I had the opportunity this weekend of swimming for the 8 Mile Club. This was the fourth occasion that I have done Midmar for them. The 8 mile club consists of 50 swimmers who swim all 8 races/miles over the Midmar weekend, on behalf of various charities.
Here are some of the highlights of the weekend.
1. I love swimming, and so Midmar will always be one of my favourite events.
2. Hearing that Lorna Cochran had made it to the other end. Lorna broke the record as the oldest person to complete the race at 89 years of age! She took up swimming when her tennis club kicked her out for being too old to play tennis! She held up the start of the next race by a few minutes, as she had to cross the finish before the start of the next race. At that age you are entitled to hold up things a bit.
3. Chad Gifford also swam for the 8 mile club. He lost both of his legs after a car accident. He ended each swim by swimming to the right of the finish chute and directly to where the 8 mile tent was. Friends would then pick him up on a trolley of sorts and get him ready for the next swim. Chad is one of those people who do not want sympathy. All he wants is an opportunity to get tested to the limit, and Midmar affords him just that. This is a picture of Chad from last years event on his way back by boat to the start line.
4. Seeing Craig Dietz participating in the race was also a moment that I will never forget. Craig was born without arms or legs, and yet swam in one of Sunday’s races. We were lined up at the start when the announcer told the crowd that Craig was on his way. The boat stopped 10 meters from the start giving us the first opportunity to see Craig’s face. He nodded to one of the people on the boat who put his goggles on and then nodded to Terence Parkin who then picked him up and dropped him over the side of the boat. A few moments later his head popped up and he acknowledged the applause of those gathered nearby. One of his jokes goes as follows, “What do you call a guy with no arms and no legs in the water?” Answer, “Bob”. A lot of swimmers dread the start of open water races because of the amount of bumping that takes place. I cannot imagine what Craig goes through at the start of a race like that. Craig managed to complete the race, thereby stripping all of us of the excuses we so readily collect as to why we can’t take on challenges. His time was brilliant and he refused the use of a wheelchair to get across the line.
5. I swam the fourth race on Saturday with my 13 year old son. The fourth race on a Saturday is the family race. There was a huge group of kids swimming with either one or both parents. My boy rocked the race. He managed to get into his stride from early on and held his pace for the entire distance. I would encourage all parents to do an event or two with their kids, these memories are what life is all about.
6. Doing 8 Mile club with one of the members of the SBR swim squad and watching him race strongly through each race. This is one mega proud coach.
A big word of thanks goes out to all who organise this amazing race.
– Year after year, Wayne Riddin manages to pull off one of the best events of the sporting calendar.
– The life guards also need to be thanked. They work tirelessly over the weekend. There would be no Midmar without them.
– Stan Kozlowski as usual did his very best to make sure that the 8 Mile swimmers are cared for, fed and pampered.
– Thank you to the student physios who looked after us in the 8 mile tent. One of the physios released a small collection of knots in my triceps muscle and another physio managed to find a collection of knots in both Rhomboids. Their expert help made the whole experience possible, although I was tempted to let out a small whimper with the second physio, as she hit the sore bits. (Thinking of Chuck helped, and the whimper was suppressed).
Well done to all who participated over the weekend. Enjoy your medal and the memories.