Local Canoeist off to Marathon Worlds in Denmark

In Editor Choice, Sports

Zoe Bergeron was thrilled when she found out she will be representing Canada at the Canoe Marathon World Championships

Nineteen-year-old Bergeron grew up in Baltimore, graduated from Cobourg Collegiate Institute in 2022, but now lives in Mississauga.

Bergeron was home on Saturday, August 12, 2023 and Today’s Northumberland had a chance to catch up with her while she was practising on her canoe in the harbour basin.

Bergeron will be the only woman representing Canada for the Sprint in the U-23 age group which is 12-kilometres and will also be competing in the Senior Women’s which is 3.5 kilometres which takes place at the end of August.

“It feels great being from a small town and being able too show, no matter if you’re from the big city or small town you can make whatever dream you have happen.”

In 2013 she took up canoeing with the Cobourg Dragon Boat and Canoe Club.

Bergeron said she’s always loved sprints and last year when she was on Florida one of the coaches said she’d also be good at marathons.

“I said absolutely not. That sounds way to long and not fun at all.”

This year the same coach brought it up again, so Bergeron said she would give it a try.

After participating in a qualifying race that was 21-kilometres, she ended up being one of the faster participants and was given the opportunity to go to the worlds.

The canoe is only wide enough to kneel on one knee and using the paddle, while trying to maintain balance.

Bergeron said when she was in grade four the Cobourg Dragon Boat and Canoe Club came to her school and did a presentation.

“I thought it was cool so I came up and did their afternoon program. I really liked it so I started doing their racing program.”

In 2020, Bergeron transferred to Mississauga Canoe Club where there are more canoeists and you can receive training from national and international coaches.

With some competitors being three or four-years-older than her, it’s going to be a struggle, but Bergeron said she’ll do her best and is hoping for top five in the world.

In 2018, she was the only team member from Cobourg to earn a spot to compete in the Ontario Summer Games and earned a third place as part of a Western Ontario Division four-woman crew in the 1000m race.

In 2022, she also won a bronze medal as part of a four-woman crew in the 500m race.

“I just love being out on the water and I’ve made so many life long friends.”

“Being out on the water is just amazing.”

As there is no funding for the trip, Bergeron has started a GoFundMe which covers many things like travel expenses, accommodations, boat rental, and even a national race uniform which all totals approximately $4,500.

“By supporting my journey, you empower a young female athlete to break barriers and prove that determination, dedication, and talent have no boundaries. Your investment in my future will make my dream come true and inspire countless others to pursue their passions and strive for greatness. With your generous contributions, I can compete against the world’s best.”

Pete Fisher
Author: Pete Fisher

Has been a photojournalist for over 30-years and have been honoured to win numerous awards for photography and writing over the years. Best selling author for the book Highway of Heroes - True Patriot Love

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