The 2021 edition of the aQuellé Midmar Mile is set to be held over two weekends for the first time as organisers aim to accommodate more swimmers while adhering to Covid-19 rules.
The iconic event annually takes place at the Midmar Dam in Howick, just outside KwaZulu-Natal’s capital.
This year’s Midmar Mile, which was initially scheduled for Valentine’s Day weekend, was postponed to March 13 and 14 after the country was placed under Lockdown Level 3 in December due to the surge in Covid-19 cases in the country.
The Witness can confirm that the organisers have taken a decision to host the world’s largest open water swim on the weekend of March 6 and 7 and a week later.
On Monday, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that the country will remain on Level 3 but with eased restrictions.
Midmar Mile race director Wayne Riddin said the organising team are due to meet this weekend to discuss the way forward for the event.
“We are meeting this coming weekend to discuss logistics and what exactly the latest lockdown regulations mean for us,” said Riddin.
“We have delayed the event by a month and spread it over two weekends in March to remain as accommodating and flexible as possible and ensure a perfectly safe aQuellé Midmar Mile for everyone involved. Once we have discussed all the logistics, we will make further announcements with details on exactly how the event will be run.”
Riddin said while the race will lose it original feel, the safety of people is more important. “It will obviously be very different from usual, with no mass starts or socialising at the finish but, as always, we are committed to the health and safety of all swimmers,” he said.
Announcing the postponement of the event last month, the organisers said depending on Ramaphosa’s next announcement (which was on Monday) and the level of lockdown, some further changes may still need to be made.
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These include the possibility of holding the event even later in the year.
The Covid-19 pandemic has forced the cancellation of a number of local sport events including the Capital City Marathon, which was supposed to take place this month, and there are doubts if the Comrades Marathon will take place on Sunday, June 13 this year as planned.
However, some events, like the Capital K Swim, did take place late last year under very strict regulations.