The 2012 SPAR Redhouse River Mile, Africa’s oldest open water swimming event, will be taking place at Cannonville Village, on the Sunday’s River on Sunday 19 February and will be restricted to the first 1,000 mile swimmers only.
Started in 1924, the event is celebrating its 88th anniversary with organisers, Zports, expecting another bumper event supported by SPAR Eastern Cape and the 7 Associate sponsors of the event, who have ensured that the 2012 event is able to carry a cash prize pool R28,000.
Over 5,000 participants and spectators are expected to converge on the slipway area of Cannonville Village to witness one of Nelson Mandela Bay’s premier social events.
Despite 2012 being an Olympic year, triple River Mile Champion and SA Olympic swimmer, Chad Ho, from Kwazulu Natal is expected to return to defend his title. Thanks to regular competition, the standard of EP open water swimming has improved dramatically over the past couple of years and the title is no longer a one horse race. Competition amongst the ladies is very stiff with swimmer champion Jessica Liss looking to get revenge for her hashed 2011 swim where she led with 50m to go and then swam outside of the finish tunnel to allow top Ocean Racing Series swimmers, Carmen and Lauren Billson to snatch the top two placings.
“2012 promises to be a year filled with much sporting excitement and we are very proud to once again be this year’s title sponsor of Africa’s oldest open-water swimming event. Due to the poor water quality of the Swartkops River the venue for the 88th staging of this year’s river mile will again be along the banks of the Sundays River. As title sponsors for the past 13 years our goal is to see the event return to the Swartkops River and therefore have partnered with the Zwartkops Conservancy Trust. SPAR Eastern Cape has committed R255 000 over the next 3 years towards the clean-up operation and we trust that soon the beautiful Swartkops River will be in a clean state allowing citizens of the Nelson Mandela Metropole to enjoy it’s natural beauty throughout the year and continue with the heritage behind the SPAR Redhouse River Mile. It has always been the community of our friendly city who has made this event special and we encourage you to make sure you don’t miss out this year. Bring the family to the Sunday’s River banks and come celebrate this unique event with us on Sunday, 19th February.” Said SPAR Eastern Cape Marketing Manager, Martin Webber.
SPAR are joined by Associate sponsors aQuellé, Cerebos, Express Litho, Kingfisher FM, Eco Car and van Hire, Stormforce and the Town Lodge in sponsoring the River Mile event for 2012.
The River Mile festival program of events kick off on Sunday 19th February with the Discovery Off Road Trail Run and Triathlon. The 5km Trail Run starts at 8am and is followed by the triathlon at 9am with all proceeds from the triathlon going to the Rotary Club of Port Elizabeth Sunrise. The Stormforce kids preliminary races offer novice swimmers 12 years and under the opportunity to get involved with the bank to bank swim at 11.30am. Only open to kids who aren’t competing in the Mile event, the Stormforce event has a 10 and under and 12 and under category for boys and girls. Children who aren’t competent swimmers must be accompanied by an adult. The wetsuit and disabled mile swims start at 12.30 and then the premier Ladies mile follows at 1.30pm with the Men’s race starting 45min later.
“The River Mile continues to be one of the Metro’s greatest social family events and this year will be no different with something for the whole family. With a trail run, off-road triathlon, kids 12 yrs and under swim race and the Mile swim events we’re sure that everyone can get active this year. Plus we have the SAB beer garden, numerous vendors and displays and the Rotary Club of PE Sunrise kids entertainment area to keep everyone entertained outside of the events. Entry into the grounds is free and we promise a great day out for all.” Said race organiser Michael Zoetmulder of Zports Event Management.
79-year old Mally Richards will be attempting his 58th River Mile this year, having first swum the event as a Muir College school boy when he was just 15 years old.
Online entry is highly recommend on the website www.rivermile.co.za, but entry forms are available at all leading sports stores. All participants receive a silicone swim cap and commemorative brochure. Late entries from 13th February will incur a late entry penalty.