15 February 2007

MiDmAr MiLe (onethousandsixhundredmeters)

*update*: Official Midmar Time, as per Midmar Mile website=
40minutes and 29 secs!

The sun was scorching- temperature according to the car was almost 40 degrees. And this was 8am in the morning! How hot was it going to be when the race started at 9:45?

He was tired. Had left Jhb Fri afternoon and spent the night in Newcastle. Not much sleep to be had there, as his family was excited about their upcoming Cape Town trip. Nevertheless, he woke up early, prayed the Morning Prayer and left as the run rose slowly on the horizon.

Thousands of people, numbers on their arms, in swimming outfits, complete with plastic caps and goggles, all heading for the starting line. The speed boats were still running up and down the dam, making last minute adjustments. The buoys were to be placed 400m apart, as a guide to the swimmers. Instructions were continuously being bellowed over the loud speakers, but he failed to pay attention to them.

9:30am and there are just 15 minutes for the race to start.
“Where do I go?”
‘To the start.’
“Where is the start?”
‘Way over on the other side of the dam.’
“How do I get there?”
‘Well, you could walk. Or take a kombi from this side.’
But it seems like almost every pale face in the country is standing in this kombi queue! Guess I will walk.

He eventually gets to the start line.
‘Sir, what is your race number?’ The guy at the registration desk asks.
‘Ok. Quick, the race is about to start. Just write your name down and I will find it for you.’
“Ok. Here you go. Thanks that’s me. Green cap. Ok, cool. So I just put it on and wait to start swimming? Ok thanks so much. Yes, I did pay attention to the rules and instructions. [Oops!]”

The gun goes off. A few hundred red caps can be seen running towards the dam. A few minutes later it’s the yellow caps. Now the green caps stand on the banks of the river, waiting for the instruction to start. All of a sudden there seems to be a drunken frenzy. Hoards of people, mostly white, old and young, fat and thin, are running to jump into murky, muddy, cold water! They push each other and jump in, some healthier bodies belly flopping. There is no space to swim for him to swim for about 100 meters. He gets kicked in the face and kicks a few others behind him in return.

Three weeks of training free style helps little. Breathing in choppy fresh water is not as easy as breathing in a pool. Breast stroke its going to have to be. First buoy is passed quite quickly- much quicker than anticipated. The second buoy takes much longer- muscles must be tiring and working slower now. The water is muddy and murky. The bottom of the dam can’t be seen. But the thought of what’s probably down there propels him on. That was half way. Only 800 meters to go!

The next buoy comes up much quicker- the muscles must be used to the circular motion of breast stroke by now. Only 400 meters to go and the finish line looks really close. In a few minutes it’s over. The midmar mile.

Apparently the buoys drifted a bit. The halfway buoy was much closer to the finish, and so was the third buoy. Possibly the reason he managed to finish it in plus minus forty seven minutes.

Check out GLOBAL MUSLIM for some humour!


fida said...

wow! good stuff!


queen_Lestat said...

congratulations :)

Zahera said...

woww.. i like that! :-)

'liya said...

Oooh congratulations!

brotherhood said...

salaam, congratz :D

Bilal said...

@fida, queen, zahera, 'liya & bhood:

saaleha said...

comrades comrade?

Anonymous said...

Love and fresh air is back. So u say its posssible, wish it was that easy. Midmar Looks like fun, i shud try it sometime, 47 min, ok maybe not.......:-).

Fatima said...

Cool man!
Well done!!

Bilal said...

nah, thats too hard core mate!

love and fresh air?
everything is possible!
actually 40.29- serious. try it..