The 19th of April 2014 saw the 2nd ever North Esk River Race.
36 paddlers took to the water in 3 classes; Intermediate, Advanced and, for those who dared Ironman. In each class there could only be two winners, one male and one female.
The weather could not have been better with blazing sunshine all day and very little wind.
Despite low river levels the day was a great success and much fun was had.
The day started off bright an early in the beautiful morning sun at 9am with registration at the Burn Estate where people signed in and were given their race number and bib. After that there was a briefing for the Intermediate and Advanced classes and around 10:15am the bus and van started shuttling the competitors to the top started to the start.
The Intermediate Females were first with competitors leaving the start at two minute intervals beginning at 11am. The Intermediate course ran from the pool just above rock garden, down through rock garden and witches step and all the other smaller rapids to finish a short distance above Rocks of Solitude.
Kirsten Rendle dominated in this class and took first place with a time of 00:07:03, 43s faster than the next fastest female.
The Intermediate Males followed on from the females. Jonathan Riddle was first off and set the pace to beat however this was quickly smashed by Gareth Lake who fought of his rivals to take first place with a time of 00:06:37.
After a short break to move the finish line downstream to below Presidents corner, which added both Rocks of Solitude and Presidents Corner to the course the intermediate paddlers had just raced, the Advanced race got under way.
The Ladies were first down the course, With Texa Sim snatching the title from last years female winner Amy Kincaid by just 9s, with a time of 00:08:05.
The mornings racing concluded with the Advanced Mens race. By far the largest category with 25 paddlers competing in this class, there was some hot competition. Blood and Sweat were shed, with several bumps and scrapes and John Peden showing off his swimming skills in the latter rapids of the course. In the end there could only be one winner and this went to slalom paddler Stuart Gerrie who took the title from Leslie Simpson, last years winner with a time of 00:06:53.
With the mornings racing over the competitors who wished to compete in the Iron man race had half and hour to get some lunch before the shuttles to the start began. 19 paddlers dared to enter this gruelling 8.15km biathlon of paddling and running. The competitors were started at one minute intervals from the put in eddy and had to paddle all the way to Gannochy Bridge before running all the way back to the car park at the top.
There were some very fast times put down for both the mens and ladies classes. With Iryna Meduniak who came third in the Advanced race taking the ladies prize with a time of 00:54:48 and Mark Wielopolski who was fourth in the Advanced race taking the mens prize with a time of 00:49:06
With all the racing done all that was left was for the top 3 people in each class to receive their prizes which were kindly provided by our awesome sponsors; Mitchell Blades, Go Kayaking Scotland, ZET Advanced Boats, Rob Coles and System X.
I would also like to thank World Kayak for providing the insurance for the race, The Burn estate for allowing us to use their land for parking, Fire It Up for providing us with bibs and our Drivers, Timing Marshals and Safety team for all their help throughout the day.
I hope everyone had and fantastic day and I hope you will all make it to next years race which will be even bigger and more competitive.