The lead up to the 46th aQuellé Midmar Mile, to be held on 9 and 10 February, is in its final stretch. With preparations well underway at Midmar Dam and registration ready to roll from Wednesday at Cascades Lifestyle Centre, race director Wayne Riddin and his team are ready for a bumper event.
The world’s largest open water swim consists of eight events, four of which are held on Saturday, with the other four being held on Sunday. Event one, which will start at 8.15am on Saturday 9 February, is the Graeme Pope-Ellis Biathlon, Ironman/Ironwoman, Disabled and 71 years and over event. To qualify for the Ironman/Ironwoman event, swimmers must have completed the 2018 Comrades Marathon and Dusi Canoe Marathon before taking on their Mile to round off their accomplishment. In the case of the Pope-Ellis Biathlons, competitors must have completed the 2018 Dusi Canoe Marathon or Comrades Marathon before taking on #Midmar2019.
Event two takes to the water at 9.45am, and this is the family relay, which consists of teams of between three and five direct family members, with the best three times being taken into consideration. The Company Relay, splashing off at 11am, works on the same premise, with all team members being required to be employees of the same company. The final event of day one is the non-company relay, which is the perfect event for a group of friends to enter.
Sunday morning sees the action start again at 8.30am, when the Girls 13 and under/Women 31 and over take to the water. At 9.45am, it’s the Boys 13 and under/Men 31 and over’s turn. The competition reaches fever pitch at 11am, when the Girls/Women 14-30 start their fast-paced stroke across Midmar Dam. The finale of a weekend of outstanding open water swimming action is the Boys/Men 14-30 event, which starts at 12.15pm.
Prize giving will take place on both days at approximately 2pm.
Some interesting facts about the 2019 aQuellé Midmar Mile field:
- There are a greater number of swimmers from Gauteng than from KwaZulu-Natal.
- Just over a quarter of the field is between 10 and 19 years of age.
- There are slightly more men than women participating.
- The youngest swimmer is six-year-old Rachael Rodd.
- The oldest swimmer is 86-year-old Mike Arbuthnot, who was one of the founders of the event back in 1974.
- The company with the highest number of entrants is the South African National Defence Force (SANDF).
- The school with the highest number of entries is Oranje Meisieskool.