Nelson Mandela Bay, Port Elizabeth’s historic SPAR River Mile, Africa’s oldest open water swimming event, is set to complement an action packed 23rd and 24th February weekend for the city with a massive festival of activity for the whole family along the banks of the Sundays River.
This year the River Mile, which started in 1924 in the picturesque village of Redhouse, celebrates it’s 89th anniversary and will be attracting swimmers from around the country to the Sundays River on both Saturday and Sunday with 80 year old swimming stalwart, Mally Richards, set to rewrite the swimming record books as he attempts his 60th River Mile on Sunday morning.
The Festival will be taking place at the Cannonville slipway area with an action packed program of fun, family sports events complimented by dozens of food, craft, exhibition stalls, a Castle Lite beer garden and Rotary’s Twizza Kids Zone. Entertainment over the weekend will be provided by Centrestage’s Gino Fabbri, African Drumbeat, Anton Calitz and the Clarendon Park Primary School band whilst Kingfisher FM DJ’s keep everyone informed with Festival Broadcaster Capital Sounds.
The Festival kicks off on Saturday with 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 program, the family half-mile which is part of the international Rotary Swimarathon, where swims on the same day have been arranged to raise funds and awareness to Rotary’s End Polio Campaign.
Sunday sees 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 R28000 which is up for grabs for the top 10 swimmers.
“With over 1,000 participants already registered we are preparing for a bumper weekend to celebrate the 89th anniversary.” said event organiser Mike Zoetmulder of Zports. “The response from not only participants but also the vendors and exhibitors has been far greater than previous years, particular from those out of town and it bodes well that we are able to attract these people to the Eastern Cape.”
Legend of the River Mile, 80 year old Mally Richards of Jeffreys Bay, is ready to tackle his 60th River Mile. “I have been swimming since I was a boy and this is what I enjoy the most.” said Richards who also still takes part in waterpolo. The Uitenhage-born pensioner started swimming for fun at 14, while still a pupil at Muir Collage and swam his first River Mile in 1947. Richards’ son Kevin is a legend of the River Mile in his own right, having won the event six times and this year attempting his 26th River Mile together with his dad and two sons, Sean (14) and March (10) who will be doing their first river mile swim, having just returned from the UK.
Collection of race packs for those who have already entered takes place on Wednesday and Thursday at the Kings Market, Kings Court Shopping Centre which will see a full expo with over 20 exhibitions already confirmed. The Expo will be held between 12 noon and 6pm on both days.
Entrance into the festival will be just R20 per day with kids 12 years and under free. Participants competing on the day and wearing their race wrist bands will also gain free access. The festival wrist band will double as a lucky draw number with a pair of Mango return Airtickets up for grabs. Late entries can still be made online till Wednesday evening, thereafter at Kings Market on Thursday or at the event on the weekend (additional late fees will apply).
MyPE is building a Port Elizabeth wiki (click here to see the Redhouse River Mile entry) and are asking if you have any historic information pertaining to the Redhouse River Mile to please send it to us by clicking here.
Article source: http://mype.co.za/new/2013/02/cannonville-redhouse-river-mile/