Mount Edgecombe resident crowned Berg canoe marathon winner

MOUNT Edgecombe resident Jenna Nisbet won her second Berg River Canoe Marathon title on Saturday.

Nisbet was the dominant force in the women’s race throughout the four days, keeping defending champion Nikki Birkett at bay on a final stage in the women’s race.

“It wasn’t as easy as I thought it was going to be,” said the Virginia Preparatory School educator, who is using the race as part of her preparations for the World Marathon Championships in Portugal at the end of September.

“When I started, my body didn’t respond as I had hoped, and it took me a while to get going. I just had to stay with Nikki (Birkett) today, and she was so strong and pulled most of the way. What was going through my mind was that if I did get dropped, she could make up time very easily, so my main goal was not to get dropped.”

“I certainly couldn’t have done it without Hank [McGregor],” she added. “He has been absolutely incredible with training and tripping, advice during the race and even lending me his boat,” she said.

Nisbet’s 16th-place finish is also a new mark for the best overall result for a female paddler.

In the men’s race, KZN North-Coast paddler, Hank McGregor, rewrote the record books by bagging a 12th Berg River title.

“When I was a kid, I never imagined winning a Berg,” he said. “To win my first one was something special. I am over the moon to win twelve now.”