NZ Marathon team success in Rome
Paul Randall reports....
(update four follows at end of this update)
We were pleased with the cool conditions that were forecast for race day compared to the previous few days. Temperatures were expected to be in the late teens / early twenties with rain and wind expected to come later in the day. With both the morning and afternoon sessions seeing in excess of 120 paddles on the course at one time racing would be challenging. Andrea led out the first day of racing in the morning. She powered away from the start line in her race immediately gaining a 2 - 3 boat length lead on the rest of the field. Early on in the first lap she was joined by two others to form the leading group. On the first portage Andrea charged into the first pontoon, racing through the portage to gain a 50 m lead which she managed to extend to 100 m through the rest of the lap. Andrea held this commanding lead for the rest of the race to take the gold medal for the masters woman's 35 - 44 age group.
The afternoon saw Paul and Glenn race in the 35 - 39 and 40 - 44 age groups respectively. With the large numbers on the start line the and boats not being held the start it was a bit chaotic. Paul thought he was doing a multisport race and diving in for a swim off the start line managing to finally get back in the boat to start chasing the field which was 4 mins ahead. Paul managed to catch and overtake a couple of the field to finish 14th.
Glenn was up against a strong field of paddlers which included Australians Michael Everett who came 8th in the men's open race last year. Another chaotic start saw Glenn pull through the field to get in to the front third of the pack. With the field splitting into a number of smaller bunches Glenn and a Spanish paddler worked well to keep the momentum going. About half way through an errant South African paddler took out Glenn's paddle which saw him also add a swim leg to the race. Fortunately he was right next to a pontoon and he was quickly back in his boat. Glenn paddled to finish 10th.
Some of the team must not have prayed enough that morning, being in/near a holy city and all, as on returning to the team tent we discovered all our gear and bags were wet through including the remaining pages that Glenn had left to read of his book, all his dry clothes and camera, the only thing of Glenn's spared was the pages he had already read of his book. God was playing a cruel cruel joke. Glenn is off to the Vatican city for 'sightseeing' before Saturdays race.
Andrea's results below and full results below that.
Andrea Bunn - Gold
Andrea Bunn wins Gold in the 40-44 Women's category. Well done Andrea!
race 15 K1 MASTER 40-44 WOMEN wednesday 19th september 11:35
|rank||n° boat||country||athlete||bo||lap 1||lap 2||lap 3||result|
|1°||104||NZL - New Zealand||313||BUNN ANDREA||1970||0:21:51,640||0:43:39,000||1:05:22,000||1:27:31,550|
|2°||101||ESP - Spain||989||DEL VILLAR PILAR||1969||0:21:58,080|
|3°||102||ESP - Spain||990||ARROYO BLANCA||1970||0:23:26,350|
Update Four - Open Men's K1
Adam and Glenn came 26th and 29th respectively in the Open Men's K1 race. There were 38 paddlers on the start line. The start was hard and fast with the boys getting caught up in the wash and having to go out to the side to get clear of it. With the field at the back spread out there were no opportunities for wash riding from the Kiwi boys. They put in solid efforts to finish the race. In the front group was last years winner Hank McGregor from South Africa, joined by his countryman as well as a couple of Spanish and Portugese paddlers. The front group fought hard in the portages with Hank sprinting through the fastest each time. In the last lap Alonso from Spain led hard it of the last portage to take the win.
In the K2 Adam and Paul were out muscled on the start line managing to hold on in the wash until another boat collided with them. After finding some clear water and settling into a rhythm they came together with another couple of boats. Through the second portage the rudder was damaged and this unfortunately ended their race. The race was won by the Spanish pair of Alonso and Merchan. Alonso taking out wins in both K1 and K2.
The team wish to thank all those who have supported us with this campaign. Especially our families who have not seen much of us through the winter months. Also a special thanks to the guys at Mariner Canoa Club in Eur Palasport and of course to the Podium Sports Foundation for coming up with funding for our airfares. Much appreciated!
Marathons - week one (aka 'Days of our lives')
As Adam sat at a cafe in Piazza del Popolo awaiting his espresso, his gaze was broken by a young girl in the distance.....
No... We have been training.... Honest....
Glenn and Andi battled through a final weekend of preparation for the World Marathon Champs at the 10km series final in Rotorua. Adam and myself paddled the Waitara river one last time before leaving for Rome the next day. We were greeted with rising flow, horizontal rain and breaking swells. Bring on Rome.
Rome greeted us with 30 degree plus temperatures and also luckily for us a translator in the form of my sister. First day we headed off to check out the race course. It is only a 25 min easy walk from the hotel to the club. Two hours later we managed to find the club, somewhat dehydrated, but we now know the area very well! We received a guided tour which was great. The portages were still being constructed but we could see that they would be a good challenge and great for the runners in the team. They made Mt Vic in Wellington look flat...
We were also on the hunt for somewhere to train. This did involve going past and through the Colosseum, Pathenon, etc along with numerous cafe's. This stage of the trip is not to be mistaken for 'sight seeing' though.
Our friend Google had told us of a place south of the city which might have kayaks and a small lake to train in Eur Palasport. There we found the Mariner Canoa Club. Sorren, Alexandro and the guys at the club have been great. We have had the use of some of their personal older boats and allowed to train anytime. The facility is a great paddling venue and has a great outdoor canoe polo area.
We can't wait to try out the course which opens Monday. Glenn, Andi and myself are racing Wednesday with Adam doing the double (K1 and K2) next weekend.
Off for more espresso's and 'training' down town....
Paul and Adam 'training' in Rome
That's more like it!
Announcement - NZ Marathon team heads to Rome
A small New Zealand Canoe Marathon Team heads to Rome this week to compete at the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships. The team consists of Andrea Bunn, Paul Randall and Adam Fraser (all from Waitara Kayak Club in Taranaki.... I wonder what they're feeding them in the Naki !?) and Glenn Muirhead (Mana Kayak Racing Club in Wellington).
Whilst Glenn is an old hand at this - winning bronze in the 40-45 age group in Singapore last year (photo), the others are new to the New Zealand team, although Andrea has, in her former life, represented Great Britain.
The trip is self-funded with some generous support from the Podium Sports Foundation in Auckland who very kindly donated $10,000 towards the airfares - a great help to this small team who all have families at home to support and who would have struggled to meet the costs required otherwise.
We'll keep you updated here with news and results as they come to hand, or follow us on facebook www.facebook.com/canoeracing