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Cam keeps his cool before 2013 Dusi Marathon

Former marathon world champ Cam Schoeman is happy to remain under the radar going into the 2013 The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon, which takes place on 14-16 February, despite a string of top results in recent weeks.

A host of impressive performances recently has made fellow top 10 contenders sit bolt upright and take notice, however the former sprint hopeful is adamant he is more than happy with sitting in the background and enjoy his paddling.

“To be very honest I’m not out there for anyone else but myself at the moment and because of this I’m so stress free when I’m paddling and am just so enjoying being back on a river again,” said Schoeman.

“Sprinting wasn’t working out for me and I can’t spend every minute of every day on the farm so with my love for paddling rivers it was great to be able to get back into things a little while ago.

“I consider my paddling as a jol and, even though I’m very competitive in everything I do and I’ll always be out there to do my best, I’m just having a hell of a lot of fun at the moment,” he added.

Despite his ‘paddling for pleasure’ type attitude it is this competitive nature which helped Schoeman achieve gold in the World Marathon Champs with Ant Stott a few years ago and is something he will battle to ignore come race day.

“I’m competitive in anything I do. It’s just how I am. Whether it be wake boarding at the dam or riding motor bikes with mates. I always am pushing to go faster, higher or further. That’s just what comes naturally to me,” said Schoeman.

“I guess that sort of approach is helping me a lot in races at the moment because I never give up and never stop enjoying myself out there.

“The 50 Miler was a good example of this. I swam at the very first rapid of the race, Mission Rapid, on day one and got stuck in Tops Needle early in day two yet still managed to get a fourth.

“It’s probably just comes down to pride for me. I love being able to take part in the sport I love doing and it’s always nice to do well as well,” he added.

It is this relentless determination that has seen some in the paddling fraternity relating to him as the “diesel engine” of the sport at the moment, as he consistently keep grinding away, always giving his all.

Despite his recent run of good form though Schoeman is adamant he isn’t a dark horse going into the 2013 Dusi and points rather too fellow former sprinters, Olympian Shaun Rubenstein and Nick Stubbs as two who could possibly take on this title.

“Ruby and Stubbs are two guys I would say are much more like dark horses for Dusi if they end up entering,” said Schoeman. “I wouldn’t quite put myself in that category though.

“I feel I’m paddling really well at the moment and I’m sure a couple guys are worried about me from a paddling point of view but not so much when it comes to running.

“I hate running, with or without the boat” he chuckled. “That’s why I’m really looking forward to the Drak Challenge next year, unfortunately for Dusi you can’t get away from it though so I’ll really try work hard on it in the upcoming races.”

With work demands requiring a lot of his time Schoeman prefers to see races as more of an opportunity to break his lonesome training regime and train with others around him than competing to win.

“With work I don’t get to train anywhere near as much as I did say when I won worlds. I predominantly train on my own when I can fit it in so to go out there and paddle with other guys at races is great.

“It can get pretty lonely on your own and you don’t quite know how you’re going so I’m definitely trying to take every opportunity to paddle against others in races.”

Regardless of Schoeman’s training schedule though, the results are on the board as far as recent races go and he will undoubtedly be in the mix come February next year, lying in wait to pounce on any opening some of his more favoured rivals give him.

“It’s nice to be able to go out there without the pressure that comes with others’ expectations and just enjoy yourself,” said Schoeman.

“Natal Canoe Club (NCC) have been good to me recently so it would obviously be great to be able to get a good result in their major event on the calendar but I’m basically just out there paddling for myself and for fun,” he added.

The Unlimited Dusi starts in Pietermaritzburg on 14 February and ends in Durban on 16 February.


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