Well done to the six Stortford paddlers who were promoted at the Cambridge Hasler - Mel and Malcolm were both put up from Division 6 to 7, while Connor not only took silver in Div 9 but a double promotion as well. In doubles Ricky joins Alasdair in Div 4, and Yazmin & Isabelle C are now in Div 7.
Joe F was our fastest paddler, with a cracking time in the Div 1 race. Matt took gold in Div 2. Yazmin & Isabelle C won silver in Div 8 doubles.
14km, 4 portage
Div 4: Alasdair Bruce & Ricky White 4th (1:19:10)
Div 8: Yazmin Layzell & Isabelle Crawford 2nd (38:49), Jacque Cayford & Dave Cayford 3rd (40:45)
21km, 4 portages
Div 1: Joe Fitzpatrick 5th (1:40:25)
Div 2: Matt Parkes 1st (1:44:27)
14km, 4 portage
Div 4: Toby Booth 5th (1:22:11)
Div 5: Kevin Warbrick 7th (1:30:31), Mike Toomey 9th (1:32:10)
Div 7: Oscar Toomey 15th (41:07)
Div 8: Melanie Bennett 4th (41:25), Malcolm Duckworth 5th (41:33), Wayne Stevens 12th (43:58), Judith English 15th (45:32)
Div 9: Connor Higgins 2nd (41:25), James Daly 11th (44:52), Emilia Boylan 17th (46:13), Brian Owen 18th (46:25), Luke Sellstrom 20th (47:32), Siobhan Latham 25th (49:38), Kaitie Own 32nd (55:43), James Sellstrom 33rd (58:27), Cory Jones 35th (1:02:29), Catherine Robinson (rtd)
u10 Boys: Blake Wilby 3rd (36:05)
u10 Girls: Gemma Beazley 3rd (28:12)
The final Cambridge Hasler results of the race can be seen on the marathon website.
Photos by Lee Booth and Kerstin Queeney.
Overall the Stortford team came fifth at this event. The league table for the Eastern Region can be seen on the Results page.
Nine members of Bishops Stortford Canoe Club spent Easter 2017 taking on one of the canoeing world's biggest challenges - the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster Canoe race. Here is what they had to say about it:
Chris Sze (4-day Vet-Junior K2, with Euan):
"It's been an unique experience paddling with a young paddler for 125 miles in four days. Joyful pain or painful joy? Either or both! It's also good fun in every aspect from training, through preparing, till finishing. Without the support crew, the race would have not been a smooth one. Thank you all for assisting us in one way or another to make my dream come true!"
Euan Caton (4-day Vet-Junior, with Chris):
"All of our friends and family and support lining the sides of the river, ready to watch us leave. We were called up, the horn was blasted... 125 miles to Westminster! A disappointing incident with the rudder on day one was quickly recovered by our great engineers. Day 2: We worked well as a team and portaged very fast, leaving others behind at every portage. We made a good time and after we had finished we went back to the hotel, drained of all energy.
As we started to race on day three it became apparent that there was a problem, at every portage Chris he had pulled a tendon in his arm. Around 20 miles in and after a couple of Portages it became apparent he was having back problems, this became a very big challenge due to the lack of support points and portages on day three.
After all of the paddling and pain we had gone through, only 18 miles of lovely waves stood between us and Westminister Bridge. We started the day aching but ready. Around ten miles in we hit a problem - Chris's back began to play up again. We caught eyes on the London Eye, I screamed and almost fell to tears with the joys of seeing the finish. We doubled the effort and every stroke heaved the boat over the waves, flying under the finish line! Never have I felt so satisfied to see a bridge in my entire life!
The feeling of walking up those steps and seeing all of your support crew, family and friends is absolutely amazing, I just want to thank everyone that was there for me at the finish and my amazing support crew. Thank you to everyone along the way who helped to motivate me and also to all of the different people who lent me kit and a major thanks must go to my coaches who helped and guided me throughout my journey and hopefully many more races to come!"
(read the long version of Euan's story)
Sue, Euan Caton's mum (support crew):
"When I was initially asked if Euan would like to take part in the prestigious Devises to Westminster International Canoe Event, paddling 125 miles over 4 days I thought this was something which was outside of his ability. After all he'd only been paddling for approx 18 months, and he was just 15 years old.
We found out there was a great deal of knowledge within the club regarding the DW and people were very willing to help and share experiences, and guided us through the four Waterside races. We were given information for each stage/day which included all accessible portages, with post codes and a Sat Nav that was pre-programmed, everything that we needed! We just needed to learn how to effectively feed and change water bottles "on the run" for our team. As we got through the Watersides we learnt a lot, and I still wondered if this massive feat could really be accomplished.
I must say that the Easter weekend itself was a little of a blur with early boat check for the next days start points. The lessons we learnt at the Watersides was absolutely invaluable, we worked really well to support the boat so that at every opportunity we fed and watered our men, we leapfrogged portages so we could get to as many places to see and support them as possible, I am sure that our smiling faces along with the snacks we forced into their mouths kept them going through each strenuous day.
