As 2008 drew to a close and I mulled over what the new year would bring, my thoughts drifted to the possibility of completing a long distance triathlon. Inspired in no small part by Vickie's (my wife) tremendous achievements. I started to contemplate the training involved and to think about suitable events. The reality of how much time and training that would be involved started to sink in and another challenge of even more significant proportions forced itself into my consciousness. I have for some years pondered the possibility of swimming the English Channel, casually mentioning this desire to friends with the sort of condescending response you would expect when a small child says he would like to grow up to become an astronaut. But without any impetus it never went any further than a poorly conceived thought. I suppose we all need something bigger than ourselves to get us inspired sometimes and so the idea that I could use this challenge to raise some money for charity started to solidify the channel swim. In particular Mike's (my father-in-law's) personal battle with pancreatic cancer was an inspiration. Pancreatic cancer, I have discovered, is relatively poorly funded and despite modern medical advancements still as lethal a form of cancer today as it was 40 years ago. My other inspiration was to raise some money for the local historical swimming pool in Cheltenham, the Sandford Lido. Built in the 1930s it was almost buried under concrete in the 1990s to make way for car parking but saved by a group of devotees who now voluntarily manage the pool for the benefit of the community. It is a beautiful outdoor pool, surrounded by manicured gardens and flowered beds. One of only the few 50m swimming pools in the country. It is such a wonderful community facility that helping to preserve it for future generations seems a very worthwhile venture.
My hope with this blog is to record my experience of training and preparing to swim the English Channel in September this year and facilitate raising some money for these very worthwhile charities.