READY TO RUMBLE: A scene of the ladies’ mass start at a previous Spar River Mile event Picture: SUPPLIED
A CONTINGENT of Kowie swimmers is again expected to compete in the Spar River Mile, Africa’s oldest open water swimming event, on the Sundays River next month.
The River Mile is part of a two-day festival of sports and entertainment at Cannonville on the Sundays River on Saturday February 23 and Sunday February 24.
Started in 1924 in Redhouse on the Swartkops River, the River Mile has grown into one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s premier social events attracting thousands of social swimmers and spectators from around the country each year.
“We normally get quite a few people entering from Port Alfred,” said event organiser Mike Zoetmulder of Zports.
Port Alfred hosted its own Kowie River Mile in December, which could draw even more locals who have had a taste of open water swimming to the Sundays River event.
The action-packed programme of fun, family sports events is complimented by food, craft and exhibition stalls, a beer garden and kids entertainment.
Saturday’s programme of events includes a 5km fun trail run, the Discovery Consulting Services off-road team or individual triathlon, the Second Skins wetsuit mile, the disabled mile and a new addition to the programme, the family half-mile, which will also be part of the Rotary Swimarathon – an international event raising funds and awareness for the Rotary End Polio campaign.
The Rotary Swimarathon is part of Rotary’s world record attempt to have the most swimmers taking part in a swimming event anywhere in the world on the same day. Hundreds of Rotary Clubs around the world will be organising a similar event on the same day.
Sunday will see the increasingly popular Stormforce Kids prelim races across the river for children 12 years and under, the Spar Ladies’ Mile and the Spar Men’s Mile events which are expected to not only attract hundreds of social swimmers but also some of South Africa’s top open water swimmers given the prize pool of R21 500 which is up for grabs for the top 10 swimmers.
“This is one of our premier events which we host on behalf of Eastern Province Aquatics and this, being the 89th anniversary of the River Mile, will see the start of some fantastic enhancements to the weekend as we prepare for next year’s milestone,” said Zoetmulder.
Entrance into the festival is R20, with kids 12 years and under entering for free. Participants who have pre-registered will also gain free entry if they collect their race packs from Kings Court shopping mall prior to the festival.
The Rotary Club of Port Elizabeth Sunrise will also be hosting a Kids Zone at the festival with all-day child minding and entertainment.
Event entries are now open on http://www.rivermile.co.za/ or at Brian Band Sports in Newton Park, Port Elizabeth. Vendor and exhibitor applications are also available from the website.