Letter from the Chairman
Dear Paddlers and Paddling Community,
We, the Fish River Canoe Marathon organisers have had numerous meetings and it was unanimously decided that the Fish River Canoe Marathon event, scheduled for 25 & 26 September 2020, would be cancelled amid the COVID-19 pandemic and the global spread of the coronavirus.
Just as many of you, we as the Fish Canoe Marathon organisers face hard, challenging and uncertain times ahead trying to deal with the Covid-19 Lockdown and its effects.
Although South Africa is currently operational under level 3, there is no indication when mass participation events and functions will be able to start nor what the protocols will be. With the Fish Canoe Marathon taking place in just over three months, it is a touch and go situation for hosting the event in September.
We’ve also had numerous meetings and discussions with affected parties, trying to take in all the known and unknown factors to determine our way forward. We strongly believe our solution is the one that benefits our paddlers the most.
Please see the below factors we have had to consider in our decision making process:
1. Cross-provincial travel restrictions – This might potentially ease during lockdown level two but the status of ‘Hotspots’ can fluctuate and prevent travelling between provinces any time during Lockdown.
2. Level three regulations and restrictions are also changing on a daily basis.
3. Things are changing rapidly, locally and internationally regarding lockdown regulations, treatments, and possible cures.
4. Mass participation events will only be allowed to take place under lockdown Level 0 and we are unsure how long we will be in the various levels nor when Level 0 will happen.
5. Uncertainty of when supporting businesses can operate normally, such as accommodation establishments, restaurants etc. This has a huge impact on our event.
6. Paddler training consideration – we want to give our paddlers fair time to prepare for the event. Lockdown restrictions have made this challenging and we understand this.
7. Due to the Covid-19 Restrictions we were unable to secure the necessary infrastructure to host a successful event.
8. Uncertainty about the number of entrants and the School & Varsity holidays, has made planning, both financially and practically, almost impossible. Thus, taking the above reasons into consideration, and adopting a risk-averse approach we have decided to cancel the Fish Canoe Marathon 2020.
However, IF the opportunity presents itself later in the year, we will organize a “Social Fish”. The possible plan being to start Day One at Prospect and finish at Baroda. Day Two from Knutsford to Cradock, finishing at the Cradock Canoe Club.
Time keeping would still be in place and safety at all the necessary places along the river will be priority. The reason for a shorter “Fish”, specifically on Day One, is that river cleaning is a costly exercise and needs to be done at a specific time of the year. Due to lockdown restrictions it was not possible to do this effectively, therefore putting our paddlers at risk!
We sincerely hope that you understand this was not a decision we wanted to make, but, we are forced to comply with the Restrictions regulated by our Government.
Yours in Paddling
Chairperson: Fish Canoe Marathon Committee