The Thameside 1 is the kayak race held each year between Aldermaston and Reading. Seaford College students took part as part of their epic journey training to complete in the Devizes to Westminster Kayaking Marathon. Coach Charles Lunt reports on Sunday’s race.
A most energetic weekend!
To start with, a huge thank you to my fellow coaches – Bill, Dominic & Henry – for running today’s race programme due to the necessity for me to be 60 miles to the east!
Unlike last weekend’s almost tropical weather, today’s race took place in the wet and windy conditions of Storm Freya; nevertheless, all the paddlers performed brilliantly. Today’s race was a 12-mile race with 12 portages along the Kennet & Avon Canal to the Thames, with an upstream finish in Reading.
It was Henry’s first race, following recovery from his broken leg, and despite a number of swims, encouraged by Will, they persevered to finish in a less stable (but lighter) boat in a very pleasing 3 hours 6 minutes. Kaj and Mark produced a strong paddle and showed an excellent improvement on last week’s race, despite taking an unexpected ‘dip’, to finish in a very credible 2 hours 37 minutes.
The 3 mixed boats had a fantastically competitive race with Coni and Barney pipping Ollie and Beth at the finish by only 36 seconds with both boats racing almost side by side for the full duration of the course in an amazingly quick time of 2 hours 12 minutes. Archie and Sophia closed the gap on the other mixed pairs finishing in a great time of 2 hours 28 minutes. These 3 pairs finished in 4th, 5th and 6th place in the Junior Mixed K2 category – an outstanding achievement!
Ben showed huge commitment by competing in a K1; he finished a fantastic 10th in the Junior Mens K1 class in a great time of 2 hours 33 minutes.
The pair of Zoë and Fliss had to paddle in an almost complete vacuum, having started right at the end of the start window due to Zoë competing in two schools dressage qualifier classes, 1.5 hours away; despite paddling twice round Reading, the pair finished in an astonishing 3rd place in the Junior Ladies K2 category in a time of 2 hours 21 minutes.
Seaford is competing with – and beating! – a number of the established marathon racing schools. This year’s paddlers are hugely supportive of each other but also show a good competitive spirit amongst the boats by continuing to push each boat to produce their best.
Finally, as always, a huge thank you for the continued support from the parents – ‘the amazing support team’ – who are continuing to learn the rigours and necessity of their involvement.
Watch the video from the race here: