With the countdown to the 2013 aQuellé Midmar Mile reaching the 100 day mark, the race’s 8 Mile Club has handed over more than half a million rand to seventeen local charities from their fundraising efforts at this year’s race.
The club requires the swimmers to complete all eight races on the Midmar Mile programme, and in the process raise funds for the various charitable organisations that are identified by the club each year.
The idea was born in 2001 when Stan Kozlowski decided to try and swim all eight miles to raise funds for the Conservation Trust. Kozlowksi formalised the club with Mervyn Bremner in 2004, who currently leads the list of swimmers who has completed the most Miles with 102 swims.
THE 8 MILE CLUB
There are currently 50 swimmers in the 8 Mile club, and each is expected to raise at least R10 000 for the various charities each year. Each pays an entry fee that covers their entries into all the miles, as well as food, apparel and the boat trips to take them back to the start of each race.
“It is absolutely wonderful to see the 8 Mile club grow from a handful of people to the organisation we have today that can raise a significant amount of money for charities,” said Kozlowski. “What is even more encouraging is the fact that there are some younger swimmers in our group who will be able to take over the mantle in the future.”
“In really good years we have been able to raise over a million rand, and every cent goes to the charities chosen by the swimmers, not one cent goes to administration,” he added.
Kozlowksi heaped praise on the legendary Mike Arbuthnot, the founder of the Midmar Mile in 1973, who has swum the eight miles three times. “Mike will be joining us thisyear to swim four miles as part of the 40th anniversary celebrations. That will take him to 80 finishes in the year that he turns 80,” said Kozlowksi. “That is remarkable.”
GENEROSITY OF HEART
He added that spirit evident in the 8 Mile club was as important as the amount of money raised every year. “We have a waiting list to join and we choose people with a proven track record in fundraising,” said Kozlowski.
“But it is wonderful to share this generosity of heart in this club,” he added. “The more we can give to charity the fuller our lives become.”
The charities currently enjoying the support of the 8 Mile club are ACT Save the Rhino, Assist Change in Action, the Cancer Association, CHOC, Gateway Christian School, the iThemba Lethu Aids Orphans Home, KZN Cystic Fibrosis, the KZN Society for the Blind, the KZN Society for the Deaf, Little Angels, Little Eden, Pam & Colin’s Foster Home, Pevensey Place for Cerebal Palsey, the SA Guide Dogs Association, the SPCA, Thandanani Children’s Foundation, Village Safe Haven Children’s Home, and the Wildlands Conservation Trust.