26 January 2024

A mixed relay comprising of senior and junior paddlers is set to feature for the first time at this year’s International Canoe Federation Canoe Marathon World Cup in Brandenburg, Germany. 

The ICF Canoe Marathon Committee discussed the introduction of the innovative race as a demonstration event when they came together for a meeting on January 19 and 20 in Budapest, Hungary. 

The K1 four-lap relay is set to include teams featuring one senior male, one junior male, one senior female and one junior female. 

Under the plans being considered, each paddler will do a lap and a portage before handing over to their teammate.

Teams will be able to select paddlers in any order, meaning juniors from some countries could go up against seniors from other nations during the race.

The relay is scheduled to be tested in Brandenburg when it hosts the ICF Canoe Marathon World Cup on June 1 and 2, with a view to the race potentially being introduced at the World Championships in future.  

“Importantly, the relay should be tested at a World Cup race, and testing at a World Championships is not our preference,” said Ruud Heijselaar, Chair of the ICF Canoe Marathon Committee. 

“In any case, we hope that C boats can also be part of the relay, but the number of C paddlers and countries is low, which does not make it easy to organise relay races with them at the moment.

“We will try the relay at the World Cup in Brandenburg in June.

ICF Canoe Marathon Committee meeting in Budapest

“I want to test this over the next two years and then in 2026 we want to do it at the World Championships.

“This year we will start with senior men K1, junior men K1, senior women K1 and junior women K1 so four boats. 

“We are looking at how we can do it in a safe way as it could be quite dangerous with the changing of the boats on the portage.

“It will be one lap, one portage and then change.

“That is the first test and then maybe next time we will do it differently. 

“If you never test, you never know.

“The idea is to mix with the junior and the seniors as it is good for the team atmosphere.” 

The two-day meeting was hosted by the Hungarian Canoe Federation. 

The ICF Canoe Marathon Committee also discussed the possibility of reducing the length of the long-lap distance races from 3.6k to 3k and potentially even shorter at the World Championships in 2025  

“In my opinion, we have to make the race more interesting for the audience so there needs to be less time between each portage,” said Mr Heijselaar. 

Other topics discussed at the meeting included the selection of International Technical Officials for the World Championships and World Cups, the future strategy for Canoe Marathon, the qualification rules for The World Games 2025 in Chengdu, China and the results of a surveys on the 2023 ICF Masters Canoe Marathon World Championships and team leaders in Vejen, Denmark as well as plans for Paracanoe Marathon.  

“For the para events that have been paddled as demonstration races at World Championships for two years, the rules for both marathon and para are now being adjusted to make it a ‘real World Championships’ in 2025,” added Mr Heijselaar. 

“This is what we as marathon are striving for, so we are giving para athletes who like to paddle long distances the chance to compete in marathon events and win a medal at a World Championships.”

Recap of the 2023 ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships

Canoe Marathon