What is the Hare & Hounds?
It is not a race in the true sense of the word but an individual time trial. It is open to all BCCC members in any type of kayak or canoe. Non-members, who are competent paddlers, are welcome to take part but should notify the organiser in advance. As part of the normal training programme the event is free to members. The race organiser is Tony Gallagher.
There is a choice of distances, either 2, 4 or 6 miles. All participants start and finish at the Basingstoke Canal Centre, Mytchett (our base). Click here for a map. The 6 miles course starts at the Canal Centre and heads south along the Basingstoke Canal to the turn at Ash Wharf before returning past the Canal Centre and turning just before King’s Head Bridge with the finish at the swing bridge by the Canal Centre. The 4 mile course starts at the Canal Centre, turns at Ash Wharf and finishes at the Canal Centre. The 2 mile course starts at the Canal Centre, turns just before the bridge at Ash Station and finishes at the Canal Centre.
Which course to choose
The 2 mile course is intended for beginners or those in non-racing kayaks or canoes. Entrants in the 6 mile event are expected to complete the course in under 90 minutes – an average paddler takes about 60 minutes and the course record is currently under 43 minutes. If it is not possible to finish the 6 mile course in under 90 minutes, paddlers should take part in the 2 or 4 mile events.
The 4 mile and 6 mile events are handicapped. Your start time is the average of the last three events you have finished and is adjusted up or down each month. The idea is that the slowest paddler starts first (the Hare) and faster paddlers (the Hounds) start later according to their handicap so that all finish at 11am (the finish can get congested!). If you are new to the event and wish to enter the 4 or 6 mile Hare & Hounds trials please contact the event organiser who will allocate you a provisional handicap.
All 2 mile paddlers start at 09:45. The 4 mile paddlers start between 09:30 and 09:45 depending on the handicap they are given. 6 mile paddlers start from about 09:50, again depending on their handicap.
The date of the next Hare & Hounds event is usually provided in every edition of the newsletter. Early in the week before each event the organiser will send out details of the event including individual start times to club members. After the event, he will send the results to all who participated.
Points and prizes!
Points are awarded for club members counting down from 10 for the first one home in the 4 mile event and 20 for the first home in the 6 mile event. Points are accumulated over the season (September to August inclusive) and the best six results are added. The paddler with the most points (whether they are paddling in a single or double boat (K2 or C2) or whether they are a junior, male or female) qualifies for the Hare & Hounds trophy awarded at the BCCC AGM.
So what is the point of all this?
From the first time that anyone starts paddling your flat water coach would have encouraged you to paddle fast in a straight line. One of the main points of flat water racing is to move our craft from A to B as quickly as possible. The monthly Hare & Hounds events help you to quantify your improvement in your ability to paddle in a straight line as fast as possible, to increase your stamina for longer distances and help you to measure the increase in your speed and efficiency over the distance. This will also enable the club coaches to assess when you are at a suitable standard to represent the club in a Hasler race.
Whether you are a tourist, slalom freak, white water raver or potential marathon paddler the ‘Hare & Hounds’ will improve your paddling and be good fun in the bargain! At BCCC, we encourage any paddler who is at or has just obtained his or her Paddlepower 1 star award that they should take part in a season of Hare & Hounds events over 2 miles. This will vastly improve their paddling technique, stamina and efficiency and prepare them for their next star award.