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Midmar Mile

Midmar Mile

11 Ė 13 February 2005

More than a year ago, over a couple of drinks, Sandra, John, and I discussed the idea of putting together a team from JHC to swim the Midmar Mile. In October the first email was sent out to all hikers asking if anyone would be interested in the team event for this year. I was overwhelmed at the number of people who expressed an interest in joining us. By January we had three teams ready to take on the formidable task of swimming across Midmar Dam in Howick, Kwazulu Natal.

Having left entries so late we could only get accommodation at Thurlow on the far side of the dam. We arrived in poring rain and pitched our tents in the wet and mud. We had been warned that the camp was rustic. We are rough, tough, rugged hikers right? We can handle anything right? But this was a bit rustic even for us. We all went to bed early hoping for a good rest, but youngsters partying till 2am dashed our hopes of facing the challenge on Saturday refreshed. We woke to gray skies, drizzle and some very nervous swimmers.

We piled into our cars and drove all the way round the dam to the start, joined queues to get race numbers and caps, got numbers written on our arms and legs and then waited in holding pens with nearly 3,500 other brave competitors. At last the sun came out and warmed us as we waited for the start. Standing up to your waist in cold water waiting for the starterís gun and looking across the dam to the finish 1 mile looks very, very, very far.

The starterís gun went and with a great deal of splashing and kicking we were off. Each big yellow buoy marking another 400m. Finally the finish line, the last dash up the slope, photographers cameras flashing all around, hand in your bar coded race numbers and then receive your medal. We made it! Pushing through the waiting crowds we were greeted by Bill and the girls with our towels and all our friends showering us with congratulations on our achievement.

Congratulations to all the novices on a wonderful achievement. Thank you to all the experienced swimmers who helped the first timers in so many different ways. A special thank you to all the non-swimmers who came along to support us, your help was greatly appreciated by the cold wet exhausted competitors.

I look forward to seeing you all next year.

Team members: Asher, Elsa, Hanneka, Linda, Maya, Janet, Linda, Steve, Sandy, Juliet, Elsa

Janet Wooding