Midmar Mile set for Record 40th Anniversary Celebrations

Keri-Anne Payne of Britain is hoping to make it title number eight when she competes in the women's 14-30 years old race of the 2013 aQuellé Midmar Mile this Sunday. Photo: Jetline Action Photo/Gameplan Media

The world’s largest open water swimming event, the aQuellé Midmar Mile, is poised to smash records aplenty as the event commemorates its 40th anniversary with a new record field that will displace the events own Guinness Book of World Records entry.

Katinka Hosszu of Hungary is unsure of her open water abilities, but is hopeful she will be able to reel in defending champ Keri-Anne Payne in the women's race of the 2013 aQuellé Midmar Mile this weekend. Photo: Brad Morgan/ Gameplan MediaHaving started in 1974 after fuel restrictions meant a group of open water swimming enthusiasts were unable to make their annual trip to the Buffalo Mile, the event has grown tremendously from its humble beginnings of 153 entrants to organisers’ expectations of close on 18 000 participants across the weekend of festivities and celebrations.

To mark the remarkable achievement, Guinness Book of Records officials will be on hand to verify the race’s efforts to breaks its own world record as the largest open water swimming event in the world, a feat achieved in 2011 with 13 755 finishers.

Lorna Cochran, already the oldest-ever female finisher, aims to become the oldest person ever to have completed the Mile, should she successfully do so at 89 years old this time around.

The Midmar Mile traditionally has a very strong disabled swimmer presence who tackle the event in the opening race on Saturday morning.

The women’s race sees Johannesburg-born British competitor Keri-Anne Payne eyeing a record eighth title, however she too will have to overcome stiff opposition in the shape of Ashley Twichell (USA), Katinka Hosszu (Hungary) and South Africa’s own Michelle Weber.

Regardless of ability, all those who take to the water for the race’s 40th anniversary edition will don their commemorative swimming caps and, if successful, will walk away afterwards with a commemorative medal for their efforts.

The highly respected PMB based educational institution, Maritzburg College, have also joined this year’s Midmar Mile festivities as they look to build the event into their list of celebrations to commemorate their own 150th anniversary.

As has become tradition in recent years the event will once again be giving away a car from Halfway Toyota, to one lucky participant and that, as well as everything, which has seen the race reach world-class proportions in recent years, will all form part of a memorable weekend’s festivities at the aQuellé Midmar Mile.

The weekend of racing will include another new innovation that will cement it’s connection to The Unlimited Dusi Canoe Marathon that starts next week, when a novel Dusi Dash – with R30,000 in prize money – will see the country’s top male and female paddlers dicing it out over the mile-long swimming course in an effort to earn prize money, bragging rights, and a psychological edge over their rivals ahead of the three-day race from Pietermaritzburg to Durban next week.

The aQuellé Midmar Mile takes place on 9 and 10 February at the Midmar Dam, just outside Howick in the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands.

Click here for more info on the Midmar Mile.


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