At the end of January I signed up to the Aspire Channel Challenge for 2019.Continue reading
At the end of January I signed up to the Aspire Channel Challenge for 2019.Continue reading
This week has seen the start of the first ever January Aspire Channel Swim.
The concept is simple – swim the length of the channel (22 miles) in your local pool over 12 weeks. I’ve signed up but decided to make a vow to double the distance, so I need to swim 44 miles by 22nd April. As a (slightly lapsed) swimmer I felt that I should be able to do that – I mean it’s a bit less than 4 miles per week.
Unfortunately for me, a combination of family issues, work and laziness meant that I’ve got off to a poor start and managed a big fat zero this week.
So, as I said, the Aspire Channel Swim starts next week…
And if you want to sponsor me for this you can do here.
Last night I slept rough in Nottingham. I bedded down in my sleeping bag in the cold, dark night and did my best to sleep while exposed to the elements.
I was lucky though, it was just a one off for me as a way to raise money for charity.
The fact is that many people have to do this as a way of life and that’s a disgrace in modern Britain. One of the stats we learnt is that rough sleeping increased by 132% since 2010. While 3 years ago there were 13 officially counted rough sleepers in Nottingham. Over the last 2 weeks that number has been counted as 85!!
My experience of rough sleeping was with about 100 others as part of the CEOsleepout at Notts County’s ground. We all met up at about 8pm and mingled as we were told some of the stats I mentioned above. Then at about 11pm we made our way outside and put our bedding down at the edge of the pitch.
In the end I coped fine with the experience. I struggled to sleep at first, but clearly slept well as when I woke up at 6am I was the only person left pitchside bar one other person in the corner of the pitch. I’d slept through everyone else waking up, getting up and clearing away all their sleeping kit before making their way inside. So I quickly joined them for a well deserved cup of tea.
However I was able to sleep so well because I knew it was only for one night. It was dry, I was safe and I knew that I was going home afterwards. I was able to dry my sleeping kit off as soon as I got home and start my day no worse for my little ‘adventure’.
Yet there are many people that don’t have those luxuries. They have to bed down in kit still damp from the before, often in places that put them at risk from the elements and possibly worse. And they have to do that night after night. It was to draw attention to those people and to raise money for the charities that support them that we did it – so if you can please spare some pennies by going to my JustGiving page: http://www.justgiving.com/Patrick-Smith-sleepout.
This Sunday I’m hoping to swim Windermere.
I say hoping because there’s a lot that can happen between now and then (not least that we haven’t finalised the logistics) and a lot that can happen during the swim. But I’m committed to making it happen, so all things being well, by Sunday evening I will have swum Windermere.
If I do it, it will be my third length of England’s longest lake (at 10.5 miles) and that fact alone surprises me. I still don’t really consider myself a swimmer, but I seem to be doing a good job of fooling everyone, so I’ll keep going until the charade is spotted.
From a swimming perspective this year started badly with a mental and physical hangover from last year’s bad back. I couldn’t quite find the motivation at the start of the season and so the goals I set at the start of the year will be mainly unfulfilled (that’s for another post). However, over the last few weeks I’ve really started to enjoy my swimming again and have enjoyed both the physical challenge and meditative quality of swimming longer distances. Ever since the Ullswater swim I’ve had my swimming mojo back.
So after the channel relay I decided I wanted to do more. I did have a 2-person relay planned, but unfortunately that fell through, so Windermere was the next logical choice.
I’ve done it before. The first time I just loved being there, the second time I tried too hard to ‘achieve’ something and had a very bad day at the office. Hopefully for the third I can do something between those two. I have a goal, but I also want to enjoy it and have a good day. Fingers crossed.
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One last thing – I have been raising money for charity over the last few weeks with the channel relay and this Windermere swim. This is the last time I’ll mention it, but if you can spare a few pennies for the MNDA then I’d really appreciate it.
Please donate here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-smith-swim
I’m not a great one for using my swims for fundraising. I’m gonna do the swim anyway, so it doesn’t always feel right to ask people to donate to something I enjoy.
Someone very, very important to me lost someone very, very important to her to this shi**y disease, so I wanted to do something.
What I’m actually going to do is swim a channel relay (swimming from England to France as part of team) – twice.
The first is a four-person relay which will hopefully take place at the end of August. In it we will swim for an hour each and I expect to get 3 or 4 swims (so four hours of swimming).
The second is a two-person relay at the end of September. For this one we will swim for two hours at a time and again I expect to swim 4 times, however this will mean eight hours of swimming.
If you think that this is something that is worth a few pennies then please donate. Thank you.
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If you would like to donate, please go to my JustGiving page to do so – http://www.justgiving.com/Patrick-Smith-swim
Today was going to be the day that I completed my channel swim and reached France. It didn’t quite happen.
