Huthwaite man to tackle canoe race

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A HUTHWAITE soldier is preparing for ‘one of the toughest challenges’ of his life after being chosen to compete in a 125-mile canoe race.

James Hutchinson, of the 17th Port and Maritime Regiment based in Marchwood, Southampton, is taking part in the 125-mile Devizes to Westminster International Canoe Marathon later this month.

James, a marine engineer, had never even set foot in a canoe or a kayak before, but after being selected to represent his regiment in the race, said he is training hard.

“I am really looking forward to it. It will be one of the toughest challenges I have done, but hopefully I will be able to do it,” James, of Calke Avenue.

The Devizes to Westminster race is a 125-mile event from Devizes in Wiltshire, down the Kennet and Avon Canal to the River Thames and then along the river to Westminster in Central London.

James and the regiment colleague who he is doing the race with, are hoping to finish the whole route in around 24 hours.

It is taking place over Easter weekend - during which James will turn 22.

“Hundreds and hundreds of people enter,” he said.

“The average time to finish is 28 to 30 hours but we are looking to break 24 hours.

“Last year over half the people didn’t finish it though!”

James’ dad Neil, mum Denise and younger brother Luke will be going down to support him at the start and finish.

Neil said: “We are totally proud of him and fully supportive.”