Devon duo to paddle in world’s longest canoe race for charity

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Two Devon men are gearing up for the adventure of their lives later this month, when they tackle the world's longest annual canoe race, in a bid to raise funds for charity.

James Aven, a Manager with the Dartmoor National Park Authority and his friend, Tim Watson a GP at Okehampton Surgery, are taking part in the Yukon River Quest, an annual 460 mile race in Canada, to raise funds for The Prostate Cancer Charity.

The race, widely recognised as one of the toughest adventure ultra-marathon events in the world, has this year attracted 74 teams and around 250 participants from 10 countries. Except for two rest stops, paddlers race non-stop over 460 miles of unspoiled wilderness on the historic route of the Klondike gold seekers from Whitehorse to Dawson City in the Yukon Territory of North West Canada. The brave duo will set off on 29 June and hope to reach the finish line three days later.

The race is a first for both James and Tim, both of whom had barely put paddle to water before making the brave decision to take part. Since then the pair have been training hard, paddling up and down the Dart, the Tamar and Exeter Ship Canal in preparation.

Prostate cancer is an issue that is close to both men. The pair decided to take on the Yukon River Quest to raise funds and awareness for the Charity after James' father, Keith, died from the disease last year. As a GP, Tim has also seen some of his patients affected by the most common cancer in men.

James said: "This is going to be an enormous challenge but one we're both really looking forward to. We're a little anxious but very excited to be taking part and just hope that all the training will pay off. We successfully completed the Devizes to Westminster Race at Easter which is the World's longest non-stop canoeing race at 125 miles but nothing can really prepare you for the challenge that awaits us in Canada. This is a great event and Tim and I are delighted to be able to use it to raise awareness and much needed money to help the fight against prostate cancer."

Mark Bishop, Director of Fundraising for The Prostate Cancer Charity said: "I'm reliably informed that the Yukon River Quest is one of the toughest events on the planet. We're amazed and incredibly grateful that James and Tim have decided to take on the ultimate adventure to help raise funds for our work. We'll be sending them good vibes and hoping that they don't get stuck without a paddle when they take part in their brave quest."

Every year, 37,000 men are diagnosed with prostate cancer in the UK - and it is a disease which kills one man every hour. The Prostate Cancer Charity fights prostate cancer on every front - through research, support, information and campaigning.

For more information on the Yukon River Challenge and to sponsor Tim and James visit