Category: National

National Short Course Championships 2024 Entries now open!

The MRC are excited to announce the entries for the third edition of the National Short Course Championships are now open. You see the full event details and enter via our entries site here. This event also is part of the continuous assessment policy named within our selection policy. Full details can be reviewed here.

Entries close on the 2nd May with late entries closing on the 6th May.

We are still seeking volunteers to help out with the day so if you can spare some time, it would significantly help in the event running! Visit our recent website post here to find out more.

Devizes to Westminster 2024: How to follow along!

The Marathon Racing Committee would like to wish all competitors racing in the 2024 edition of the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race the best of luck. Have a safe and enjoyable (?) race to whichever finish line in your aim.

We would also like to thank all the volunteers (directors, committee, marshalls and more) out on the course over the next few days. Without you, these events could not happen.

There is a variety of coverage happening over the next three days as the straight through crews, juniors and stages compete and you can follow their progress in a variety of ways.

The official DW organisation channels include the following:

PaddleDaily, an independent paddling media company, will also be following the race through their channels. They might also be providing some live stream footage of the senior doubles race for us. You can find their channels below.

We look forward to following along ourselves!

Seeking Volunteers – Short Course Nationals 2024

We are seeking volunteers to help us run the National Short Course Marathon Championships 2024 on Sunday 12th May. Whether it’s helping with set-up on the Saturday or marshalling during the racing or even commentary, we need your help to make this amazing event even better. There are roles to suit everyone and every different time commitment.

If you are interested in volunteering even a little amount of time over the weekend, fill in the below form and the Short Course Nationals Race Leads will be in contact in due course. Thank you for helping us to make this discipline even better!!

Canoe Marathon Major National Events 2024

The Marathon Racing Committee are excited to finally confirm all the dates and venues for the 2024 Major Events. Thank you to all the venues, clubs and organisers for stepping forward.

Sadly, year on year it has been harder and harder to find venues for these key events in our calendar. The MRC wants to re-emphasis to the community that without a variety of clubs stepping forward to host a major event, they will cease to exist in our calendar and at the level we have become used to. ALL clubs should be having serious conversations around how they can support the canoe marathon major events, whether that is through hosting at their home venue, using an alternative location or partnering up with another club. The more clubs that get involved the less work for everyone.

National School Canoe Championships 2023

For the second year in a row, the MRC has directly partnered with the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race Organisation to put on the National School Canoe Championships on Sunday 19th November. Run from Hawley Lake in Farnborough, the National School Canoe Championships was created with the main objective to encourage grassroots paddling, and better preparation and development of school teams in paddlesport.

In 2023, five schools submitted entries with paddlers representing Norwich School, Heathside School, Lord Wandsworth College, Kimbolton School and Bryanston School. To take part, all schools have to show an active commitment to supporting paddlesport with their students. If you are interested in getting involved in 2024 and need advice on how to get paddlesport established within your school, contact the MRC Junior Development Lead here.

The morning involved a series of “500m” and “200m” sprint races for both the Senior/Experienced and Novice categories. The Novice category was mostly made up of crews who had only been in a boat for a matter of months. In the Senior/Experienced 500m final, Jared Hughes and Tate Morrison (Lord Wandsworth College) took the win in a close fought battle with Ted Umbers and Xander Finn (Lord Wandsworth College) and Sophie Dunlop and Henry Moult (Heathside School). In the Novice 500m final, Alex Williams and Joel Watt (Lord Wandsworth College) finished in the fastest time by over two seconds.

The 200m event takes the format of a knockout, where crews are eliminated in groups until the last remaining five boats go head to head in the final. In the Senior/Experienced race, it was Jack Ockenden and Jasper Godfrey (Bryanston School) who showed an exceptional final sprint, securing the win by over two seconds and therefore securing the overall Senior Sprint Trophy by a matter of milliseconds ahead of Jared Hughes and Tate Morrison (Lord Wandsworth College). In the Novice category, Alex Williams and Joel Watt (Lord Wandsworth College) took the win again and securing the overall novice sprint trophy too.

After some lunch, crews then competed in the marathon event. The senior/experienced category competed over five laps of the lake with four portages, whereas the novice category competed over four laps with three portages. Due the increasing headwind, the decision was made to reverse the course to a clock-wise direction. In contrast to the previous year, the senior race started with a large group of six boats off the start line, with crews battling it out for the best positions in the lead group. Out of the first portage, it broke down into four with Jack Ockenden and Jasper Godfrey (Bryanston School) battling their way back into the group. The portage seemed to be the area where opportunity arose with many errors causing breakaways and comebacks. The final portage was the decider with Jack and Jasper managing to open up a gap over Samuel Bull and Finn Taylor (Heathside School) and allowing them to take the overall win. Sophie Dunlop and Henry Moult (Heathside School) were third over the line and enabling them to take the mixed win. Maddison Mckernan and Imogen Field (Heathside School) took the ladies win.

