As the Seaford Team continue their training for the Devizes to Westminster Kayaking Marathon, they took on their biggest challenge yet, Waterside C, at the weekend. This race is 23 miles long with 35 portages and the infamous 1/3 mile tunnel from Pewsey to Newbury.
The coaching team reports for us:
The Seaford Team are paddling in aid of Ellie Holt’s £75,000 fundraising target for life-changing medical intervention in the USA. Ellie has recently spent a number of weeks in hospital and is about to be transferred to Southampton Hospital Intestinal Failure Unit where she is likely to be for some-time. Read Ellie’s full story here and to sponsor the paddlers and help Ellie raise the funds she desperately needs please visit their fundraising page here.
The pairings for the race were: Mark and Kaj; Henry and Archie; Beth and Coni; Zoë and Fliss; Barney and Ollie and Ben and Charlie (from Churchers, after Will caught a bug following his fabulous performance in Les Mis, School Edition).
After an early swim by Zoë & Fliss (before reaching the start line!), the paddlers set off at a blistering pace, undaunted by the task ahead. Mark and Kaj started first and stayed ahead of the chasing pack, growing in confidence with every mile covered. They were first across the line in a great time of 4:34:06. Next, after a strong chase and Henry’s first attempt at the gruelling portaging regime that the early Kennet & Avon brings, Henry and Archie crossed the line in a quick time of 4:43:04.
Behind these front Seaford kayaks followed two formidable & fascinating races between the new Seaford pairings of Beth and Coni and Barney & Ollie. A few minutes behind were Zoë and Fliss and Ben and Charlie. The lead between both these ‘mini’ boat races ebbed and flowed between each of the pairings with the ladies crews just taking the honours but with little to separate all 4 boats by the end.
Beth and Coni finished 5th and Zoë and Fliss finished 6th (4th & 5th in the schools) in the Junior Ladies K2 class in astonishing times of 4:14:09 and 4:15:23. Beth and Coni was particularly impressive given that it was the first time they had ever paddled together!
The Junior Mens K2 honours went to Ben and Charlie who finished in 4:18:17. Sadly, due to medical reasons, Barney and Ollie had to retire 3 miles before the finish but without doubt this boat would have finished in a very similar time.
All round a very impressive performance by all boats but in particular by Mark and Kaj for a huge improvement. Full credit must go to Barney for recognising the signs of Ollie’s condition so close to the finishing line and making all the right decisions to get help to his paddling partner.
The paddle & phenomenal performance of the day was owned by Beth & Coni.
Well done everyone for another outstanding performance!
Watch our video of the race here: