Picture: REUTERS/VINCENT WEST
Picture: REUTERS/VINCENT WEST

Because of uncertainty about mass participation sporting events due to the Covid-19  lockdown, the organisers of the 2020 Fish River Canoe Marathon have cancelled the race September 25-26 race.

The marathon is the country’s biggest paddling event,  and was set to host the SA National K1 and K3 River Championships in 2020. But with ab out three months to go the organisers decided to cancel the 38th race.

“Although SA is operating under level 3 of the lockdown regulations, there is no indication when mass participation events and functions will be able to start, or what the protocols will be,” the chairman of the organising committee, Roy Copeman, said.

“We’ve also had numerous meetings and discussions with affected parties, trying to take in all the known and unknown factors to determine our way forward.

“Given the scale and budget of the Fish, and the impact that it has on so many spheres of the Cradock community, we had to make a decision now,” he added.

“We strongly believe our solution is the one that benefits our paddlers the most.”

Other factors have hamstrung the organisers as most of the paddlers travel to Cradock from other provinces, and this added uncertainty to the hosting of the two-day event.

“Cross provincial travel restrictions might potentially ease during lockdown level two but the status of hotspots can fluctuate and prevent travelling between provinces any time during lockdown.

“Mass participation events will only be allowed to take place under lockdown level 0 and we are unsure of the time-frame of the various levels or when level 0 will happen.

“There is also uncertainty around when supporting businesses can operate normally, such as accommodation establishments and restaurants. This has a huge impact on our event,” he added.

Despite the cancellation, the committee is still continuing with an open mind with the option of a social Fish River Canoe Marathon still on the table later in the year.

“If the opportunity presents itself later in the year, we will organise a ‘Social Fish’.

“The possible plan will be to start day one at Prospect and finish at Baroda. Day two from Knutsford to Cradock, finishing at the Cradock Canoe Club,” Copeman added.