Huge turnout for Kowie River Mile

CANDICE BRADFIELD

MORE than 190 swimmers took part in the inaugural
Kowie River Mile, with a large crowd of supporters turning out to cheer them
on.

In excess of R25 000 was raised from the
event which will all go to Sunshine Coast Hospice, with the full amount to be
confirmed at a later date.

Chief organiser Karen Long was overwhelmed
by the response from the public.

PROUD: Organisers were thrilled with the
high number of participants in the much anticipated inaugural Kowie River Mile –
a fundraiser for Hospice – which took place recently. Olympic swimmer Jessica
Roux (centre) came first in the one mile race with Tarryn Els (left) and Amy
Mardon coming in close behind her Picture: CANDICE BRADFIELD

“We were hoping for 50 entries at best, but
we got 193. It was past our wildest expectations,” she said.

“We have been inundated with messages
saying how amazing and well organised it was, and that people would definitely
come back this year and bring their families,” she said.

Long said that she was grateful to the NSRI
and Willem Nel from Ndlambe’s community protection services who made sure the
swimmers were safe throughout the event.

A total of 126 swimmers of all ages took
part in the one mile race. Nine-year-old Trent Dickson was the youngest to take
on the 1.6km race with Paul Lanterm, 69, the oldest to meet the challenge. Dickson
was third in the 13 and under male category and Lanterm first in the 60 and
over male category.

The 400m race received 27 entries and the 800m
races 24. The excellent weather no doubt played a role in the large number of
entries on the day.

The 400m race started at the Port Alfred
Ski-boat Club, the 800m swimmers left from Outdoor Focus and the one mile
participants took off from Guido’s. Most of the supporters waited behind the
tourism office as their swimmers made the last dash to the finish line.

Stalls selling swimwear provides last
minute accessories like goggles and swimming caps while stalls selling CDs,
watches, books and white elephant good gave visitors a chance to shop while
they waiting for the races to start. Food, cool drink and beer stalls kept
everyone fed and hydrated while a good selection of music played over large
speakers.

The first ten swimmers to finish the one
mile race each received a gold medal. Olympic swimmer Jessica Roux was first,
with Tarryn Els and Amy Mardon coming in second and third respectively. Roux
won R1000 for coming first, Els won R500 and Mardon won R250. They also won
other prizes, including Talk of the Town t-shirts and Frisbees.

All the one mile race swimmers who finished
in less than 45 minutes also received a medal.

Nick Golding was first in the 800m race,
with an unnamed participant in second place and Tamsin Groom in third.

Coming first in the 400m race was Caryn
Love, followed by Megan Albon in second place and James Mynhardt in third.

Long thanked the management committee,
which consisted of Avril Beyleveld, Pierre Coetzer and Roger Nock, for all of
their help in organising the event. She also thanked the sponsors, which
included Sports n All, Frameworks, Round Table, Buco, Talk of the Town,
Sunshine Coast Fever and Barmuda, as well as all the volunteers and stall
holders.

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