Parkin achieves epic feat for charity

2010-02-15 00:00

ACTION at the 2010 Halfway Telkom Midmar Mile began before eight o’clock on Saturday morning when Terence Parkin, the most successful athlete in the history of the Deaflympics, set off on an epic record attempt aimed at raising funds for the Saint Vincent School for the Deaf.

A member of the 8 Mile Club, which raises money for charity, Parkin began his day from the finish, swimming to the start for the beginning of event number one. From that point he joined in the race on his way to swimming 16 miles over the course of the weekend. He aimed to swim each race in less than 25 minutes. A full wrap on Parkin’s achievement will follow later in the week.

Various disabled categories and the Ironman and Ironwoman competitions were some of the highlights of the event for many.

Craig Groenewald won the event for the 13th time in 13 attempts, pulling away near the end from the former winner of the men’s 13 to 30 race, Gareth Fowler, to cross the finishing line in 22:42.

Fowler finished in 23:15, five seconds ahead of Parkin. With Ryk Neethling, Fowler is the only three-time men’s winner in the 37-year history of the Midmar Mile.

Gary Shea was the first of the Ironman finishers in fourth place.

South African Paralympic star Shireen Sapiro placed in the top 10, stopping the clock in exactly 26 minutes.

Crowd favourite Chad Gifford, who has no lower limbs, slightly improved on his time of 2009, finishing in 34:40.

Adri Visser, a three-time winner of the Courage Trophy, completed her swim in less than 40 minutes.

Roy Rees, at a sprightly 86-years of age, was the oldest male finisher.

Shaun Dias, the winner of the men’s title in 2008, won the Company Relay in 21:32. Thandu Thusi placed second, but with Dias brothers Gareth and Paul finishing third and sixth respectively, Dias and Sons romped to an easy victory.

They finished almost 11 minutes clear of second-placed Mr Price, with Swim Styles taking third, half-a-minute further off the pace.

German stars Christian ­Reichert and race newcomer Alex Studzinski, swimming for Team International, left the rest of the field in their wakes in the Non-Company Relay. In the final 400 metres, Studzinski pulled four seconds clear of Reichert, the fourth-place finisher in the men’s race in 2009, to take the win in 20:05. Wesley Gilchrist of USN Spike was the third-placed finisher.

With Tyrone Venter, who had swum 25 km on Friday, finishing seventh, Team International were convincing winners of the event and the two Germans sounded a warning to South Africa’s big guns, Riaan Schoeman and Chad Ho, who weren’t in action.

Team International’s combined time was 1:01:37, with USN Spike second in 1:03:12, and Varsity College third in 1:11:07.

There were 3 009 finishers in the event, slightly off the world record 3 110 finishers, which was established in 2009.

Among them was 86-year-old Lorna Cochran, the oldest female finisher of all.

A total of 3 526 people entered the race.


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