Foyle’s Helen on course for her perfect season

Foyle Paddlers chairperson Enda Cummins presents Foyle member Helen Hughes with her winners medal after the recent Foyle race. 1006MW02
Foyle Paddlers chairperson Enda Cummins presents Foyle member Helen Hughes with her winners medal after the recent Foyle race. 1006MW02

FOYLE Paddlers member Helen Hughes remains on course to complete a remarkable unbeaten season after a superb victory in the Foyle Race at the weekend.

Helen has already won all four races in which she has competed. The former City of Derry rower romped home at the start of May in the Lagan Descent marathon race before completing a ‘double’ on the same day when she came in first in the Shaw’s Bridge Slalom and Shaw’s Bridge Sprint races.

The latest triumph saw the talented local lady not only win the ladies Sea Kayak race, but also come home quickest overall competitor overall in the male and female Plastic Sea Kayak category.

It was a remarkable achievement in a race that continues to grow from strength to strength and which has now been extended to three separate courses to cater for beginners to the more serious competitors. It’s not every sport which allows competitors aged from nine to 69 to compete in the same race.

The Short Race was held from Prehen to the Craigavon Bridge and back to the start position a distance of Prehen 1.2 miles. The Intermediate Race sees competitors leave Prehen for the new Peace Bridge before again returning to the start position, a distance of 2.1 miles. The Long Race follows a similar pattern with competitors having to reach the Foyle Bridge before returning, a distance of six miles.

Foyle Paddlers, who hosted the event, where well represented in the medals again this year. The most keenly fought event being the Long Course Single Kayak and Double Kayak categories.

In the singles, apart from Hughes’ victory, Foyle also had good performances from Liam Boyle, Alex watt and Noel Taylor whilst in the Doubles, Paul Strawbridge and John McLaughlin claimed victory for the third year in a row.

Competing in their first K2 event, Harvey Futcher and Brendan McElhinney had easily the quickest time of the day finishing in 1hr 04mins 30secs.

A mention should also be made of the junior paddlers, some competing in their first race, who performed brilliantly in the difficult conditions.

Training and club sessions continue every Wednesday at 6.00pm at Prehen. Anyone interested should come along or visit our website at www.foylepaddlersisfun.net