Speaking after the overall marathon and sprint win, Jack and Jasper said, “We were really pleased with our success in the marathon and sprint events at the National Schools Canoe Championships. It was an incredible experience to race in the company of so many crews of such great quality. The racing was incredibly close in both sprint events, and in the marathon. We would like to thank the committee for their hard work, and we look forward to racing over Easter Weekend in the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race.”

In the Novice category, another dominant performance from Alex Williams and Joel Watt (Lord Wandsworth College) saw them earn another trophy, with an impressive gap of nine minutes over the rest of the field. Emma Croucher and Tom Sumpton (Kimbolton School) took the novice mixed win and Grace Gadsby and Sofia Kulynych (Lord Wandsworth College) took the novice ladies win.

Overall, Lord Wandsworth College took the win in the Senior Team Trophy as well as the Novice Team Trophy.

Reflecting on the schools win, Richard Lovell, Lord Wandsworth College team leader, said, “Instead of hanging up the canoeing kit at the end of DW, LWC have been training hard both on and off the water, and the results speak for themselves. What is equally impressive is the effect this has had on the students who only got in a boat in September. We have never had so many younger people out on the water. The team of 10 boats who entered the Nationals has come from a squad of 40 students. With 12 of last year’s DW team returning, having them as role models has helped raise the standard. The challenge now is to convert them into club paddlers when they leave the school next summer.”

“The National Schools is a great opportunity for students to meet up and compete rather than just time trial in the events leading up to Easter. It’s also a great showcase to the parents, showing there is more to canoeing than just DW. It would be fantastic to see more crews attend next year.”

Another year of tight racing was a personal highlight for the MRC and enabled some of the school racers to receive a direct invite to attend the recent JDS training day. We are certainly looking to grow the schools racing scene and would be keen to speak to any schools wishing to start a schools programme.

Next years National School Canoe Championships will take place at Hawley Lake on Sunday 17th November 2024.

Hasler Finals 2023

On Sunday 24th September, more than 600 paddlers gathered on the River Severn in Worcester for the highly anticipated 2023 Hasler Finals. This event, a highlight of the racing calendar, marks the culmination of the regional club Hasler season, with the top clubs from their respective regions competing for the prestigious title of the best club in the country.

Since hosting the National Marathon Championships in 2022, Worcester Canoe Club stepped up yet again to host one of the major marathon events in the British racing calendar and did yet another exceptional job! Despite concerns about challenging weather conditions due to heavy rain in the days leading up to the event, Worcester Canoe Club demonstrated a calm and professional approach to safety. They asked all competitors to bring buoyancy aids and relocated the portage to a safer location, ensuring the race could proceed safely. Additional safety measures were put in place, and a comprehensive briefing was conducted.

The racing action commenced bright and early with the Division 7 to 9 categories. Some racers excelled in the tricky and bumpy conditions of the river. In Division 8 K1, the podium spots were separated by mere seconds, with Edward Hellman of the Royal Canoe Club clinching the win over Harry Luck (Wey Kayak Club) and Reuben Hardy (also from Wey Kayak Club). Wolverhampton Canoe Club dominated Division 7 with Shayne Dawson-Dymond securing a strong win, while Keiron Yates triumphed in Division 9.

The Division 4 to 6 races featured a substantial number of participants, with over 30 boats in the K1 races and more than 20 in the K2 races. Thanks to the efficient efforts of the Worcester pre-starter and starter, all races began smoothly. However, conditions on the course became more challenging as traffic increased and the wind picked up. This resulted in a couple of boats needing stops to empty and even one or two boats filling up with a little too much water!! The Marathon Racing Committee would like to emphasise to clubs that they have a duty to ensure equipment is up to standard when racing in challenging conditions and all paddlers should consider spraydecks and/or foot pumps to ensure boats do not fill up with too much water.

In keeping with Hasler Finals tradition, special trophies were awarded for outstanding individual performances throughout the day. The Ross Warland Memorial Trophy, named in memory of Ross Warland, a member of the Banbury & District Canoe Club, was presented to the highest placed junior in Division 4, which was claimed by Dominic Walker from Norwich Canoe Club. Notably, juniors excelled in the challenging conditions, with Toby Visser (Bradford-on-Avon Canoe Club) winning Division 5, James Lynn (Banbury & District Canoe Club) winning Division 6, and Martha Roberts and Katharine Boon (Elmbridge Canoe Club) securing the Division 7 K2/C2 win.

After a midday break, the fastest marathon paddlers in the country lined up to compete in the Division 1 to 3 categories. With the wind further intensifying, the racing became demanding. The crowd was treated to thrilling portaging just outside the club house. The Division 1 race concluded with Albert Hicks (Norwich Canoe Club) emerging victorious after a closely contested sprint finish against Alex McIntrye (Chelmsford Canoe Club) and Andrew Birkett (Richmond Canoe Club). The fastest junior of the day was awarded to Arthur Morley (Wey Kayak Club) for his fourth-place finish in the Division 1 category.

