Midmar a huge success

2019-02-13 06:01
The start of the girl’s/women’s 14 to 30 age group at the aQuelle Midmar Mile.

The start of the girl’s/women’s 14 to 30 age group at the aQuelle Midmar Mile.

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MIDMAR Dam was an ongoing wave of energy over the weekend as hundreds of supporters lined the banks to cheer for swimmers who competed in the 46th aQuellé Midmar Mile race.

Singing, dance-offs and braais kept supporters hyped up to provide a sustained, loud welcome with lots of encouragement for the thousands of swimmers who made their way to the finish line.

A kaleidoscope of tents and colour speckled the banks of the dam and spirits were high among swimmers and spectators alike.

Schools travelled from far to join the event. Hartfield Christian School from Pretoria, Queens College Boys’ High from Queenstown and Jeppe High School for Boys from Johannesburg were some of the many.

The Motaung family from Pretoria were among the crowd trying to spot their family members who were swimming. Didi Mataung said his family had participated in the Midmar Mile every year for the past five years.

“This year we’re supporting my cousin, Ruri, for his first race.

My brother, Mandla, this is his third; and our friend, Boitumelo, is competing her fifth race this year.

“We travelled down to support them. We just want them to see us and know we are supporting them,” he said.

Samantha Jones from Pinetown, also an avid swimmer, said although she was not competing, she had come to encourage the swimmers who were.

“I haven’t tried the Midmar Mile yet, but I want to try training for it one day. For now, I’m happy to come and support my fellow athletes and encourage them from the sidelines.”

Janet Pillay from Tongaat, who runs a clothing stall at the Midmar Mile, said it was the highlight of her year.

“It’s good for business. I have been coming here for eight years now,” she said.

Pillay said she camped over at Midmar Dam.

“The facilities are lovely, and the weather is always lovely. We meet people from all walks of life,” she said.

Chris Naude, who took part in the family relay race, said the Midmar Mile has become a must-do event for the family.

“Each year we try and compete with each other, trying to see who comes out best.

It has become a family thing — like Christmas. We love to come to the Midmar Mile and each year it gets better,” said Naude.

Renowned South African deaf swimmer Terence Parkin, who won the category for swimmers aged 31 to 40, said he was happy he won.

“I’m so thrilled,” said Parkin.

“It’s important to me. I like challenges. It’s not about me, but its about the charity I was swimming for. I enjoy being a role model to children and giving back,” he said.

Rescue and lifesaving personnel on the water reported no major mishaps and on dry land the most serious incident of the weekend was a man (66) who suffered an apparent heart attack and was revived by medics.

Race director Wayne Riddin said the incident happened on the bank.

“Within about two hours, that person had their eyes open and was talking. We were very grateful for that,” said Riddin, adding that the race had gone well.

“The weather played its part and the competition was really good.

All the people swimming for charity also did exceptionally well,” he said.

An estimated R4 million was raised for charity, more than half a million more than last year, Riddin said.

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