South African paddling legend Hank McGregor made history when he notched up a record-breaking 10th win in the Berg River Canoe Marathon on Saturday.
A dominant McGregor won every one of the four stages in the 240km race from Paarl to Velddrif as well as the pre-race time-trial.
On the final stage, he surged into the front an hour from the finish, with just Andrew Birkett, Graeme Solomon and Czech Republic’s Jakub Adam able to follow.
With a kilometre to go, McGregor thanked his fellow paddlers for their company before outsprinting Birkett in a dream finish.
The latter took the runner-up spot, with Spain’s Kiko Vega third.
“To win one is something special, to win ten is something everyone only ever dreams of doing and I’m sure it will only really sink in in a couple of weeks,” said McGregor, who described it as the world’s toughest race.
“It’s quite a relief to make it through four long days without having any problems and then to get my tenth Berg win – I couldn’t be happier!”
In the women’s category, Bianca Beavitt claimed an uncontested maiden victory.
“Coming towards the finish line I just kept saying to myself, ‘Don’t cry, don’t cry!’ But it really is such an amazing feeling to be here and to win my first Berg title.”
Jane Swarbreck took advantage of a wrong turn by Robyn Henderson on the final stage to take second overall and relegate Henderson to third place.
McGregor and Birkett will now turn their attentions to the ICF Canoe Marathon World Championships in Hungary.
For more news see Berg River Canoe Marathon.