The pre-entry excitement is rising as Nelson Mandela Bay gets ready for the 94th running of the historic River Mile on Sunday 18th February at the picturesque Cannonville village along the banks of the Sunday’s River.
The inaugural race was held in the river at Redhouse on Sunday 20th January 1924 and was declared by all to be a huge success. Perhaps the greatest feature of the race was the fact that 48 men started and 44 completed the distance. A handsome cup was presented by Mr AW Murrell, of Redhouse, for this race, it being his express wish that the race be a long distance. As it is today, the race is a “two-in-one” race, for the first home becomes the River Champion, while the first five home from any one club become the champion team. In 1924 the Redhouse team turned up the winners of the teams, having the first five home while the first swimmer in was the youthful Roy Gregory of Redhouse.
Nelson Mandela Bay is honoured to host one of the World’s oldest swimming events and in more recent years, the River Mile has enjoyed considerable popularity and has been extended to include other events like a 5km family fun run, off-road triathlons, a swim across the river for kids under the age of 12 now swimming the Mile, a Mile for disabled swimmers and in more recent years a Mile for those wearing wetsuits. Since relocating to Sunday’s River in 2010, the event has attracted well over 1,000 participants.
The 94th running of the River Mile will see all events and festivities taking place on the same day and is expected to draw huge crowds as the action packed festival with the charity being highlighted by this event being the Smile Foundation under the banner ‘Swim a Mile for a Smile’. There is an entry fee of just R20 into the festival area for spectators and gates will open at 7am.
The first event, the 5km Family Fun Run, start at 8am followed by the About IT Off-Road Triathlons at 09h00. Two distances are available for the triathlon, the short course being a 250m tide assisted swim, 20km MTB Cycle and a 5km Run with a minimum age requirement of 16 years (as at 31 Dec 2018) whilst the long course triathlon is a 500m swim, 42km MTB cycle and a 10km Run and the minimum age of entry is 20 years. The About IT triathlons are open to both individuals and teams.
The swimming races get underway at 11am with the increasingly popular ‘Across the River Races’ for children 12 years and under who are not taking part in the Mile events. This year the races will be run separately for the 6u, 8u, 10u, 12u age groups as well as the special needs kids race. Prize giving for the Kids races will take place at 12h15. At 12h30 the Disabled swimmers and swimmers in the Blu_Smooth Wetsuit Mile race get under way followed by the Ladies Mile at 13h30 and the Men’s Mile at 14h30. Prize giving for the Triathlon events and all the Mile races will take place at 15h30.
The festival offers something for the whole family with an array of great vendors and exhibitors complementing the Castle Lite Beer Garden and the popular Wimpy Rotary Kids Zone which will be open all day. Further information and online registrations for all events can be found at www.rivermile.co.za