Old boys take on historic Mile

2013-02-08 00:00

THIS weekend’s Midmar Mile sees two important anniversaries celebrated — the 40th staging of the race and Maritzburg College’s 150th year.

While event organisers are hoping to beat the Guinness world record for the most number of swimmers in an open-water event — they set a new record two years ago — there’s an added extra this year with event 4A, The College Race, added to the programme.

This race acknowledges the school’s rich history and involvement with the mile.

College old boy Michael (Buth) Arbuthnot, at the school from 1947-1950 and founder of the event, takes on his 40th consecutive swim.

Joining him is his son, Ross, and grandson, Miles, also College old boys. Michael plans to swim a mile tomorrow and on Sunday, thereby completing his 80th Midmar crossing in his 80th year.

College have been involved in the race from the start.

In its second year, entries doubled from the initial 153 competitors to more than 300 the following year.

Ensuring the success and growth of the event were College masters Dexter White and Keith Forbes-Mylne, who encouraged schoolboys to take on the challenge.

These masters were in charge of waterpolo at Alex High School and College, where both schools played matches against Seals Swimming Club, the original organisers of the Midmar swim. Through their encouragement, these masters ensured the schoolboys provided the largest number of entries in what has become South Africa’s premier open water swim event.

Michael Arbuthnot’s love for the water has never waned. While at College, he was involved in raising funds for the school swimming pool, which was opened on December 8, 1951.

The College race tomorrow is at 1.15 pm and is open to anyone wishing to celebrate the school’s milestone. It is not limited to College old boys, and competitors will be given a special College 150th swimming cap.

The school’s canoeists will provide a guard of honour for the swimmers and entries on the day must be done through the Midmar Mile organisers.

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