Oct 10th saw the Canoe Marathon Ireland K2 Championships. All races were over 5km (2 X 2.5k laps) on the lake at Salmon Leap Canoe club. The event was ran over 3 separate race starts to allow competitors take part in more than 1 race if they wish and also allow boats to be shared. Full race results at the bottom of the page
In Race1 we had the Junior races with 4 separate races going off together. U18 Boys, U18 Girls, U15 Boys & U15 Girls. This is the race Sean got photos of from the start. With 17 boats on the start line & plenty of paddlers in boats they were not used to the start was very entertaining with a few casualties. As the U18 boat of Ben Smith & Ruairi Bray lead out with the crew of Eavan O’Keeffe & Paul Donnellan closely tracking them, the calm lake was turned into a sea of waves. This played havoc with some of the crews in the mid field & closer to the back. The Durkan brothers were the 1st casualty of this, capsizing after about 70m closely followed by a 2nd capsize from the crew of Gael Caislean who teamed up with Sean Smyth who was one of the youngest competitors in the whole race. Both crews showed their resilience by making their way to the large island & getting back in their boats to complete the race. The next casualty was one of the favorites in the Boys U15 race as the boat of Connor Donnellan & Luca Clancy lost control of their steering as the ruder came loose & fell of the boat. Overall there was some very competitive racing with the lead 2 crews of the U18 Boys race staying together most of the way before O’Keeffe/Donnellan pulled away to take the win. The Salmon Leap crew of Naoise Finn & Kate O’Halloran took the U18 girls title. In the U15 Girls race Emma Earls & Emily Roche who both only started paddling during the pandemic done brilliant to take the win while Joshua Groen & Aidan Entriaglo Bayon took the U15 Boys. Overall a fantastic race
Race2 was the Senior race with Men’s, Women’s, Masters (Over 39) & Mixed races. In the Senior Men the Neil Flemming & David Buggy of Celbridge Paddlers took the win after getting beached in the shallows 500m in . They wound back in the lead crews to over take everyone & get the W. Junior paddler Eavan O’Keeffe teamed up with Alex O’Brien for the sliver. The Women’s saw another Senior/Junior crew as Salmon Leaps Karen Caffrey & Jennifer Guest teamed up to take the win. In the Masters race Salmon Leaps Dermot Hudson & Andrew Boland took a great win, competing with the top Senior crews & being 2nd boat home overall. In the Mixed race the Father/daughter crew of Deaglan & Eabha O’Drisceoil powering home for the win
Race 3 was the highlight race of the day with more than 20 boats n the start line. There were 2 classes racing. Junior mixed K2 & the novelty but hugely successful mixed ability race. The mixed ability race is aimed at teaming experienced racers with newer paddler to allow for fair racing with unpredictable results. The goal is for the lesser experienced paddlers to gain experience & feel what it is like to be involved in serious group racing under the guidance of an experienced eye. The rule was that the sum of the divisions paddlers usually race in during the Marathon ranking season must add up to 7 or greater. It contained crews made up of International paddlers, some of whom have medal at World Championship level, mixed with junior paddler with very little experience & some as young as 8 years old. The startline was a site to behold as 20+ boats took off together. In the Mixed race Eavan O’Keeffe of Celbridge Paddlers made it 3 podiums & 2 championships out of 3 races while he paired with Eabha Ni Drisceoil of Salmon Leap who was taking her 2nd title. They were followed home by 2 Salmon Leap crews of Kate O’Halloran & Paul Donnellan in 2nd & Ben Smith & Niamh Caffrey in Bronze. The Mixed ability saw a young crew from Salmon Leap of Ben Higgins (Div2) & Sean Smyth (Div7) power home, dominating the field by more than a minute. This is the joy of this race. The winner could not be predicted & this crew just meshed together beautifully. The whole way through the field there was plenty of good racing, lots of lessons learned & most importantly lots of tired but smiling paddlers getting off the water.