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Friday 23 June 2017

Rapid buzz for canoeists in Liffey race

Patricia McDonagh

THE rain was the least of their worries as almost a thousand brave canoeists took on the punishing currents of the Liffey in a half-century-old tradition.

Despite the terrible weather, canoes and kayaks of all shapes and sizes went through 17 miles of thundering waters on The Liffey Descent canoe marathon.

The crowds of athletes started at the K Club in Straffan, Co Kildare, and ended at Islandbridge's war memorial park, in the hope of clinching a prize.

Now in its 51st year, the dip remains one of the "must do" river canoe marathons in the world, and this year 830 people took part.

They had to negotiate their way around 10 boat-crunching weirs, swirling rapids and the infamous stretch of undergrowth called "The Jungle" on the way.

In the end, it was two men from New Zealand, Stephen Bird and Jesse Philips, who were victorious in the prestigious Mens K2 race.

"The guys flew in especially to participate in the race," said the chief executive of the Irish Canoe Union and organiser of the race, Michael Scanlon.

"Conditions were quite good for the race. It was raining in the morning but conditions overall weren't bad," he added.

Irish Independent

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