Midmar Mile legend competes in 42nd race

2015-02-07 00:00

A PIETERMARITZBURG legend and one of the founders of the Midmar Mile will be hitting the water tomorrow for the 42nd consecutive year.

And for Michael Arbuthnot (82) — once a member of the gruelling 8 Mile Club — he will in effect be swimming his 82nd Mile along the dam’s iconic stretch of water.

Arbuthnot, better known as “Buthy”, has further broken the mould by completing 17 Comrades Marathons and 16 Duzis — all after the age of 40.

A Maritzburg College Old Boy, Buthy said the character of the Comrades, Duzi and Midmar exists today as it did decades ago.

“I remember doing the Duzi and going on for hours without seeing another competitor. When you were doing the portage, sometimes you didn’t know where you were. While the adventure part of these events may not be the same, as they have become more professional, they still have that character of being events that the man on the street can do and finish — providing they train and are physically fit.”

In 1972, Buthy and a group of colleagues with whom he played water polo decided to attempt to swim the Midmar Mile for fun.

He has never missed a year since then.

Married with four children and eight grandchildren, Buthy has taken on KwaZulu-Natal’s big three events with all members of his family.

“We have all swum the ­Midmar Mile, except for three of my grandchildren as they are too young, but their time will come.

“I have run the Comrades with my sons and completed 10 Duzis with one of them too. This year, I am swimming with one of my granddaughters.”

He maintains the secret to his physical strength is consistency.

“I try to swim about four times a week and run three times a week. Staying fit is about consistency,” said Buthy.

• jonathan.erasmus@witness.co.za

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