Well done to Kerstin Queeney, who came second in the over 44 Ladies K2 race partnered by Catherine Ayling of Maidstone CC at the National Marathon Championships at Worcester. Their time was 1:07:25 over a 13 km course.
In singles over the same distance Kerstin was 5th in over 49 Ladies K1 with a time of 1:14:12.
Catherine also partnered Chris Sze in the Mixed K2 on the 13km course. This class had a massive turnout of 62 entries and the pair were 45th in 1:05:01
On the 6.5 km course Chris was 13th in over 59 Mens K1 in 33:41, and 19th partnered by Ant Wright (Worcester CC) in over 54 Mens K2 in 39:31.
Eddie Kirtland came 19th in u14 Boys K1, completing the 6.5 km course in 34:22.
The entire results are on the Marathon Canoe website here: https://entries.gbcanoemarathon.co.uk/results/races/2022/national-canoe-marathon-championships-2022
They had no bank support crew – everything they needed would have to be carried with them in the boat – camping & cooking gear, basic rations and clothing. Also (no surprise this, to those who know Chris) a fair quantity of tech – phones, GPS watches, two GoPro cameras, and a solar panel for charging.
They used a Kirton Inuk Duo kayak to which they fitted a pair of robust wheels for the inevitable portages en route. It was also adorned with a Union Jack and a photo of their friend and inspiration the late Steve Truglia.
The adventure began with the drive through France and into Germany, dealing along the way with baffling motorway toll systems, internet connection problems, card payment issues and all the other issues that can bedevil any international trip. More seriously, the boat came loose from the roof-rack on the motorway - but was saved in time from flying off, which would have brought a very early end to the expedition! At last they arrived at Ulm in Germany, where they were to launch.
Chris and Gordon were received very warmly by everyone they met throughout their travels. They found the Croatians particularly hospitable – stopping at a place which they mistook for a restaurant Chris and Gordon were given food only to discover that they had inadvertently gate-crashed a private party! Their charming hosts not only fed them but helped them find a suitable camping spot.
When they reached Iron Gate Gorge, the pair found themselves battling crosswinds which made paddling exhausting, and the waves from the large number of tourist sightseeing boats caused their kayak to be thrown all over the place.
Chris and Gordon were not sure of the best way around the dam on this canal, so decided to walk down there from their hotel to have a look around and take some photos of the layout. As the area also includes Romania’s nuclear power plant, armed police soon arrived. Fortunately the officers spoke English, and as soon as Chris and Gordon had convinced them that they were not a security threat, the police very kindly drove them round to show them the best portage points before dropping them back at their hotel.
At long last, 40 days after they had set off from Ulm, the two intrepid paddlers reached the Black Sea. They had averaged 60km a day, paddled 12 times the length of the DW and probably made something like 500,000 paddle stokes. Despite all the difficulties they encountered, they only fell out with each-other once – but perhaps most importantly they made even more friends wherever they went.
See the full story of their journey on their Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/Danube-Trip-of-Gordon-Chris-2022-103137982407340
Gordon and Chris encouraged their supporters to give to the Big Paddle Challenge which is fundraising for Beyond Words. Beyond Words is a small charity which produces a range of life-skills storybooks based on pictures rather than words for the benefit of those with learning disabilities - find out more at https://bigpaddlechallenge.co.uk/ and https://www.gofundme.com/f/beyond-words-big-paddle-2022
Photos courtesy Chris & Gordon