|Entering a Marathon Race|
So you are ready for your first marathon race. You’ve done all of the training, you’ve done the practise, what do you do next? Races are run to be as friendly as possible but you can do your bit to try to make the process as easy as possible.
Before the race starts it is a good idea to look at the racing standards chart (in the sprint section of the racing handbook under section D1) where you will be able to work out which division you should be in rather than starting in division 9. For example, if you can cover 1000m in under 5 minutes and 30 seconds you should be in division 6.
You then need to select a marathon event. Hasler racing is organised on a regional basis so you should have up to ten races a year within your locality. Hasler racing is set up so that novice paddlers come into the sport and race over 6.5km in a safe environment without any portages. Portaging involves paddlers getting out of their boats, running a short distance with the boat (originally to get over lock gates in canals) and getting back onto the water. All paddlers ranked below division 7 must wear a buoyancy aid.
For juniors under 12 years old there are 4 Lightning classes where they race over a course of around 2000m in the same design of boat. Some events may also organise mini K2 and Rocket K4 races as well. Juniors can race in Division 9 or Lightnings at the same time to allow for their development but once promoted above division 9 they are deemed to be competent racers and may not race in the Lightning classes.
The race organiser should post their race entry details on the Marathon racing website (www.marathon-canoeing.org.uk) and distribute to local clubs. Any special requirements, start times and costs will be detailed here. It is usually cheaper to enter a race in advance and can make the race organisers’ life easier so that they can concentrate on organising a quality experience.
When you get to the race you need to look for the booking-in desk, check your entry, take a note of your race number and then look for the course map. Ask around for people to explain the course to you if it does not seem clear. It is important to make sure that your race number is written clearly on specially designed race number plates and attached securely to the back of your boat. If the organisers can’t read your race number at the finish your time may not be recorded or you may not score points for your club.
There will be a race briefing around half an hour before the start after which time make your way to the start. Warm up but stay upstream of the start line. Normally races will begin in the morning for the lower divisions starting with the fastest first.
When you finish the race, clear the finish line and stay upstream. Once cooled down get off at the allotted place and collect your racer’s refreshments before finding the results. When races are held at locations where power is available then results, promotions and demotions should be available on the day for the K1 races. You can also be promoted or demoted by racing in K2 but these are advised to clubs as soon as possible after each race. If results are not available, they will be posted on the internet both on the club’s and the Marathon website as soon as possible.
Now you start the process again, ready for your next race.
Canoe England South Development Officer