port) because of how he dominated the race in the front group, attacking the portages, and stringing the race out. He capsized coming back up on the 5th lap and lost about 4 mins but still finished 11th, less than 2mins down. A good race by our boys.
Sunday Womens K2 (Lizzie Broughton Ric/Fay Lamph Wey and Mens K2 Tim Pendle Nor/ John Simmons Wey & Keith/Tom.

A really good start saw Fay & Lizzie form a front group of 5 which came into the portage together. The Hun, Den and CZE weren’t waiting for anybody, and a small gap opened and after 500mts was too big to chase down so our girls and the Spanish stayed as a pair. The race stayed like that until the finish apart from a group of 3 chasing our girls, Peters/ Broekx (Bel), Anderssen/Johnsson (Swe), and Cicali/Alberti (ITA), 3 really good crews. The pair held off the challenge, and our girls won the sprint over the Spanish for 4th.

The men’s was also super-fast, with the 2 Spanish boats (Merchan/Alonso), (Bouzan/Fernandez), Rubenstein/Sean Rice (SA) Poulsen/Larsen (Den), all wanting to take the lead for the 1st 2K. Our boys both got off well and were in a large front group at the turn, 12 boats strung out over 50Mts coming into the first portage. Leading out were Spain, Spain, SA, Hun, SA and Den with our boys just behind. Tim and John decided to switch sides at the get in because of the congestion on the right, the French doing the same but clearly had rudder problems going out and had to retire. The next time round the Spanish clearly wanted to be on their own out in front and went about their business, chasing were SA & Hun. Keith & Tom were well positioned just behind the pack with Tim & John. Tim & John clearly had a problem with their rudder going out for the 3rd lap. Next time round at the 3rd portage the Spanish were away 30sec ahead of Rubenstein/Rice and the Hungarians and a chasing 3 containing Poulsens boat. Keith and Tom were next followed by Tim and John who came in for boat maintanance (bent rudder), the rudder was catching on the bottom of the boat making steering almost impossible. Straightening the rudder was almost a waste of time with the blade ending up on the deck with the slightest touch meaning the end of the race for Tim and John. (Gutted). The race never changed from this point, only to decide which Spanish crew was going to take gold and the other the silver. It was Merchan/Alonso then Bouzan/Fernandez and Hun in 3rd, Keith & Tom finished 12th, 4mins down, an excellent race for them.

Just worth mentioning for those who train using pace per 1000Mts. Taking sub 4 mins as a reasonable time for a 1000mts, these guys, (Spain on their own, 2 boats) did the race including 7 portages and 15 turn points in 2:00:59. A quick calculation gives you 4min per 1000mts covered for the whole race!

Summary: Although only 1 medal gained the team as a whole performed well with so many just outside the medal places, confirming our domestic racing is at a reasonable standard and only requires raising our standard a little to find those medal places. We felt all aspects of our arrangements worked well and full credit to the staff and admin. Melvin Swallow, Ollie Harding, Sarah Akerman and David Enoch

Dyson Pendle Team Manager.