Unlimited Dusi Marathon – Day 1


Four months of hard training have finally borne fruit on Day 1 of the Unlimited Dusi Marathon. 

It was quite something to second my Zulus as they were so tightly packed in the overall top 20 positions.  Eric Zondi had a phenomenal day, finishing 3rd.  Thomas Ngidi comfortably made the top 10 despite an early set back as he spun out at the first obstacle, the Ernie Pearce Weir.  He chased from behind and managed to get back into 7th by the end of the day.  Brothers Richard and Nhlanhla Cele reversed last year’s roles as Richard, through no fault of his own, paddled into Nhlanhla, tipped his own canoe and took an early swim.  Nhlanhla was taking no prisoners and shot off to eventually take a very creditable 9th position while his brother fought his way back up the field to 17th.   John Ngcobo was like a rock, maintaining an even keel and with his consistent pace followed Nhlanhla into 10th.

Then it was just a wave of back and orange – Kwanda, Nkosikayise, Zonele and Lucas in 12th, 13th, 14th and 15th positions – streaming across the line.  Two canoes later Mmeli Cele, an up and coming Change a Lifer, pipped Richard to the post for 16th.  His performance put him into the lead in the Under 18 Division, over 3 minutes ahead of the rest of his fields “big name” school kids.

I know it is only Day 1 and my Change a Lifers’ strongest day at that, but what a great position to be in. I see Lance Kime and Hank McGregor working hard at moving up but my guys won’t go down without a fight.

Ursula du Plooy, Executive Director of Computershare was really sorry that she wasn’t able to make it to the riverside this year.  “Watching from the banks of the river in previous years, I can see just how much it takes and what a monumental effort is needed to finish this tough race.  It just goes to show how dedicated to training our Change a Life paddlers are and how committed to excelling.”

As it turned out, the major casualty of the day was Jacques Marais, our photographer, who took an impromptu swim twenty minutes after the start – Jacques managed to struggle to the bank, but his camera wasn’t so lucky! 

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