At the 62nd Liffey Descent we had a brilliant groundbreaking year for the race with it being the first time a wheelchair user competed in the race. Mark Henderson paddled the 30km in a duo with Donal Glackin, crossing the line in a time of 03:42:14. As he was the first person to compete as a wheelchair user, Mark was unsure about it all, but with his love for kayaking and the desire to undertake such a challenge, he proceeded with his passion, and when he spoke to Ciarán ‘Kipper’ Maguire, he was left with no doubt as to his ability to take on the challenge. Talking about the race itself Mark said –

“I then approached Kipper about the idea. There was no amount of doubt that if I was in a duo, he and Canoeing Ireland would make it happen. We discussed the practicalities of mostly the getting on and off the river and the portage. From what we were told there would be no issues and the relevant staff/volunteers would be told about us. (There were no problems, in fact, it was seamless).”

The credit of this achievement truly belongs to Mark and we want to take this opportunity to point out the changes that have been happing at Canoeing Ireland, making paddlesports more inclusive for all. If you want to get involved in paddlesports please reach out to our Diversity & Inclusion Manager, Emer Carton – , or your nearest club, and you never know we might see you next year competing in the 63rd Liffey Descent.

For more information about paddlesports and inclusion, check out our PaddleAble Facebook page (PaddleAble Facebook Community) and website page.