60th annual Liffey Descent begins at K Club on Saturday

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60th annual Liffey Descent begins at K Club on Saturday

A participant in the Liffey Descent

The 60th annual Liffey Descent "canoe marathon" kicks off on the River Liffey at the K Club in Straffan tomorrow. 

Paddlers will negotiate 10 weirs along the 32km to the finish line at the Garda Rowing Club, Islandbridge.

At Leixlip reservoir, there’s 5 kilometres of flat-water paddling leading into the mandatory portage around the ESB hydroelectricity dam.

After Leixlip come more weirs, the most notorious of them at Lucan, Wren’s Nest and finally Chapelizod.

By then all that’s left is a lung-busting run to the finish at the Garda Boat Club in Islandbridge.

The Liffey Descent started out as a short canoe race at the very first Dublin Boat Show in 1960.

It now attracts paddlers from all corners of the globe and it now a major event of the international marathon racing calendar.

The race is being supported by South Dublin County Council’s tourism brand Dublin’s Outdoors through its Tourism Event and Festival Grant.

While the paddlers at the front of the race are aiming for victory and fast times, a unique feature of the Liffey Descent are the hundreds of recreational paddlers who take to the water each year in a variety of crafts, from sleek kayaks to play boats and large Canadian open topped canoes.

Organisers say it's a race that demands skill, resolve, stamina and courage.

See www.liffeydescent.ie.