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Abbotsholme pupils attempt Devizes to Westminster canoe marathon

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: April 09, 2014

From left are Harrie Chiles, Charlie Thornwell, Ollie Chappell, Big T (Tony Wilson), Gavin Chappell, Barney Wilson and Ed Pashley.

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TWO Ashbourne students will be taking part in the annual Devizes to Westminster canoe endurance marathon over the Easter break.

Harrie (Harriet) Chiles, 17, and Ollie Chappell, 16, from Abbotsholme School, are part of a three-team group entered by the school.

The teams are paddling in open Canadian canoes which are slower and heavier than traditional canoes. They will camp out each night, with rules stating that each crew must erect their own tent and cater for themselves while in the camp.

A spokesman for the school said: "It will mean early morning starts for all crews and no lie-ins during their Easter break but at least it will also mean no GCSE or A-level revision either whilst the race is on."

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The 125-mile race will start in Devizes on Good Friday and will finish under Westminster Bridge on Easter Monday. The route includes more than 70 locks and weirs, at which the boats must be taken out of the water and carried, making it a huge physical challenge.

The first two days are particularly gruelling as the teams paddle for up to 10 hours a day to cover the 34 and 36 miles in order to be allowed to continue, making the race a true test of mental and physical stamina and endurance.

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