It was the final day, the Thames section and last push, the river was so wide there were BIG boats and there were NO portages, as a mum I was needless to say very, very anxious. I saw them pass under Richmond Bridge and they looked great, we parked up at Westminster and awaited sight of them coming into the finish, that was probably the most relieved I have ever been to see Euan and the proudest I have ever been. It just goes to prove that with great determination and the right support, anything is possible."
(read the long version of Sue's story)
Danny Beazley (non-stop K2)
"The curse of being one of the quicker crews is that you have a whole day to think about what you are about to put yourself through before you get going. You just want to get on and start at 9.00am but you have to wait around and control your nerves until 3:30pm and plan your eating and drinking. We started with Dan Palmer & Ryan Pearce. We shared the work doing 6 minute leads to Wooton Rivers catching the Pearse brothers before Pewsey who stayed with us for the remainder of the pound.
We were the second quickest crew from Reading to Westminster and the support was amazing. This was starting to feel like that perfect race, we arrived at Wooton Rivers feeling fresh and I had to slow Rodrigo down on the run. We cruised through to Crofton passing Steve King & Sean Thower. With Dan & Ryan, the Pearse brothers and Steve & Sean behind us we just continued on at our own pace. We were careful not to push it.
The early hours of the morning can be the point in the race where finishing becomes a battle of the mind. Realising you have been going for 12 hours and potentially have another 6 hours to go is not a nice feeling. Having said that it really wasn’t an issue for me this year and Rodrigo kept counting down the hours. The first signs of daylight give every crew a boost. You’ve made it through the night, you can begin to see bends in the river and locks approaching and you start to feel the warmth of the sun.
Our support crew of James, Josh and Stelian in one car and Nette, Lucia, Freddie and Bernardo in the other car were nothing short of amazing. Every portage went so smoothly, the kit change at Newbury and spray deck change at Dreadnaught Reach was really efficient and anything we requested from one car was promptly provided at the next portage by the other car. Thank you so much.
This was as close to the perfect race as you can get which is largely thanks to the guys above and of course Rodrigo for being so committed to it. All the training paid off and I really enjoyed racing DW with Rodrigo.
I said to James at the top of the steps that I'm starting to get too old for this but by the time I'd got to Westminster Bridge on the way to the changing tents I was discussing next year!"
(read the long version of Danny's story)
Those who successfully complete it get, in the words of the organisers, "a memorable sense of achievement" - which is an understatement to rule all understatements.
Those going straight through will set out from Devizes Wharf in Wiltshire, along the Kennet and Avon Canal, before they join the Thames at the 50 mile point. The hardy group then race through the night for another 58 miles towards the tidal Thames at Teddington Lock. They have to make sure they reach Teddington to catch the high tide, which is at 6.30am this year. A dangerous 17 mile paddle on the rough tidal Thames to the finish at Westminster Bridge then follows, if they make it.
Other famous people that have attempted the race include Steve Redgrave, who quit the race in 2012 due to tiredness. Paddy Ashdown completed the race when he was a Royal Marine and famously said "Only one other person in history has had a worse Easter".
By Matthew Parkes
It is with great sadness that I have to announce the passing of one the clubs most experienced coaches. Roger Davey, or Dodge as most of the club knew him was one of the best and most dedicated coaches the club has ever had. Dodge spent countless hours down the canoe club putting so much of his time and talent into making the clubs youngsters become some of the most successful the club has ever seen. Bishop's Stortford Canoe Clubs paddlers were not the only people to be lucky enough to experience Dodge's coaching. Hundreds of paddlers across the country have been coached by him including that of the GB team in which he was once a coach.
In 2014, Dodge was recognised for his continuous volunteering at the club and was awarded the Volunteer of the Year award at the clubs awards evening. He was also later awarded the clubs first ever lifetime achievement award, but sadly due to health complications, Dodge's appearances at the club became very limited. However he continued to coach from home, setting sessions and speaking to his paddlers about races, training and general life.
In my early paddling career myself, Izzy and Emily were coached by Dodge. Sim joined the group a few years later and I feel I can safely say we wouldn't be the paddlers we are today without his early coaching. To be taken under his wing in the summer of 2012 for the second time to train alongside Josh was a great privilege. Josh later went on to complete the DW with Dodge helping him every step of the way. Dodge is also one of the main reasons, like for so many, that I continued the sport through my teenage years. Around the same time period, Team Pink was formed, with new paddlers joining Dodge's group including Ella, Heidi, Emily, Laura, Megan and later on Catherine and David. As a member of Team Pink, although I used to hate admitting it, I think I can speak on behalf of the group in saying that the sessions coached by Dodge were some of the funniest yet most productive sessions we have ever had in our kayaking careers.
I'd like to say thank you to Dodge for all his dedication to Bishop's Stortford Canoe Club. It was a honour to have Dodge as my coach, mentor and also friend. I hope to make him proud come Easter 2017 when I embark on The Devizes to Westminster 125 mile canoe race.
Rest in peace x
In the course of time I moved to London and raced out of the Royal Canoe Club, where I was Paddling Mate for a period. I ended up in the Essex area, when my racing stopped. Shortly after that, I took up coaching and became a Junior Olympic Racing Squad Coach from 1982 to 1995, when I joined the White Water Racing National Junior Squad. I also continued with the Junior Racing Squad as Boatman/Driver, and at the same time was coaching paddlers all over the country.