Notice of the 2022 MRC ACM, and Committee Elections

The MRC 2022 ACM will be held on Wednesday 13 July at 7.30pm.

The meeting will be held online, and further details including joining and voting instructions together with the meeting papers will follow nearer the time.

At the ACM will be the annual election for the role of Chair, and the election for half of the committee places.  Anyone wishing to stand must be a full member of British Canoeing, be proposed and seconded by two other full members, and inform the Secretary (Acting) of their candidacy by 1st June 2022.

Standing as an elected member of the MRC is a great way to make a difference to our sport and be involved directly in how it is run. Committee members are expected to attend around 4 meetings per year, and to play an active role in the administration of the discipline in between meetings.

If you are interested in standing, please feel free to contact the Secretary (Acting), Siobhan Urquhart, or the Chair, Stan Missen – or any of the current Committee who can give you more information.

If you have an item for the ACM agenda, please submit that to the Secretary (Acting) by 1st June, supported by signatures of two full members of British Canoeing.  Other items may be discussed at the meeting at the Chairman’s discretion.

A Tribute to James Smythe

This week the marathon racing community said farewell to James Smythe.  On Saturday we held the first British National Short-Course Championships.  This event was James’s brainchild, and he put all the initial planning into place last year, continuing to work on it for as long as he was able, before handing over the responsibility to Evan Shephard and the rest of the Marathon Racing Committee.  Thanks to James, and all those who took part, this was a spectacular event, with the best of British marathon racing on show – along with the best in the world, as James had also arranged for the current World Champion, Jose Ramalho, to come over from Portugal.  With un-forecasted wall-to-wall sunshine, James’s presence was felt throughout the day, and particularly so when his wife Katie and son Ollie came for the afternoon and presented the new trophies – in James’s name – to the first National Champions.

On Tuesday, many of us were together again at James’s funeral.  As people walked in to the chapel, someone was overheard to say “I never knew he was such a figurehead in his sport”, and that’s exactly what he was.

As well as being a high-class paddler, James was also instrumental in helping shape and develop the sport, particularly through the MRC.  Having first joined it in 2006, James took on many roles during his MRC years.  An innovative and progressive thinker, he constantly pushed for the organisation to keep moving forward, but always with the athletes and the sport at the forefront.

He supported paddlers of all levels and all ages and was a vociferous advocate for athlete development – both juniors and seniors.  He worked hard to ensure the sport kept developing to be more inclusive, whilst never detracting from the competitive level.  This included the para class at the Short Course Championships, and initiatives to improve the sport for women and girls.  He recognised the part played by masters paddlers and helped and supported the development of their GB team.

As chair of the selectors James navigated the, often difficult, selection process with a calm charm, and that ever-present smile.  He was instrumental in moving the selection policy forward and improving trust between selectors and athletes, whilst always keeping the balance between athlete development and fair selections in mind. He changed the format of the selection events and developed the shape of the committee to bring in both athlete and independent representatives.  As team manager, no one was more supportive or fun to be with, in often tense and heart-breaking situations.  He could always put disappointment back into perspective and ensure, above all, racing for your country at any level was both an honour and fun.

Behind the scenes (and as one of the younger and more technically experienced MRC members) he helped modernise the MRC’s procedures and operating systems, pushing forward technological and digital developments, including involvement in the HRM system and the MRC website.  As Secretary he ensured the MRC is one of the most efficiently and correctly run of British Canoeing’s disciplines.  For those of us left behind, both on the MRC and in the sport, we have a very hard act to live up to, but we will endeavour to continue his work and maintain his high standards.  But our loss is nothing compared to that of Katie, Ollie and the rest of his family.

Online Briefing for National Short-Course Championships

The recorded briefing for Saturday’s National Short-Course Marathon Championships is here – please make sure you/your paddlers have watched this.  There will be NO briefing on the day.

Recorded Briefing

There will be a Team Leaders’ meeting via Zoom on Friday 29 April at 7.30 – the link for that meeting is here.  If there are any changes to the online briefing, they will be shared at this meeting.

Reminder – it is the athletes’ and team leaders’ responsibility to ensure they are familiar with all aspects of the briefing and final arrangements.


National Short-Course Marathon Championships

Please find here the updated instructions for Saturday’s National Short-Course Marathon Championships.

There will be an online video briefing shared on the MRC website by Thursday evening, and any changes to this will be discussed in the Team Leaders’ meeting on Friday 29th April at 7:30pm.   This link will be emailed out and will also be publicised on this website.
The link to the Team Leader’s Briefing is here Team Leader’s Briefing and this will be emailed out and also be publicised on the MRC website .
It is the athletes’ and team leaders’ responsibility to ensure they are familiar with all aspects of the briefing and final arrangements.

James Smythe

The MRC was greatly saddened by the news of James Smythe’s death earlier this week.

Known to many throughout the marathon canoeing world, James was a lifelong paddler, a team manager and the long-serving secretary to the MRC.  But, first and foremost, James was a family man, and our hearts go out to all his family, particularly his wife Katie and son Ollie.  We will post a full tribute to James at a later date.

Stan Missen

MRC Chair

Short Course Nationals Provisional Heat Draw

The provisional Heat Draw for the Short Course Nationals can be found Here.  While every effort will be made to avoid changing people between heats we reserve the right to do so, the final heat draw will be issued with the Team Leaders briefing information the day before the race.

To even numbers out between races some classes have been combined.

Where classes have been combined they will race on the water as a combined race.

Progression from Heats to Finals will be based on position or time from these combined races with the top 5 paddlers from each combined heat progressing to Final 1 and the remainder of FInal 1 being made up from best times.  All other paddlers will go to Final 2.

Final results will be split by class.

All paddlers will get a Final, club points will be based on these Final results with all paddlers counting toward the results.