The racing section covers both marathon and sprint racing.


Canoe Marathon is an accessible, inclusive sport suitable for all ages and ability levels. At beginner level it’s a great way just to get out on the river and have some low impact exercise in a friendly, relaxed environment. At more advanced levels it’s a physically and mentally challenging sport, requiring high levels of fitness, technique and stamina.

Our current group of Club paddlers is spread across a wide ability and age range which reflects the sport in general. We have an all-ability training session on Sunday mornings run by one of our British Canoeing qualified coaches. Typical activities on the water might include starts and sprints, turns, race techniques, portaging practice, distance-building paddles, etc.  Off the water we can use the Club’s ergo machines to develop good paddling technique and build stamina.

The Club has a range of boats and paddles suitable for beginners and improvers and some equipment specifically designed for younger paddlers.  Marathon boats are designed for speed: long, thin and more unstable than normal kayaks so you may find them a bit wobbly at first but with some coaching and practice you should soon begin to progress. No special clothing is required, but please don’t wear denim jeans or trainers; the Club can provide buoyancy aids for beginners.  

Marathon Canoeing includes Kayaking (using a paddle with two blades) and Canoeing (using a single blade). There are also races for singles (classified as K1 and C1), and doubles (K2 and C2).

Viking Club members compete regularly in the Hasler series events (between 7k and 20k distances depending on ability) in locations such as Norwich, Leighton Buzzard, Cambridge, Leamington Spa and Bishop’s Stortford. The Club also hosts its own Hasler event  -  the Bedford Canoe Marathon, which first took place in 1953.  Several of our paddlers have also competed in the Waterside series of races (various distances from 22k to 55k) and the famous Devizes to Westminster 24hour race (201k). To find out more about the sport in general why not have a look on the official UK Canoe Marathon website 

Get in touch

Whether you’re an experienced paddler looking for a new club, or a complete beginner wanting to try racing for the first time, you’ll find us extremely friendly and inclusive – so please do get in touch!

If you would like to get involved with this exciting sport or have any questions please contact

Apply to join the VKC Racing Facebook group  

More info here including national calendar: the official UK Canoe Marathon website  & Marathon Racing Calendar 


Canoe Sprint competitions are carried out over set distances which are normally 200m, 500m & 1000m. 5000m races are also contested at National regattas. Boats used are K1, K2, K4, C1 & C2. There are set distances next to Viking club of these distances for people to practice their times. There are regional sprint competitions where those new to this discipline can race against others of similar ability and enjoy a competition event. A time is recorded over 500m for those wishing to enter these events. These times are then sent to the race coordinator who makes sure people are matched to similar ability.

National sprint competitions occur during the year, for these, the participant must reach a minimum time for the class they enter. These times are available in the yearly Canoe Sprint & Marathon handbook, through the Canoe England website, and online. These times are verified, then the participant must be registered, competition entry is then carried out through the club Sprint Team Leader. Competition gives an indication of performance against others of similar ability, Personal best times may vary from competition times, it may be windy, heavy rain, cold, hot in a competition. Also, some venues have differing effects from wind and waves along the length and across the lanes, that can make a good lane selection an advantage.

Club 200m & 500m Sprints

During the summer months it is hoped a mini competition for club members will take place. This may be on more than one night, first 200 & 500m time trials will take place. Then competitors of similar ability’s will be grouped together for a race.


The opportunity will be given to club members to experience one arm ergo instruction. After this the member will be encouraged to get on the water and practice any corrective assistance they may need.

Sprint success comes from great technique and excellent strength to weight ratio. So all the work made with our dedicated Marathon team will be a great start for you to come and have a try.