With heavy rain, sodden ground, overflowing rivers and high winds for the two weeks preceding Thameside 1 this year, it was exceedingly touch and go whether the race could go ahead. In fact, on the Tuesday before it, Race Coordinator Dan Seaford did a race inspection and found parts of the towpath under more than a metre of water.
Still Dan had faith and by Saturday, the weather and the water levels had dropped significantly. So, with special measures in place and only experienced, competent paddlers permitted to partake, the race went ahead.
It was a tight ship on organisation, very well run. Thanks Dan. Participants were understandably down, but still there were entries from 28 K1s and 29 K2s. Harry Freeland from RCC took 1st in JMK1, his dad Jeremy was 3rd in VMK1, while among the K2s Erika and Nigel were 3rd in Mix K2 and Bethan with FOX paddler Anna was 2nd in SLK2.
Thanks to all the volunteers who risked the wild weather to man the course and the whole RCC team for making it happen.
Our brilliant coach, ‘Brian the Legend’, competed at the World Masters Championships this August. He entered the Masters 65-69 years and, with a start line of 23 competitors from 16 countries, won it. That adds yet another title to his huge haul. Many congratulations, Brian, you truly are a legend.
1080 boats from 55 clubs gathered prom side on 21st July for a National Marathon Championship of a lifetime. Glorious blue skies simply added to the occasion. It was an amazing weekend and supremely organized by a small team at the club, headed up by Amber and Paul. Main team players were Immi, Kat, Jim, Jo, Evan and Brian, with considerable support from Stefan and Dan in the last week. It was a formidable team that ensured that the event ran seamlessly and calmly. Smiles all round from their team of 85 volunteers and all the competitors and supporters.
Reading put out an impressive team of boats – 29 K1s and 29 K2s – bagging 6 medals and an amazing 3rd overall in team points, well in front of Wey and Richmond and only behind Nottingham and Norwich.
Top podium position for Reading was, of course, Brian with his Gold for O64 VMK1. Last minute entry Noel with Ethan Hunt gained a Silver in U10 hody. Bronzes went to Catherine Gaffard in K1 and in K2s a Bronze to Dan S and Stefan, Brian and Dave S, and Fran and Manon (ADS).
The largest event of the day was, unsurprisingly, the Mixed K2. That is a formidable event – for spectators watching the crazy start and for paddlers daring to enter it! 81 boats in total entered – a record … just try to imagine the wash at the back of that!
Jo Shephard did an amazing job in the catering tent – serving 1760 portions of paddler food, plus 350 burgers, 160 sausages, 20kg of bacon for the butties and endless cups of teas, coffee, cakes and much more.
Great commentary ran throughout the weekend from Brett (you’ll have heard him at Nottingham sprints) Kat and a few others besides. A most successful weekend on all fronts – thank you Nationals Team and all the many club volunteers who helped to make it run so smoothly.
This was the first Reading Hasler for many years that chief man, Brian, was not at the helm, though he’d done a fair bit of the legwork before he’d left. Instead we had Amber and Paul Owen running the show, along with Evan and a team of ever-willing volunteers.
Despite threats of torrential rain and, more worrying, lightning and thunder, none materialised and it was a hot day. We had 161 K1 entries, including 15 lightnings, and 48 K2s from a total of 31 clubs. Those clubs spanned the country from Pennines up north to Swansea west and Norwich to the east.
There was some great racing, close finishes and ten podium places for RCC. Great point scoring from all, particularly our juniors. Special mention to Noah for his first lightning race (20 points), Rory and Alex taking 1st and 2nd Div4 K1, Peter Skinner taking 2nd and Charlie 4th in U12s. In K2, Sam and Fran won 1st in Div 4 K2 and Thomas and Joseph took 1st in Div 6, winning a probable double promotion.
Seniors on the podium included Matt Clarke (3rd in Div6 K1), Kat and Rachel Fort (3rd in Div5 K2) with Nigel and Timi just behind them, and Chris B and Tant 3rd in Div 6 K2. The total tally of points gave Reading 2nd overall out of the 31 clubs attending. Great RCC team work, Go Team Reading!
A big thank you to all volunteers for helping to make the day run very smoothly – an encouraging pre-cursor to the Nationals coming up soon in July.