Cape Town – After blitzing her way to a maiden Berg River Canoe Marathon on debut last year, Abby Solms has confirmed that she will return to try and defend her crown over the tough four day, 240km outing from Paarl to Velddrif from 15 to 18 July.
Solms, still better known as Abby Adie prior to her marriage earlier this year, showed that she is in good form heading into the mid-winter season with back-to-back podium finishes at the recent SA Marathon Champs in her hometown of Pietermaritzburg, where she is a school teacher.
Unlike her introduction to the tough Cape ultra-marathon last year when she was paddling in uncharted waters, she has a clear idea of the scale of the challenge this time around and can prepare appropriately.
“It is a little daunting!” she said after her K1 and K2 challenge at the SA Marathon Championships. “This is all base mileage. I did start a bit late but hopefully the endurance can kick in now.
“It is very long and last year I promised that I wouldn’t come back to do the Berg again!
“Here I am now though, committed to doing it again,’ she chuckled.
Solms said one of her challenges was to try and balance her teaching commitments, her home life and the long hours that she knows she has to put in for a successful Berg campaign.
“I am fortunate to have school holidays so I can get down to the Cape a little earlier this year, so that works out well for me.
“I can get a look at the river and do some distance, which is quite a battle for me to do on my own in KZN,” she said.
Solms said that she was looking forward to a competitive women’s race with the news that local Bianca Beavitt is committed to challenging for the title.
“Bianca is gunning for the win and she has picked up her game dramatically so it is going to be competitive and to have a competitive Berg just make it harder; we are all going to have to bring our A game!”
She said that her tough midyear racing schedule would probably extend to the Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon in October.
“I am planning to do the Fish with Anna Adamova from the Czech Republic again and the Berg is part of that plan.
“After a Berg you are so fit that it sets you up nicely for the rest of the season,” she said.
The Berg River Canoe marathon starts in Paarl on 15 July and ends at Velddrif on 18 July. More information can be found at www.berg.org.za