Last weekend the National Kayak Marathon Championships were held at Salmon Leap Canoe Club in Leixlip.
As part of the club’s 50th anniversary a number of world class competitors we are invited to the event.
Ben Brown the current World K1 Kayak champion, a member of the Elembridge Canoe Club, Jonathon Simmons and Mark Childerstone from Wey Canoe Club (bronze medalists from the recent World Cup race in Rome), Rene Olesen from Denmark who is currrently ranked number six in the world.
Worcester Canoe Club and Chester Canoe Club also had competitors in the championships.
Saturday was the K1 individual championships and the senior race was a going to be hotly contested over 20K(5 laps)
And so it was from the off six boats immediately formed the leading group, Brown, Simmons, Childerstone, Olesen, Fleming (CPCC), Egan (SLCC) and Brennan (SLCC).
However,this group was down to four boats after lap one with Egan and Olesen and Brennan have been detatched from the leading group.
This leading group of four were now pulling away from the rest of the field.
On the portages Neil Fleming from CPCC was certainly showing that he was going to put it up to the world champion Brown matching him both on the water and the portages.
The chasing group of four which included Olesen, Egan, Hendron and Brennan were working hard to try to stay in touch.
The break in the leading group came in leap four with Brown and Fleming making the decisive break from Simmons and Childerstone and this is how the race was to finish with Brown out sprinting Fleming by the narrowest of margins to win what was the best K1 race seen in Ireland for many years with Childerstone taking third place.
In the other K1 classes Jenny Egan won the women’s race.
In the junior men’s catagories there were fine performances from M Fitzpatrick (CPCC), Ivor MacGiollaphadraig, Sean McCarthy, Adam Kenny, Jack O’Hagan and Jack Serry.
The veterans race was won by Gary Mawer.
The cadets fun race saw 24 very young competitors with an average age of twelve, some them competing for the first time do a 2.5km course with Kate McCarthy Mark Slattery and Brian O’Neill in first, second and third respectively.
Sunday was the Doubles Kayak Championships and there was great anticipation of more hotly contested races and the the large crowd were not disapointed.
The course was the same as Saturday five laps and four portages.
The senior K2 race was eagerly awaited with the partnerships of Brown-Olesen, Simmons-Childerstone and the home crew of Fleming-Egan. A fast race was certainly on the cards.
Straight from the off Egan-Fleming made their intentions known and almost immediately this group of three broke away from the rest of the field
With no other crew in contention these three boats set a blistering pace leaving the chasing boats in their wake.
A game of cat and mouse prevailed for almost the whole race between them and it all came down to sprint finish. Brown and Olesen going from about 200 metres out from the finish but Egan-Fleming went neck and neck with them just to be pipped on the line by less than a second with Simmons-Childerstone a further second back in third position.
Again another world class race at these championships.
Salmon Leap Canoe Club presented a commerative medal to all overseas competitors to mark the 50th anniversay of the club.
Full results (National Championships awarded to Irish competitors only) Senior men’s K1 - 1, N Fleming (Celbridge Paddlers Canoe Club); 2, RHendron (Richmond Canoe Club); 3, T Brennan (Salmon Leap Canoe Club).
Senior women - 1, Jenny Egan (SLCC).
Under 15 Boys - 1, J O’Hagan (SLCC); 2, A Kenny (SLCC); 3, J Seery (SLCC).
Under 18 Boys - 1, M Fitzpatrick (CPCC); 2, I MacGiollaphadraig (SLCC); 3, S McCarthy (SLCC).
Veteran K1 - 1, G Mawer (SLCC); 2, D O’Drisceoil (SLCC); 3, M Banks (SLCC).
Senior K2 - 1, P Egan (SLCC)/N Fleming (CPCC); 2, G Mawer (SLCC)/M Doyle(ICU); 3, R Hendron (ICU)/D Hudson (SLCC).
Veteran K2 - 1, M Banks/M Burke (both SLCC); 2, F Cooper (Contrast)/H De Raemaker (SLCC); 3, J Kenny/V Martin (both WWKC).
Junior K2 (long course) - 1, S McCarthy/B O’Casside (both SLCC); 2, I MacGiollaphadraig (SLCC)/A Forrestial (TPCC); 3, D Grimes/D Devanney (both SLCC).
Junior K2 (short course U15) - 1, J O’Hagen/F Devanney (both SLCC); 2, A Broderick/O Farrell (TPCC); 3, B O’Neill/M Slattery (both SLCC).
Junior Women’s K2 - 1, J Sweeney/K McCarthy (both SLCC); 2, M Claffey/L McGuiness (WWKC).
Veteran K2 (short course) - 1, P Connor (SLCC)/D Burns (Eniskillen Canoe Club); 2, H Watkins (SLCC)/N O’Connell (Kilcullen Canoe Club); 3, P Moroney/B O’Brien (both WWKC).
Senior Women K2 - 1, B Keating/M Barry (both SLCC); 2, M Wilwot (KCC)/C Broderick (TPCC); 3, L Krol/S Gaynor (both CPCC).