Mile ‘will be good challenge’

2015-02-07 00:00

AMONG the swimmers taking on the Midmar Mile this weekend will be a woman who put paid to the notion of giving up.

Thirty-five-year-old Ingrid Katz, who was left paralysed from the waist down after a car accident, will battle it out with other inspiring handicapped participants.

The former Pietermaritzburg Girls’ High pupil has called Kwa-Zulu-Natal’s capital home for her whole life, before moving to ­Johannesburg, where she ­currently lives and works.

In 1998, Katz lost control of her car on Howick Road while on holiday. She broke her back in the accident and was paralysed from the waist down.

Being a naturally sporty­ person, Katz was highly involved in sport at school, excelling at hockey and tennis.

She comes from strong sporting stock as well. Her mother Caroline was a keen hockey player, while her father Gerald played cricket for Natal in the late sixties and seventies.

Katz’s accident happened while she was in her second year of studying Physiotherapy in Stellenbosch, forcing her to move home while she recovered.

After four years in Pietermaritzburg, she moved up to ­Gauteng.

“I wanted a change in my life and decided Johannesburg was the next stop. I currently run a skincare clinic at a plastic surgeon’s practice,” she said.

Now, 17 years after the accident, Katz recently decided to take up swimming to get healthy and improve her overall fitness.

“It’s a bit silly doing my first Midmar Mile at 35, considering I grew up in the area. I started swimming around a year ago and I really enjoyed it. So I decided to set myself a goal.

“I settled on Midmar, thinking it will be a good challenge and it’s close to home. I know the surrounds and feel quite comfortable,” she said.

Katz will swim the race with her brother Shaun, although she is fully capable of swimming ­unassisted. His presence will give her support and some ­added peace of mind in the water, she said.

Being her first Mile, Katz said she hoped to finish in under an hour but wasn’t putting any pressure on herself.

Apart from her brother, Katz’s parents Caroline and Gerald will be there to support her along with other family and friends.

“There will be a couple of ­people coming out to give me support. I don’t really want an audience though, but the ­support is amazing.”

While many swimmers consider raising money for charity, Katz said she was just focused on finished her first race.

“As far the 8 Mile goes, I ­haven’t even thought that far ahead. I just want to get the first one done. Maybe I’ll take it ­further in the future.”

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