The annual Frank Luzmore K2 race from Elmbridge Canoe Club to Richmond will not now take place on its usual course. Organisers Richmond Canoe Club have decided that flow on the Thames is too high to allow the race to be run and instead is planning an ‘out-and-back’ 10 mile (16 km) event on the Grand Union canal.
The note on the Richmond website says full details of the proposed new course will be published in the next day or so – some 54 crews are already entered.
It’s a shame but flow on the Thames is too high for some of the boats, some relative novices, who turn up each year. In 2012, Royal Canoe Club ran a replacement for the Luzmore event after Richmond decided not to stage the race. During this race there was even a capsize on the Men’s ‘A’ race start.
Meanwhile, there’s a healthy debate raging on the Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race page on Facebook – with many people speculating as to whether the event’s organisers would permit DW to run in the current conditions. It’s still some 3+ months till Easter and a lot can happen in that time. But if organisers of a race as short as the Luzmore K2 (just 13 miles) feel it unsafe to run, it is hard to see how DW organisers would feel they could still send paddlers down the course.
Of course, it’s not entirely their decision – all it really takes is a ruling from the Environment Agency that it’s not safe to run and that might be that.
This is not a new discussion – but what solutions are there? Reading Canoe Club has instituted a self-selection scheme for its Thameside races. Entrants have to look at conditions and confirm they’re able to meet a certain standard. It has its attractions – but for those who remember the late, lamented Exe Descent, how many people did we see every year who said they were capable but in reality were no such thing? Many…and most of them were being rescued by the organisers’ safety team.
Let us know what you think. Keen to hear your views – please email us.