When the seeded women’s K2 batch gets under way on the first day of the Fish River Canoe Marathon on Friday morning 8 October, the title contenders will be keeping a close eye on the new crew of Jordan Peek and Pippa McGregor, who have vowed to take on the 82 kilometres of fast flowing big water their own way.
Peek has come off a successful season that included runner-up finishes in the Dusi and Berg River marathons, while McGregor’s decision to start paddling competitively for the first time in 2021 has led to a string of remarkable results.
“We are not the fastest crew on flatwater. We know that. But the Fish is not flat,” said McGregor. “We have made sensible decisions on boat choice and we are really looking forward to the race.”
“Jordy is a great paddler in big water so we plan to use that as much as we can, and then just try to enjoy the experience as much as possible. I trust her driving completely and we click so well in the boat together.
“I am very picky about who I paddle with! I only go for the best,” she quipped about her success paddling results from races with her husband Hank and Hamish Lovemore in recent months.
The decision to paddle together was hatched after the MyLife Dusi in March, and they have cut their teeth as a combination in races on the Upper uMngeni and a number of KZN surfski races.
“We have spent so much time together, both training and racing, and just getting to know each other, which has been great,” said McGregor.
Their race strategy will hinge on success and speed in the many big rapids and weirs on the race, and they are clear that they will be one of the handful of women’s crews determined to shoot the big Keith’s Flyover rapid ten kilometres into the race.
While her husband Hank McGregor winds his way home from the World Marathon Championships in Romania Pippa will join Jordan on a road trip to Cradock that will allow plenty of time for tripping the river and some fun time camping in Cradock.
After supporting her husband while she raised their two boys, Pippa set her sights on competitive paddling in 2021 largely out of frustration.
“I love to run the Comrades and when that was cancelled I asked Hank if I should take my paddling seriously and he really encouraged me. From there everything happened organically,” said McGregor.
“Much like the Comrades I think I enjoy the build-up to the race as much as the race itself, and the build-up to the Fish has been fantastic,” she said.