It doesn’t get more hard-core than the Non-Stop. The podium wannabes choose the shortest/quickest route from Maritzburg to Durbs, which means portaging 30km’s with their canoes and paddling 80km.

The only rule is: there are no rules (except getting past Finger Neck before 9:30am and Inanda Dam Wall by 3pm, these time cut-offs are only there to make sure paddlers get to the finish at Blue Lagoon before dark).

It is an amazing race to second as there are no seconding restrictions to where you can drive and the valley roads are free-for-all. Seconds too sign an indemnity that their paddler’s safety and wellbeing is their responsibility because there is no official safety from the organizers, eg. divers at Tops or Thombi, or watering stations.


The boys had a good sleep in the NCC club house and Parklanes Spar samp/beans/mince dinner packs and putu breakfast was a real treat.


The start gun fired at first light (5:30’ish). The top crews opted for the shortest route to get from the start to the bottom of Commercial Rd weir by portaging through Alexander Park. This disrespect (not resting) for the legs could have dire consequences later in the race. Piers & Bungi took out first, closely followed by the two ‘Change a life’ crews – Thomas Ngidi & Eric Zondi and school boys Zonele Nzuza & Nhlanhla Cele. In the singles, Lucas Mthalane tailed Mark Mulder as they hurtled down Earnie Pearce Weir.

A week ago Lucas had planned to second his friends racing doubles. I suggested that he take on the Non Stop in a single. “No way Martin, its too far, really I can’t do it”, he said.

So I took a different approach, “Do you realize that you could win R10 000 if you come first, that’s more than you earn the whole year. Don’t you the think the pain and suffering you might endure on that one day is worth it”. The next day Lucas phoned me – “I want to do it”.


The three doubles did the shorter Pine Tree portage instead of Campbells. Thomas and Eric stayed within 30sec of  Piers and Bungi all the way through Day 1 of the regular Dusi. It was here that Thomas’s mother miraculously appeared on the Yellow Rock portage and handed me five frozen 2l water bottles for seconding her boy. Iced water on your head is the best thing when you’re pushing hard. She had a huge group of supporters that ‘olulated’ wildly as they ran past.

This being Zonele & Nhlanhla’s first attempt at Non Stop, they wisely dropped off the pace to settle into their own rhythem. Still two days to go.

Thomas & Eric made a meal of Bell Rapid and had to stop to straighten their rudder. So at the takeout to the Marianney Foley portage, they were now 2min 30sec behind. However at the put-in, they reeled in 1min 30 sec on the lead crew. Running too fast down the tar road saw them struggle on the next portage – Ngumeni. Come Umfula Store (Silver Pipe) they were now 4min behind after 4hours of racing. Inanda Dam bridge – 6min behind. Inanda Dam wall (3rd day)– 8min 40sec behind. It was on this portage that Bungi was in trouble. Hobbling behind Piers, who had to take the double canoe on his own.

The chasing ‘change a life’ combo caught 2min 50sec going up Burma, now suddenly 5min 50sec behind. Absorbing this positive information, you could see the renewed determination in their faces and a spring in their step, they sniffed blood from the wounded crew ahead.

We sped off to outer Ring Road, a 40min paddle downstream, to wait patiently in the shade of the N2 bridge. A tired Piers & Bungi stopped briefly to get water from their seconds. Hot on their heels, only 3min 30 sec off the pace, Thomas & Eric paddled past. Nearing the finish line, when they could see it was impossible to close the gap, that real fatigue which had been cast aside from the excitement of the chase, now gripped their bodies.


Watching them paddle across the finish line, arms raised in victory of having conquered Non Stop, was special.

Zonelele & Nhlanhla claimed the third position on the podium. A journey well raced. 



Lucas passed Mark Mulder on Campbells bridge and was 3min ahead at the Guinea Fowl put-in. He stretched this lead to 3min 45sec at the Marianney-Foley put-in. Then the inexperience of having pushed too hard, too early, dug its claws into his weary limbs. From then on it was survival. Mark passed Lucas after Umfula store and stayed in the lead all the way to Blue Lagoon. Lucas managed to just hang on  to second place, barely 1min ahead of third and a couple of minutes ahead of fourth. Absolutely shattered, he was still the happiest man – mission successful, as he had managed to earn in prize money what he earns the entire year – R5000.  


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We are all excited to see what google’s new flagship phone brings us and what will be developed for it specifically

One Response to “NON-STOP DUSI….”

  • Liz Stapelberg:

    Martin I really do not have the words to describe the respect earned by these guys, it is awesome, well done again!!!

    I’m sure a hawk eye wll hover over them in coming years to see how they develop!!

    Great Stuff


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