Midmar Mile 2012
It’s the largest open water swimming event in the world, with the Guinness World Record to prove it, and it happens every year, right on our doorstep. The Midmar Mile, thousands upon thousands of swimmers racing individually and in teams, against each other and themselves.
Three weeks before the big day I noticed a Facebook event where a few of my friends were discussing the arrangements. Not one to miss out, I joined them and was soon in the pool training. Two weeks later I was comfortably swimming 2km in the pool, a mile is approximately 1.6km, and felt like this would be a breeze.
When the day arrived, it was cold, and the dam was overflowing. Apparently these are the toughest conditions to swim it in. One of my friends had gotten sick during the week, and the others suggested I take her place in the team instead of registering separately.
[caption id="attachment_2160" align="alignleft" width="400"] Image by Action Photo. www.actionphoto.net[/caption]
After collecting my cap, timing device and number, I was herded along with some friends into colour coded waiting areas. Each colour would be released in a staggered fashion to space out the massive volume of people in the group race. Soon I was standing knee deep in the freezing water waiting for the go ahead.
Caught up in the excitement I swam fast in the beginning, successfully navigating the people around me and finding some space to swim. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before I encountered obstacles. By obstacles I mean people, and by people I mean stupid people. Interestingly most of the people getting in the way, hitting and scratching me, or attempting to pull off my swimming shorts were woman. It was like being in piranha infested water.
By the time I was at the half way mark and had more space my one leg decided it had had enough of this freezing water and began to cramp. I continued to crawl along with the other, until they decided to swap places. The original cramping leg was ready for more and the other decided it was time to rest. None of this had ever happened during training or any other time I’ve swum, and I had easily swum double the distance before. I was not impressed.
Finally the finish line was in sight. I climbed out the water like a sea monster and shivered my way over to my friends waiting in modest excitement for those of us that were swimming. My final time was 44:59 minutes, in 1847th place. I was slightly disappointed but considering the race I’d had it wasn’t that bad.
We chilled and cruised around checking out the random stalls before making the trip back home. My personal race may have been far from perfect, but it was a great experience. Shiny medals always make you feel good. I look forward to next year, and to being more prepared.