Friends take part in canoe race

Rob Kane and Matt Goodwin take part in the international canoe race EMN-150704-152557001
Rob Kane and Matt Goodwin take part in the international canoe race EMN-150704-152557001
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Two friends took part in an international canoe race on Saturday for a cause close to their hearts.

Rob Kane and Matt Goodwin, both originally from Oakham, lined up with more than 620 people at 7am for the Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Race.

In the early hours of Easter Sunday morning, they paddled over the finishing line downstream of Westminster Bridge, having paddled 125 miles through 77 locks, having taken 25 hours and 11 minutes.

They finished 73rd out of 118 finishers in the senior doubles section.

The Devizes to Westminster Canoe Race was started by scouts in 1948 and has taken place every year since.

The pair took on the incredible endurance challenge for 353, a charitable trust which raises funds in memory of Matt’s cousin Conrad Lewis, who was killed in Afghanistan. The trust provides support to members of the military community and their families, as well as contributing to charities such as The Paracharity, The Parachute Regiment, Afghanistan Trust, Nowzad dogs and Troop Aid.

After the race Matt, 28, who works as a teaching assistant at Oakham CE Primary, said: “I don’t know how we managed it but we wouldn’t have made it without our incredible support crew Dave Goodwin, Kate Goodwin, Graham Booth and Marcus Kelly.

“Thank you so much to everyone who gave us support on Facebook. It was great to hear the messages of support throughout the night.”

Challenges along the course include negotiating a 502 yard long tunnel at Savernake, including 56 locks where the kayak has to be carried around; paddling down the Thames in darkness; avoiding obstructions along the canal banks; steep and slippery banks; strong winds, weirs on the Thames; low temperatures at night and proximity to large vessels on the tidal stretches of the Thames. Added to these hazards are the inevitable blisters, tiredness and fatigue.

To find out more or to donate towards their efforts, visit mydonate.bt.com/fundraisers/mattg13.