Philip van Niekerk – ‘I swam in almost every rapid’

Phil vNiekerk Umko83

Hi Pete

Attached is a certificate that I received for finishing my one and only Umko in 1983. The race was from Hella Hella to Goodenoughs Weir.

In those days if you completed the 50 Miler, Dusi and Umko you were awarded a ‘triple’ badge. I still have mine somewhere.

I attempted the Umko in 1982 but did not finish, bailing on Day 1 at Josephines bridge. Day 1 was from Hella Hella to Riverside if my memory serves me correctly. The only canoeing experience that I had was my first Dusi that I had completed two months previously. I was inexperienced and should not have been allowed to start. The start was at 9am and I swam in the approaches to No 1 and then at almost every rapid until I got to Josephines after 3pm. I was told by some spectators/seconds there that I was only a third of the way so wisely decided to bail. I hitched a lift to Pinetown from where my wife picked me up, much to her surprise, that night. I was given lift by Megan Lowe, her husband Dave has gone on to do 40+ Comrades.

Regards – Phillip

Author: bewilderbeast

It's about life, marriage, raising kids, paddling rivers, travel in Africa . . . re-posting thoughts written over decades - at random, I'm afraid.

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