Talk about a virtual wake.
The first week of the International Canoe Federation’s 5-kilometer virtual paddle challenge has come to an end, attracting competitors from around the world paddling in a variety of craft and in a wide range of environments.
Who was the virtual champ during week one? Hungarian canoe marathon world champion Sara Mihalik posted the fastest time over five kilometers in the first week, recording 17 minutes and 23 seconds in a kayak on a local waterway. Mihalik won K2 gold at the 2017 marathon world championships and finished second in the K1 at the 2018 world titles.
But the event also attracted stand up paddlers, canoeists, and people on ergometers who are not yet able to venture outdoors because of Covid-19 restrictions.
The ICF is thrilled with the response to the challenge so far and is urging other paddlers around the world to join in.
There youngest competitors in week one were 13-years-old, while the oldest were 73. More than 25% were women.
There were paddlers on rivers, lakes, oceans, creeks and on indoor ergos all over the world, including Brazil, USA, Bermuda, the Canary Islands, Australia, New Zealand, Europe and South Africa.
The 5k challenge is open to paddlers of any level all over the world. The ICF is urging all participants to follow local safety instructions and to paddle only where it is legal to do so.
The challenge is also raising money and awareness for Doctors Without Borders (MSF), who are on the frontline of the fight against covid-19 around the world. All entrants are being asked to make a donation if possible. All donors will be entered in a weekly prize draw. Australia’s canoe marathon, SUP and canoe sprint athlete Reka Abraham was the winner of the Braca paddle for week one.
Each week an updated leaderboard will be published, and prizes will be given away. All the competition rules and the entry form can be found here.
Yukon Pretend Quest.
In other virtual racing news, the Yukon River Quest has also joined the cyber fun with its Yukon Pretend Quest.
Even though the 2020 Yukon River Quest has been cancelled due to COVID-19, a virtual race on the Yukon River will occur this summer for paddlers worldwide who are unable to experience the “race to the midnight sun.”
Peter Coates, president of the Yukon River Marathon Paddling Association and designer of the race tracking software used by the YRQ, developed both the Yukon Pretend Quest from Whitehorse to Dawson City, and a Yukon Pretend Half Quest from Whitehorse to Carmacks.
“You get to paddle against other people while maintaining social distancing, and then some,” Coates said in his race instructions. “You will be paddling against people who might be on the other side of the world.”
Using GPS coordinates by registered teams paddling anywhere over a four-day period, and then applying them to the Yukon River race tracker, Coates will be able to track the teams based on their paddling times.
Teams actually will only have to paddle half of those usual distances (352 km for the YPQ and 150 km for the YPHQ) and those distances will be multiplied by 2 when applied to the Yukon River map.
Registration fees are $35 for the full race and $20 for the half race. For more details, see the instructions link: https://www.yukonriverquest.ca/yrq/app/virtual/guide.php?race=20ypq