McGregor Bags Record Twelfth Berg River Marathon Title While Nisbet Stamps Authority

Velddrif – Hank McGregor rewrote the record books by bagging a twelfth Berg River Canoe Marathon title on Saturday, while Jenna Nisbet won her first Berg title in the women’s race.

Mcgregor Bags Record Twelfth Berg River Marathon Title While Nisbet Stamps Authority
Hank McGregor sprints away to win the final stage of the 2022 Berg River Canoe Marathon on Saturday. PC: John Hishin / Gameplan Media

McGregor started the final stage with more than ninety seconds in the bank over the gallant Under 23 Uli Hart, added the final bridge prize at the Bokkom Bungalows hotspot and then led the fast-paced front bunch into the finish at the Carinus Bridge at the Velddrif lagoon.

“When I was a kid I never imagined winning a Berg, you always dream big,” said the Team Euro Steel racer from Durban. “To win my first one was something special. I am over the moon to win twelve now.”

“The conditions were really tough today,” he added. “We were into a headwind right from the start and it was freezing cold, and the tide was coming in!

Mcgregor Bags Record Twelfth Berg River Marathon Title While Nisbet Stamps Authority
Jenna Nisbet hung on to win the women’s title at the 2022 Berg River Canoe Marathon on Saturday PC: John Hishin / Gameplan Media

“We had one of the youngest fields assembled, which leaves the race in a very good space going forward. Someone will have to win thirteen titles to take over the King of the Berg title” he said.

The women’s title was wrapped up by Jenna Nisbet, who has been the dominant force in the women’s race through the four days, keeping defending champion Nikki Birkett at bay on a final stage in which she battled to find top form.

Mcgregor Bags Record Twelfth Berg River Marathon Title While Nisbet Stamps Authority
The first batch gets under way from Zoutkloof on the final stage of the 2022 Berg River Canoe Marathon on Saturday PC: John Hishin / Gameplan Media

“It wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be,” said Nisbet, who is using the race as part of her preparations for the world marathon championships in Portugal at the end of September.

“When I started the body didn’t respond as I had hoped, and it took me a while to get going. I just had to stay with Nikki (Birkett) today  and she was so strong and pulled most of the way.

“What was going through my mind was that if I did get dropped she could make up time very easily, so that main goal just not to get dropped.

Mcgregor Bags Record Twelfth Berg River Marathon Title While Nisbet Stamps Authority
Paddlers pass under the Kersefontein bridge on the final stage of the 2022 Berg River Canoe Marathon on Saturday. PC: John Hishin / Gameplan Media

“I certainly couldn’t have done it without Hank (McGregor),” she added. “He has been absolutely incredible with training and tripping, advice during the race and even lending me his boat!

Nisbet’s sixteen place finish is also a new mark for the best overall result for a female paddler.

After three days of sublime mid-winter weather the early arrival of the cold front made conditions tough for the paddlers over the final 56 kilometre stage from Zoutkloof to Velddrif, with cold weather and a strong headwind combining to create taxing paddling into the incoming tide.

Mcgregor Bags Record Twelfth Berg River Marathon Title While Nisbet Stamps Authority
Hank McGregor has won a record twelfth title at the 2022 Berg River Canoe Marathon on Saturday. PC: John Hishin / Gameplan Media

The tough conditions for the final day took it’s toll on the field. Six times winner Robbie Herreveld withdrew early on in the final stage with hypothermia.

SUMMARY OF RESULTS
BERG MARATHON STAGE FOUR
1.Hank McGregor 4:42:45 18:41:05
2.Uli Hart 4:42:56 18:42:59
3.Simon van Gysen 4:44:45 18:49:42
4.Wayne Jacobs 4:47:55 18:56:49
5.Graeme Solomon 4:53:49 19:11:11
6.Jeremy Maher 4:53:50 19:21:02
7.Heinrich Schloms 4:53:56 19:42:21
8.Anders Hart 4:53:49 19:45:12
9.Dan Jacobs 4:53:47 19:49:52
10.Tom Lovemore 4:53:45 19″58:16

WOMEN
1.Jenna Nisbet 5:13:48 20:44:04
2.Nix Birkett 5:14:01 21:06:04
3.Melanie Van Niekerk 5:29:34 21:48:32
4.Tracey Oellermann 5:48:20 22:46:12
5. Christy Shrimpton 5:54:12 23:02:20

More information can be found at www.berg.org.za

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