BC Spring Roadshows

British Canoeing are running a series of roadshows around the country.

The roadshow will visit 14 locations in March and April and aims to provide members with an opportunity to:

• Hear about the progress made towards the ambitions within the current four-year strategic plan, Stronger Together
• Comment on what should be included in the next strategic plan for 2021-25
• Meet with and raise questions with British Canoeing CEO David Joy, senior staff and Board Members who will be present.

More information and registration can be found here.

Redistribution of Regions

At a Marathon Racing Committee meeting this weekend, the decision was taken not to re-organise the distribution of South West and Midlands Region clubs at this time.

The MRC considered all the arguments put forward by clubs, mostly against the proposed changes.  In particular it was acknowledged there are fears that small clubs who organise races felt vulnerable from a possible reduction in numbers attending. It was also noted that some clubs would still have significant journeys and others would have the ones closest to them moved to a different region.

It was agreed that the regions should seek alternative ways to manage the distances covered by those attending races. At some stage in the future it is likely that all sports will be called upon to address their carbon footprint and in some regions travelling to events would form a significant proportion of this for our sport.

There were some helpful suggestions made by clubs who responded to the proposal.  Some of these may be useful in the future. Some suggestions would drastically alter the nature of Hasler racing and an item will be posted on the MRC website in the future which details some of the changes that have happened over the years, the different issues that confront differing regions and how they are managed.  It is clear from some comments made, that a wider perspective on these differences may be helpful.

Thank you to all the clubs who responded.

MRC March 2020

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.

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 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.

Volunteer Staff for International Trips

A reminder that the MRC is looking for volunteers to help the GB teams on their various international trips during 2020.

It should be a fun but challenging few days supporting our international paddlers, and helping them perform to the best of their abilities.

We usually need 3 or 4 staff per event, either flying with the team or driving overland with the minibus and trailer.    All staff expenses are paid and team kit is provided.

Please complete the form below if you are interested, or email Graham Warland for more information.

https://gonepaddling.wufoo.com/forms/w12bbocy0uvcnlj/