2020 Ruahine Kayaks Rangitikei River Race


A solid field and a beaut day in the Rangitikei made for a great day at the river for the 21st birthday of the Ruahine Kayaks sponsored Rangitikei River Race hosted by the Palmerston North Canoe Club.

A field of 76 racers took to the 50km course, without much rain in the lead up the river was flowing at about a normal summer flow, not too different to 2019. A top quality field hit the water with two past coast to coast champs in the men’s categories, along with some of NZ’s most competitive female multisport athletes and paddlers.

Ex Palmy canoe club member Daniel Busch (vet men) took line honours in 3:12:40 ahead of second place overall Sam Clark (fastest open male) 3:15:25. Top NZ U23 Ocean ski paddler Toby Brookes was 3rd (3:23:00) and 2004 Coast to Coast winner George Christison (3:34:00 vet men) rounded out the top four. Clark lead for the first half of the race with Busch taking the lead before Ohingaiti, mention goes also to Peter O’ Sullivan who started the Rangitikei River Race 20 years ago, still paddling strongly to take out the win in the Classic Men’s category (3:43:43).

The women’s overall race was a tight one, multiple race title winner Rachel Cashin showed how well she knows the course to again take women’s line honours in 3:47:13, closely followed by the ever-improving Danika Mowlem (3:48:25) who was the fastest open women. Corrinne O’Donnell paddled solidly for third overall in the women’s and Queenstown athlete Alex Martin doing the huge trek up to the north island for the race in fourth overall.


Race organiser Anne Cairns took over running the race in 2016 and was well pleased with the turn out and is always hugely appreciative of the support shown for the race, “some athletes have been returning year after year for more than 15 years consecutively which is really cool to see”. Huge thanks go to Mangaweka Adventures for providing safety on the awa, Ruahine Kayaks, Bivouac Palmerston North and the team of helpers from Palmerston North Canoe Club that continue to help this event to run.