Living loud with Liezel: The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon

Living loud with Liezel: The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon
Liezel van der Westhuizen

By Liezel van der Westhuizen

The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon is arguably the world’s most prestigious canoe race and was held this past weekend. It runs along the Msunduzi River, which is more commonly referred to as the Dusi River.

The race starts in Pietermaritzburg and ends at Blue Lagoon in Durban.
The Western Cape was proudly represented by a number of paddlers including Maties rowers Lance and Robyn Kime, who made race history with a sibling victory double for the first time in Dusi canoe marathon history. They won the individual men’s and women’s races, both of them breaking the race records in their respective races, with Robyn scoring her fourth consecutive win in The Unlimited Dusi canoe marathon.

Another proud Capetonian who also took part, a man who swapped soap for water, is actor and soap star Paul du Toit. You would recognise him as Malan Koster in the kykNET soap ‘Binnelanders’. The self-proclaimed dedicated beach bum and surfer took up canoeing four years ago when he moved to Johannesburg to further his acting career.

I took part in this gruelling race with my paddling partner Greg van Heerden. We had a tough start to our race with our boat crashing into a submerged tree. This set us back a bit, but we finished our race in one piece and big smiles on our faces. We paddled in the charity batch to raise funds and awareness for the race charities such as early childhood development agency The Unlimited Child.

Here is a look at The Unlimited Dusi – by numbers:
1 – The number of finishers in the first Dusi in 1952 – Ian Player
2 – The number of rivers paddled in this race
4- The number of paddlers who have completed 40 Dusis
8 – The number of paddlers who entered the first Dusi in 1952
12 – The minimum weight in kilograms of a single kayak
15 – The most ever victories by one paddler – “Dusi King” Graeme Pope-Ellis
15 – The minimum age for participation in The Unlimited Dusi
24 – The most Dusis by a woman – Lorna Oliver.
27 – The number of years that female paddlers have been allowed to race unaccompanied
61 – The number of races held since the first race in 1952
119,62 – The exact distance in kilometres of the race using the current conventional route
416 – The number of children supported by The Unlimited Child at nine different crèches
368020 – The amount in Rands raised by the auction of places in The Unlimited Dusi Charity batch