Paarl — The Berg River Canoe Marathon from July 7-10 has announced a substantial hike in its prize money, offering a total of R100,000 spread equally among the male and female athletes.

The winning paddlers will pocket R25,000 each for leading their classes to the finish line at Velddrif, establishing it as one of the most lucrative local races to win along with the MyLife Dusi Canoe Marathon.

The race will be run as a singles (K1) event for all competitive classes, and prize money will be paid to the podium finishers in the senior, under-23 and junior age groups.

The race organisers have made it clear that they will maintain parity in winnings between men and women across the board, hoping to make the tough 240km four-day race from Paarl to the West Coast attractive to female paddlers, who were not allowed to compete in the full marathon for the first 12 years of its existence.

Doubles (K2s), and should any intrepid paddlers be interested in K3s, will be allowed to enter, but they will start in  a noncompetitive batch at the back of the field.

Berg pioneer from the inaugural race in 1962 and winner in 1971 Willem van Riet has already indicated that he will be doing the race in a K2 with his son Louw van Riet.


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