The Thames was awash with passionate paddlers from all over Europe as London’s latest Kayakathon set sail on Sunday.
The 26.2 mile sponsored event is the brainchild of Simon Osborne in memory of his brother Mark, who died from leukaemia when he was nine years old.
Mr Osborne set up events company Paddlesports Events C.I.C. who organise events for people to paddle through some of the world’s most iconic cities while raising money for charity.
They hope to raise £30,000 this year towards their goal of raising £2,000,000 for charitable causes by 2017.
“The furthest they have come from is Italy and we have had people come over from Ireland, so it quite an international event,” he said.
“It was an incredible buzz taking people through the city centre. People can get to London quite easily, hire a boat and get on the water.”
Usually running alongside the London Marathon, the event had to be moved forward by one week due to the tidal patterns of the Thames.
Participants from across the country were excited to be involved in the Kayakathon, including Cornish paddlers Alan Goldsworthy and Sue Mallinder.
“It was our first time on the Thames, although we are experienced kayakers,” said Mr Goldsworth, 54.
“It’s great to take part in events like this one, although I was worried about the distance prior to starting.”
Ms Mallinder, 51, added: “The charity donations are coming along well. But that will depend on whether we compete the 26.2 miles!”
The organisation has a busy calendar, with a Falmouth kayakathon planned for June and the Great North Paddle scheduled for September before international events in Denmark and the USA next year.
Mr Osborne added: “The inaugural Falmouth event is split into two sections – one for those who are just starting out and want to learn more about kayaking.
“There will also be another event for more experienced kayakers who wish to race and raise money for charity at the same time.”
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