“Umpetha”, iSiZulu for “Champion”, is a fitting term for the first seeding race of the iconic Dusi Canoe Marathon as many champions – past, current and future – take to the start line of this race from Camps Drift to Bishopstowe Hall annually.
Organised, administered and run by the development arm of Natal Canoe Club, the event was first born in 2012, originally known as the ‘NCC Development Race’.
A sound first edition – won by Len Jenkins Jnr. and Abby Adie respectively – was hotly followed by a hugely successful 2013 staging that saw the event go on to be voted the ‘One Day Race of the Year’ at the 2013/14 KNCU Annual Awards evening.
The race’s 2014 edition saw the now popular event establish a new identity and with it, a new name as it transitioned from the ‘NCC Development Race’ into the ‘Umpetha Challenge’.
In 2015 the race shifted slightly on the calendar, moving back from October to early November as organisers looked to create heightened synergy between the event and the greater pre-Dusi paddling season.