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Injury sees Kime, Mbanjwa making up for lost time
- Updated: December 23, 2013
They might both be former winners of the Dusi Canoe marathon, but the crew of Lance Kime and Thulani Mbanjwa have found themselves playing catch-up following an unfortunate knee injury to Kime that has hampered their running preparations futile for a vital period of their build-up campaign recently.
Kime, who claimed a dramatic victory in 2013’s K1 edition of the iconic race from Camps Drift in Pietermaritzburg to Blue Lagoon in Durban, sustained the injury when he crashed off a motor bike shortly after completing one of the local KZN river season races.
ÔÇ£Lance’s injury has meant we haven’t been able to run for a few weeks,ÔÇØ explained Mbanjwa. ÔÇ£He also had to head back to Stellenbosch for varsity after Ozzie Gladwin so 50 Miler was the first real time we’ve spent together recently.
ÔÇ£Since then we’ve had a few sessions together and our main issue is that we’re still not sitting straight but we’re working on it and trying to fix it as quickly as possible,ÔÇØ he added.
Despite the setback, the pair, pictured right, are happy with their progress and feel they are on track to compete with fellow title hopefuls Andy Birkett and Sbonelo Zondi as well as Hank McGregor and Jasper Mock├®.
ÔÇ£50 Miler was good for us,ÔÇØ said Kime. ÔÇ£It was good to work on things a little more. Seeing that our lean was there at Fish and Ozzie Gladwin and then still their at 50 Miler also made us wake up to the fact that this is our most pressing issue so we’ve worked on it almost every session we’ve done recently.
ÔÇ£Looking at things coming into the season and how the races have gone so far then I’d definitely say Andy and Sbonelo and Hank and Jasper are our two main competitors.
ÔÇ£They’ve both been quite a bit stronger than us so far. I’d say Hank and Jasper are the best paddling crew and Andy and Sbonelo the best running crew and we’re not too sure exactly where we fit in just yet.
ÔÇ£There is still a lot of work to be done before Dusi though so hopefully come race day we’ll be right up there too.ÔÇØ
With each crew offering a different set of strengths and weaknesses only a brave man would predict at this early stage who will succeed in their title efforts.
Even though the race may be primarily a paddling affair, Mbanjwa believes the three will be separated on the portages.
ÔÇ£Running is obviously a major factor. The strongest guys are those who can run the best and make the fewest mistakes,ÔÇØ said Mbanjwa, the first ever black paddler to win the iconic race when he claimed victory with Martin Dreyer in 2008. ÔÇØIn my opinion all three crews’ paddling will be very similar come the Dusi and it will be the running side of things that separates everyone.
ÔÇ£Making as few mistakes as possible is also crucial. Look at Lance (Kime) this year, he won the Dusi because he only made one small mistake in three days. Hank (McGregor) too and he finished second!
ÔÇ£It will be important to try keep things as consistent as possible for the three days if we want to hae a chance of winning,ÔÇØ he added.
Apart from the two other ‘big three’ title hopefuls, Kime believes there may be one or two others that crawl out of the woodwork a little closer to race day.
ÔÇ£We saw just how strong Cam (Schoeman) and Jakub (Adam) were at 50 Miler. We still have to see how well they’ll run,ÔÇØ said Kime.
ÔÇ£We also haven’t seen any of the running crews and, especially with day one being pretty much a running day, they may well be a factor. Guys like Kwanda (Mhlope) and Zonele (Nzuza) I’m sure will be right up there on the run.
With lots of uncertainty and plenty of time still to run its course, Mbanjwa was unwilling to make any early predictions however one thing he was certain of was his and Kime’s goal. ÔÇ£We want to win the Dusi,ÔÇØ he said unflinchingly.
ÔÇ£Andy and Sbonelo are going really well at the moment. They’re paddling well and running even better and are definitely the boat to beat at this stage but without a doubt they are beatable!
ÔÇ£It will be a tough race to win but we will do everything we can to be right up there in February!ÔÇØ he added.