190 paddlers take to Banbury's canal for annual memorial race of local kayaker
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The 20-mile race is held annually in memory of Banbury and District Canoe Club member Ross, who sadly died of bone cancer at age 21 in 2000.
Great Britain and Chelmsford Canoe Club paddler James Russell broke the course record by two minutes with a time of 2:26:29 in the Senior Men’s K1 category.
Starting at the Banbury club’s base in Cropredy, participants have to race to Nell’s Bridge in Anyho and back while overcoming 12 portages.
Spokesperson for the Banbury and District Canoe Club, Sally Hartland, said: “This annual race is held in memory of Ross Warland and other young people who did not have the opportunity to reach their full potential in life.
"Ross was an active and popular member who first joined Banbury Canoe Club when he was eight years old. When he was no longer able to paddle, he devoted his time to coaching and training club members. His attitude and courage towards his illness was an inspiration to all those who met him.
Ross’s father, Graham, said: “He was just a driven, inspirational person who did his upmost not to let the disease get the better of him. Canoeing and the kindness of the people in the canoeing world gave him a great deal of motivation."
The food and drink on the day were provided in return for donations to The Bone Cancer Research Trust and raised almost £1,000 towards the charity.
As the race is a time trial, kayakers set off at intervals throughout the morning and started to return to Cropredy just after midday.
Many paddlers chose to do the full 20 miles in the K1s or K2s categories, while others shared the mileage by racing in relay teams and switching at the turn point at Anyho.
Banbury’s Joe Peterson was the local hero who claimed a second position in the K1 race by finishing just after elite racer James Russell.
For the full list of results, visit the Banbury and District Canoe Club website at https://www.banburycanoeclub.com/racing/bdcc-races/