New world marathon champions Ant Stott and Cam Schoeman have sent in a late entry for the Fish River Canoe Marathon race in Cradock on October 3 and 4.
The KwaZulu-Natal duo hit the headlines when they won a thrilling race to take the world marathon championships K2 title at Tyn Nad Vltavou in the Czech Republic last weekend, a day after Stott had bagged a bronze medal in the K1 race.
Stott and Schoeman have been relaxing since jetting back home and have targeted the Fish in the Eastern Cape province as a prime opportunity to relax and enjoy one of the year’s most popular river races.
“So often one hits a big low after peaking for a big event,” said Stott. “The past weekend in the Czech Republic was an extreme high, so we might just hit a bit of a hole next week,” he added.
“We will just go out there and race our own race, and if it all comes together on the day, then that is great,” said Stott. He also added both he and Schoeman had taken time of to relax and enjoy the company of friends and family after a lengthy period abroad training for the worlds “We haven’t paddled since the worlds, and we won’t get a chance to paddle before we get to Cradock,” said Stott.
“So we are not putting ourselves under any pressure on raceday.” Stott added he was enjoying spending time with friends at home. “It has been great catching up with everyone, and seeing how they followed the races, and sensing the excitement they experienced. That has been awesome.”
Stott and Schoeman were particularly strong on the portages at the worlds, and it is the portages on the Fish that famously split up the top contenders, particularly the portages around the Grassridge Dam wall and the series of weirs over the two-day 82km route to Cradock.
The duo will be joined in the dice for the Fish title by a number of other South Africans who have won the world marathon championships in recent years including Hank McGregor (2003) Shaun Rubenstein (2006) and junior Grant van der Walt (2007), and several others whop have medalled at the world marathon champs K1 and K2 races.
Stott and Schoeman will also have to square up to the classy Germans Stephan Stiefenhoefer and Max Hoff, who finished second in the last K2 championship race, and are determined to improve on that record. Hoff was one of Germany’s stars at the Beijing Olympics, finishing fifth in the men’s 1000m K1 final.
The marathon will get under way at Grassridge dam on Friday and finishes in Cradock on Saturday.