The annual Kilcullen Canoe Club National Marathon ranking race found itself as the first race in the 12 race series this year. It was held on the river Barrow in Athy as low water levels on the Liffey were not conducive to the traditional course from Ballymore Eustace to Kilcullen.
77 brave paddlers took to the water from clubs around the country including Salmon Leap in Leixlip, Celbridge Paddlers, Thomastown Paddlers in Kilkenny, White Water Canoe Club in Dublin and Phoenix Kayak Club in Cork. Conditions were challenging for paddlers.
A difficult head wind with 2-3 foot waves in sections made it a real battle from start to finish. The harsh cold wind was felt amongst all competitors and posed its own challenge and regardless of strategies across the different divisions, the real achievement was finishing in the fastest time possible without any dips in the bitterly cold water. Kilcullen Canoe Club was well represented across many of the divisions with many members placing well.
David McDonnell was 1st in Mens K1 Div 3, Lar O’Brien was 2nd in Mens K1 Div 4.
Maria Wilmott and Olivia Murphy finshed 1st and 2nd respectively in Womens K1 Div 4.
Ronan Foley did extremely well to win his 1st marathon race in the Junior K1 Div 5 with Joe Brown also perferming well to finish 3rd.
It was a clean sweep for the club’s women GP paddlers with Mary Fitzgerald, Alison Miley and Debbie McHugh 1st,2nd and 3rd.
In the Men’s GP class the ever improving Paddy Fitzgerald defied the odds to finish 2nd. In the Boy’s Under 15 GP class Scott Dignam finished a fine 3rd. Last but not least young Donnacha Farrell showed his might to win the Novice race over 3kms. Well done to all those who participated and it’s on to Bennettsbridge on the river Nore for race 2 in the series.
For more information on Kilcullen Canoe Club, check out www.kilcullencanoeclub.com, Facebook and Flickr (Kilcullen Canoe Club) or contact Diane by email to firstname.lastname@example.org