THE 31st edition of the Hansa Fish Canoe Marathon will extend the race's run as the most popular event to host the national river marathon championships title decider next month.
The event, launched in Perseverance yesterday, will start at Grassridge Dam on October 5 and will finish at the Cradock Sports Complex the next day.
The race will host the SA K1 river championships for the 18th time since the first national river champs was awarded to the race in 1984.
The success of the Hansa Fish lies in a unique blend of guaranteed water releases, exciting rapids and weirs on the river, warm Klein Karoo hospitality and the festive vibe off the water.
On the water, the country's top marathoners have committed to being on the start line with several of the big guns, including world champion Hank McGregor and four times Hansa Fish K1 champion Len Jenkins jetting back from the marathon world championships in Rome a few days before the race.
Eastern Cape canoeing supporters are also excited about the prospect of Michele Eray making her return to the race after being laid low last year by a wrist injury.
The event will wrap up with another of its popular music concerts at the sports complex in Cradock, featuring Ashtray Electric and Lonehill Estate on the Friday night, and chart-toppers GoodLuck and Pascal & Pearce on the Saturday night.
"The Hansa Fish is the country's premier canoe marathon," SA Breweries' event manager, Riaan van Jaarsveld, said.
"It has all the special ingredients that make it a truly unique 'total experience' where the visitors to Cradock can enjoy the warmth of the local hospitality, race hard, and really enjoy themselves off the water."