A head-to-head race in the Division 3 category pitted junior Lochie Lovell (Worcester Canoe Club) against the experienced and accomplished veteran Ivan Lawler (Elmbridge Canoe Club). The experienced Lawler trumped youth in a tight sprint finish. In the Division 2 K2 race, William Short and James Ross (Elmbridge Canoe Club) delivered a strong performance, securing victory with a remarkable three-minute lead, the largest margin of the weekend.

To conclude the day, the youngest competitors took to the water for the Geoff Sanders races. The remarkable growth in participation was evident, with over 40 under 14’s competing in the three K1/C1 categories. The Marathon Racing Committee expressed excitement about the continued growth of this racing series over the coming years. The GS K2/C2 open was won by Zahan Benford and Ollie Clare (Wey Kayak Club), GSA was claimed by Reuben Hearn (Banbury Canoe Club), GSB was secured by Agnes Grant (Wey Kayak Club), and GSC was triumphed by Fredrik Hellman (Royal Canoe Club). Wey Kayak Club emerged as the overall winner of the Geoff Sanders series for the 2022/23 season, earning the honour of having their names engraved on the trophy for the first time.

As the day came to a close, the final task was to award the coveted Hasler Trophy to the winning club. Elmbridge Canoe Club successfully defended their title, claiming the top spot for another year. Bradford-on-Avon Canoe Club achieved an exceptional second-place finish, a remarkable achievement considering they didn’t even qualify from their region the previous year. Wey Kayak Club maintained their third-place position from 2022.

In 2023, a brand-new trophy has been added to the Marathon Racing collection. In memory of David Green, Kirton Kayaks donated a trophy to be awarded to the highest placed senior British paddler over the long course at the World Championships. The first person awarded this trophy was Melissa Johnson after her 11th place finish in the Senior Women’s K1 race.

Thank you to Worcester Canoe Club for yet again putting on a fantastic major national event. We look forward to the 2024 Hasler Finals as it returns to the River Thames in Richmond.

Congratulations to all trophy winners from the day:

  • Hasler Trophy â€“ Elmbridge Canoe Club
  • Geoff Sanders Trophy â€“ Wey Kayak Club
  • Rhodes-White Trophy (presented to the fastest senior man K1 over 12-mile course) – Albert Hicks (Norwich)
  • Adam Thomasson Trophy (presented to the winner of the division 2 K1) – James How (Norwich)
  • Barber Trophy (present to the fastest junior K1 over the 12 mile course) – Arthur Morley (Wey)
  • David Shankland Trophy (presented to the fastest women’s K1 over the 12 mile course) – Jessie Urquhart (Nottingham)
  • Ross Warland Memorial Trophy (presented to the highest placed junior in the division 4 K1 race) – Dominic Walker (Norwich)
  • The Committee Cup (presented to the highest placed junior woman K1 in the highest division) – Sienna Payne (Chelmsford)
  • Ken Pereira Cup (presented to the highest places junior C1 in the highest division) – Andrew Elliot (Richmond)
  • Bill Sparks Trophy (presented to the highest placed veteran K2 in the highest division) – Colin Heard & Peter Maycock (Exeter)
  • David Green Kirton Memorial Trophy (presented to the highest placed highest placed senior British paddler over the long course at the World Championships) – Melissa Johnson (Chelmsford)

For full details of the results, please visit our race management site here.

If you, as a club or a group of clubs, are interested in finding out more about hosting a major event, contact our major event lead, Dan Seaford, here. We are still looking for Nationals host for 2024 so get in touch now for more information.

Vacancy: Trophies Co-Ordinator

The Marathon Racing Committee are seeking an organised and consistent individual to take over the responsibility of trophies and medals for our three major events.

For a overview of the role and responsibilities, click the document below.

If you are interested in taking on this role, please contact our chairman, Stan Missen, here. If you have any particular questions about the role, the current co-ordinator, Neil Urquhart, is willing to be contacted here.

We would like to have this role filled by December as we prepare for the 2024 season.

SAVE THE DATE – National Schools 2023

More information to follow….

IMPORTANT – Hasler Finals 2023 Safety Update

River levels are forecast to rise over the next few days in Worcester. We are monitoring the situation closely with Worcester Canoe Club as organisers so please look out for updates here and in pre-race briefings on the day.

As a contingency, please could you ensure ALL paddlers bring buoyancy aids as they may become mandatory for all competitors to wear due to river conditions.

Hasler Finals 2023 – Final Countdown

Worcester Canoe Club are now making their final preparations for the 2023 Hasler Finals taking place on Sunday 24th September. The final countdown is on!

You only have two more days to get your entries in with the closing date being this Saturday. You can find the full details of the event and enter here. Make sure you don’t miss out.

Live entries can be found here.

Reminder, you need to have qualified to race. Check the full details in the racing rules here. The qualifying clubs for each region are below. Who will take the overall win next weekend? Will Elmbridge Canoe Club retain their title or will another club be successful?

The winning club for the 2023 Geoff Sanders Competition will also be announced at this event.