Africa’s oldest open water swimming event, the SPAR River Mile, takes place next month as part of a two day festival of sports and entertainment at Sundays River. 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.
The 2013 SPAR River Mile Festival takes places on Saturday 23rd and Sunday 24th February with an action packed program of fun, family sports events complimented by food, craft, exhibition stalls, beer garden and kids entertainment at the tranquil setting of Cannonville on the Sundays River.
Saturdays program 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 program, the family half-mile which will also be part of the Rotary Swimarathon which is an international event raising funds and awareness to 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.
Whilst 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 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 event organiser Mike Zoetmulder of Zports.
Entrance into the festival will be just R20 with kids 12 years and under being 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 www.rivermile.co.za or at Brian Band Sports in Newton Park. Participants for the Mile events or Stormforce Prelim kids race who enter before 20th January will each receive one complimentary River Mile t-shirt. Vendor and Exhibitor applications are also available from the website.