Organisers of the aQuellé Midmar Mile have done all they can to assure a safe swim for those taking part in the virtual event this weekend.

The official race was called off at the eleventh hour after Ezemvelo KZN Wildlife, who run the Midmar Dam facility, denied race organisers permission despite all Covid protocols being in place.

This meant the aQuellé Midmar Mile could only be run as a virtual event, with swimmers being able to complete the distance on any body of water across the country.

Race Director Wayne Riddin explained: “We have still put safety measures in place at Midmar Dam because we knew that swimmers would still show up today and tomorrow to complete their miles. We could not, in good conscience, leave them to their own devices, especially those who are attempting the distance for the first time.

“So we have place life guards on the dam and given swimmers chips at the usual start area, so we could track when they entered the water and came out at the other end. This is purely for safety reasons so we could keep track of them and in no way constitutes an official event.”

One of the first time swimmers of the virtual aQuellé Midmar Mile, Jacques Seeliger from Johannesburg expressed his gratitude for the safety measures in place, saying: “We’re very grateful there is still assistance. The buoys are here so that we can see the distances. We’ve got safe swimmers, there’s some life guards so we feel very comfortable and we’re very grateful that we still got the opportunity to do it.”

Doné Irving, who was swimming for a 10th time added: “With the safety buoys you definitely feel safe, that if anything happened you have the buoy in hand and you can always wave. It’s definitely necessary so we’re grateful.”