New direction for world’s oldest River Mile

2017-12-21 06:00
<Woodridge matric pupil Amica de Jager won her first SPAR River Mile title at the 2017 SPAR Summer Festival when she outlasted close rival Kirsten Marriott in a race at Cannonville.Photo:SUPPLIED

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NELSON Mandela Bay’s historic River Mile event will be undergoing some significant changes next year in the build up to the event’s centenary celebrations in 2024.

The Metro hosts one of the world’s oldest open water swimming events which was established in Redhouse in 1924 as a means for the local swimming club to attract swimmers from “town”.

Now in its 94th year, the River Mile festival will undergo change as the organisers shake things up and start to build on the event’s popularity in the build up to its 100th race.

The River Mile was forced to move from Redhouse in 2010 owing to deteriorating water quality of the Swartkops River and currently takes place at the tranquil village of Cannonville on the Sundays River which offers an ideal festival area at the well maintained slipway area. Since the move the number of participants over the years has increased significantly.

“The heritage of this event is paramount to us and we are embracing the opportunity for change to boost the popularity and stature of the event in South Africa,” said River Mile organiser Michael Zoetmulder of Zsports Events NPC.

“The City hosts one of the oldest swimming events in the world and this is something we’d like to see the region capitalise on to help boost sports tourism as open water swimming is such a fast growing sport at the moment.”

“With this change comes the search for a new vibrant naming partner who is keen to capitalise on the exposure generated from this historic event and who is willing to grow with the event towards the centenary celebrations.”

Formerly a two-day festival, the event in 2018 will be packaged into a one-day action packed family event which will take place on Sunday 18th February 2018. Anticipated to attract over 5,000 visitors from around the country, the 2018 River Mile Festival of events will include a 5km Family Fun Run, a NMB Triathlon sanctioned long and short course off-road triathlon for individuals and teams, kids across the river races, a disabled Mile, wetsuit Mile and the traditional Men’s and Ladies Mile events.

  • Online registration for the events is now open on the website www.rivermile.co.za

-REPORTER

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