40 paddlers took part in the first ever Erne Paddlers Marathon Race with took place on Lough Ernr on Sunday (18 September) including the current K1 and K2 champion Neil Flemming. This was a good turn out considering the windy weather that made the conditions tough for the paddlers while many of the local canoe club members were busy ensuring the event ran smoothly, meaning they were not able to compete.
The marathon started at the Round “O” before travelling up the the Killyhevlin straight and the returning with some of the local paddlers that did take part”enjoying” these extreme distances for a first time.
The long course K1 race was won by Celbridge Canoe Club’s Neil Flemming the current British K1 and K2 champion with Salmon Leap’s (Lexlip) Pedro Loppez a close second.
The K2 event was won by Kilcullen Canoe Club’s John Cahil and Dave McDonnell with Erne Paddlers’ father and son combination Gerry and Darragh Murphy second and Belfast Canoe Club’s Ben Dooley and Ray Sweetlove finishing third.
The Seakayak race was won by Bob Coulter of Belfast Canoe Club with Erne Paddlers’ Harry Harrington second and local man Julian Dunlop swapping his cycle shoes for a paddle to take third.
A special mention must go to Olivia Murphy from Kilcullen Canoe Club who completed the race five weeks after giving birth to her son.
Erne Paddler Gerry Murphy who helped organise and competed in the event reflected, “The feedback from all the competitors was that this was an excellently run event and they will all be back next year for an even bigger and better event. So, we will hope to build on this success. Anyone looking for information on Erne Paddlers can log on towww.ernepaddlers.org.uk. A special thanks must go to Portora Boat club for providing safety launches. The club would also like to thank our sponsors; P McNulty and Sons, Robert Dickie and Sons, North South Marine and Leisure, Nature’s Choice, The Devenish Bar, Dollakis Restaurant and Corralea Activity Centre.”