ICF launches virtual international 5k paddle challenge

The International Canoe Federation is hoping to encourage professional and recreational paddlers all over the world to take on a five kilometre virtual paddle challenge to not only stay active, but to raise money for the incredibly important work of Doctors Without Borders (MSF).

The ICF will launch the weekly challenge on Friday, May 15 with the competition period running through to June 14 2020. The one-person challenge can be carried out on any form of ergo, or for those lucky enough to be able to get on the water, on any form of craft officially recognised by the ICF.

There are two important stipulations; all participants must follow the rules in their own country (and state in Australia) to help prevent the spread of the virus, and each paddler must be able to accurately measure their distance and time.

Each paddler will be required to post details of their performance on the event page, and will then be able to measure their result against other paddlers around the world. To make it even more exciting, participants are encouraged to challenge their friends and colleagues to take up the cause.

It doesn’t matter if the five kilometres are completed at a home gym, a nearby lake, a river or on the ocean. The important goal is helping people remain healthy during these tough times, and giving support to a charity which is working to save lives in some of the world’s poorest regions.

All participants will be asked to register on the official event page, and asked to make a voluntary donation to MSF. Every entrant who makes a donation will have the chance to win a prize, including paddles and other recreational equipment.

MSF is currently working all over the world to counter the new coronavirus. The charity is gearing up to confront potential outbreaks in the hundreds of areas it was already working in before the pandemic struck.

“MSF would like to say a huge thank you to the International Canoe Federation for choosing to support our COVID-19 response through the 5k paddle challenge,” James Kliffen, the head of fundraising at MSF UK, said.

“MSF is currently racing to respond to the pandemic in over 70 countries, and funds raised by the International Canoe Federation will undoubtedly help us to achieve our vital priorities.

“These include supporting health systems and authorities, protecting vulnerable populations through vital medical services, improving infection prevention and control measures, and even opening new projects.

“On behalf of our staff and patients around the world, thank you for supporting MSF.”

Chiara Lepora is part of a 25-strong MSF team working in the Lombardy region of Italy, one of the hardest hit populations on the planet.

“The hospitals are at their limit,” Chiara wrote in a recent blog.

“In the emergency room at the Lodi hospital, there are now 80 beds. Yet even with that extra capacity, the only way to refer a new patient in is if another patient recovers or dies.”

The charity is deploying medics, sending supplies and applying nearly 50 years of experience fighting epidemics to protect the most vulnerable and save lives.

The ICF is emphasising that people should only paddle outside where it is safe to do so, and where it is permitted by their local authorities.

Find more information about our 5k challenge here: https://www.canoeicf.com/5kPaddleChallenge, and about the work Doctors without Borders (MSF) is doing around the world here: https://www.msf.org/covid-19-depth

ICF Media Release