Pietermaritzburg – With the dust of the well-trodden roads through the Valley of a Thousand Hills having just settled after a dramatic FNB Dusi, several hardy paddlers are preparing their assault on the annual Non-Stop Dusi Canoe Marathon presented by Lovemore Brothers on Friday.
The ‘Dusi in a Day’ as it has become known is an onerous challenge run with the bare minimum of rules and two cut-off times, leaving the discretion on just how to get to Blue Lagoon in Durban entirely up to the paddlers and their seconding crews.
With two victories in the past three years, Euro Steel/Red Bull’s Sbonelo Khwela has picked up his still damp Dusi running shoes to take on another edition of the race, a race that he had penned into his calendar at an early stage.
“I love the Non-Stop Dusi and I was always going to take part in it,” an excited Khwela mentioned.
“This year will probably be the toughest Non-Stop that I have ever done but I have taken some time off and I am ready to get in my K1 again!”
Following an unforgiving third stage of the 2017 FNB Dusi Canoe Marathon recently, Khwela is aware of the challenges that are going to face him below the Inanda Dam wall but it is looking forward to what the race has in store for him.
“I just really love the challenge of the Non-Stop Dusi!
“I took last week off and paddled a few times but haven’t done anything for the last few days but I am ready.
“With no water below the dam I am probably looking at running about 40km on the day,” he added.
24 boats have been entered into the 2017 edition of the Non-Stop Dusi with Khwela the overwhelming favourite to take the title.
There are a number of K2 boats that might provide him with a bit of test however his biggest threat will come from Euro Steel team mate Banetse Nkhoesa.
Nkhoesa finished fourth in both 2015 and 2016 in a K2 so the challenge of paddling the race in a K1 will be something he is unfamiliar with.
While much debate has centered on the race and the possibility of returning to its informal roots and being raced as and when rains fall, Lovemore Brothers have stepped in to ensure that the iconic challenge goes ahead as planned on the date set aside in the local racing calendar.