Peterborough Examiner Article -  June 24, 2018

Vadim Lawrence met his future wife Alla 22 years ago on June 22 and he promised to win the inaugural Kawartha Paddle Quest for her.

He lived up to his promise.

Lawrence powered his K1 boat 50 kilometres from Viamede Resort to the shore of Beavermead Park in four hours, 58 minutes on Saturday.

"This victory was for her," Lawrence said. "The first day we met each other I took her for a short paddle."

He was one of 75 paddlers competing in three race distances in canoe, kayak and stand-up paddleboards in what organizers anticipate will be an annual event on the Ontario Marathon Canoe Kayak Racing Association (OMCKRA) calendar. The event also featured a 10k course that looped around Little Lake and a 2k children's race.

Lawrence, 43, grew up padding as a teenager in Russia but gave it up for 25 years. Now living in Toronto, he started back two years ago and last week did a 24-hour, 190k event in Huntsville. So, the Peterborough course was easier but still a challenge.

"It was a nice course, an interesting race," he said. "It was very well organized. The potages were well marked and people were at each portage. It was challenging especially after the first check point until the first portage because of the side waves. It was kind of difficult."

The dash across Stoney Lake was the toughest part for most.

Dean Coulson, of Kearny, Ont., and Chris Prater, of London, teamed up to win the C2 division over 50k.

"We were excited because it's a new race," said Prater. "It's always fun doing a course you've never paddled before because you actually have to pay attention to where you are going. It was the first time I've ever looked at a map during a race."

"The lake was pretty rough," said Coulson, whose boat took on water when they were splashed by the wake of a passing boat. "Our plan was to get across the lake at the front of the pack and once we got to the river just go. The course was really nice."

Darryl Bohm, 61, of Mississauga, placed second in the K1 division and third overall in the 50k event.

"It was lovely through the locks and the Trent University building on the river was beautiful," said Bohm.

Organizers Heather and Mike Casey were thrilled by the turnout and hope to grow the event and the sport locally.

"Paddling is something anybody can do from kids to 80 and 90. Some of these racers are in their seventies and they're amazing and winning," said Heather Casey.

Kim Snell, member secretary and treasurer for OMCKRA, said it was a solid turnout for a first-time event. While it is a race, Snell says there are many different classes and skill levels.

"We have a wide range of people from people in their twenties up to people in their eighties," said Snell. "it's a sport that can be very welcoming to all levels of ability."

Toronto's Jonathan Loeck won the 10k race in 68 minutes the followed 11 minutes later by the tandem of Mike Kennedy and Ray Headley while Stephen Bressett of Frankford placed third.

The children's 2k event was won by Odessa's Tyler McKenzie with Peterborough's Tobin Harrold second and Pembroke's Leif Colin third.

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