Three generations of Perrows set for Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon

As the entry for the 2018 Hansa Fish River Canoe Marathon nudges closer to the 1000 paddler mark, the social aspect of the race has been brought into sharp focus by another entry from the Perrow family that spans three generations.

Since he quit serious racing in 2000, Mark Perrow, who won the Fish in 1988 with Graham Monteith, has taken friends and family down popular races like the Fish, Dusi and Drak Challenge.

This year he has entered a K3 made up of his youngest daughter Kate and his 76 year-old father-in-law Brian Kurz.

“For my kids it is a rite of passage,” says Perrow. “They have to do two Dusi and two Fish with me, then they can go and do whatever they want.”

“My father in law might be able to do a Fish on his own, but with a hell of a lot of swimming! So it is brilliant to be able to take them down a Fish. It’s the fourth year in a row that I have done the Fish in a three-generation family K3.

“I guess I am re-investing in the sport,” he added.

“It is absolutely fantastic to be able to share the experience with family. I have done two with my father in law and oldest daughter Alice, and this year will be the second with Kate.”

The shift in focus has made the transition from his competitive years, where he had a reputation as a fiercely combatant athlete, to a more recreational paddler a lot easier. Not that this has entirely extinguished his competitive flame.

“Look, I am not super fit,” he conceded. “We go as hard as we can, but the focus is on enjoyment.

“For us it is more a journey than a destination,” he added.

The Perrow three-generation K3 entry is part of the swelling majority of paddlers from all corners of the country that converge on Cradock every October to share the social spirit and adventure on the Fish River.

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