It wasn’t because the water was too cold and I was suffering with hypothermia, it wasn’t because the currents took me and I wasn’t strong enough to keep swimming for another 3 or 4 hours, it wasn’t because I was exhausted and just couldn’t go on.
No, for me it was because I decided to stand around and chat instead.
You see, my channel swim isn’t in the actual channel, but is part of the Aspire Channel Challenge where people swim the equivalent distance (22 miles) in their local pool. I have 1/2 a mile left to go.
Although I didn’t reach France, I did have some lovely chats.
Firstly I chatted to Ali – like me she is doing the Aspire Challenge. I first spotted her great lap counting device (a stick, with wooden dominoes with a hole drilled into the middle so they could be added or taken off the stick as required) and so I commented on it and we got chatting.
Ali is the perfect example of who the Aspire Channel Challenge is for. She hasn’t swum for a few years (although seemed to have a great stroke), so is using the challenge as a personal motivation to get back into the pool. However on top of that she has a friend that was supported by Aspire a few years ago, so she’s also raising money to repay Aspire’s support.
The challenge is about fundraising and I’m not normally one to ask, but even if you don’t want to ‘reward’ my swimming, then please think of people like Ali’s friend and if you can spare a few pounds that would be great – please sponsor me here: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-smith-2016-aspire-channel-swim.
As well as Ali, I chatted to Scott about open water swimming and front crawl technique and then even had a work chat sat in the sauna!
So, although I didn’t reach France it was a great morning in the pool. And if I can stay in the water long enough I’ll reach France during my cold water dip in Salford Quays on Saturday morning.
I’ve signed up for the Aspire Channel Challenge again this year and it’s been a great way to keep me ‘honest’ and persuade me to go to the pool when I haven’t always felt like it – especially those first couple of weeks when I was still struggling with my back.
Well, I’ve been ‘honest’ enough that I’m now half-way across the channel.
Today I managed 2.2kms and actually swam two fairly quick kilometres – 18:40 and 18:53 respectively – which I’m very pleased with.
Of course the reason Aspire set this up is not to help people like me get back into swimming after back injuries, but instead to raise money. Please consider sponsoring me here.
Of course I’m not swimming the actual channel, but I will be starting the Aspire Channel Challenge.
The challenge is to swim the same distance as a channel crossing (22 miles) in your local pool over a 12-week period. It starts tomorrow (12th Sept) and runs until 5th December.
I’ve been struggling with a back injury this year so I haven’t done much swimming, so it really does feel like a challenge to complete the distance. However, I’ve been swimming a few times and I think I’ll be able to give it a good go.
Although my back is a bit better, it’s a long way from being right, so I’m easing myself into gently. At the moment my swim routine is as follows:
– 100m warm-up
– 4 x 250m swim
– 100m cool down
I’m hoping to gently increase both the total distance I can swim, as well as the distance I swim in one go, so I’ll increase those middle swim sets by 50m every couple of weeks.
The total number of lengths I need to complete to ‘swim the channel’ is 1416, while the above set is 48. So based on that, I’ll need to swim an average of 2.5 times every week for the duration of the challenge.
One of my personal reasons for doing the swim this year is to help with my motivation (to make me go to the pool 2 or 3 times per week), so for that reason, I’ve donated £22 to the cause (£1 per mile). I’d be really grateful if you could spare a few pennies too – please go here to sponsor me: https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-smith-2016-aspire-channel-swim
I’ve signed up again for the Aspire Channel Challenge.
Last year the swimming element of the challenge was easy for me, so I increased the challenge by doing it in 22 consecutive days. This year, after coming back from an injury that has stopped me from swimming at all this summer, it’s the swimming itself that will be tough.
Since I’ve been back in the pool in three swims I’ve managed to swim 1.8kms, so over 40kms for the channel challenge feels like a lot this year.
However, I’m going to do it and I’d love you to sponsor me here – https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/patrick-smith-2016-aspire-channel-swim (where you can read most of this blurb again).
As Aspire says: “Every eight hours someone is paralysed by a Spinal Cord Injury and Aspire provides the essential equipment, advice, housing and grants that spinal cord injured people need to live their lives independently. This is a big challenge, but the more I raise, the more of a difference I’ll make, so please be generous!”
And of course, you can sign up too if you want to take part in the challenge – just go here: http://aspirechannelswim.co.uk/
Last September, as the new school year was starting, a colleague and I heard a few stories on social media of kids that were not able to take part in school PE because they didn’t have any kit – not that they’d forgotten it that day, they really didn’t own any suitable kit.
This shocked us – we’re both very active and love what doing sport, being active, just moving does to our bodies and our minds. We were amazed that this was happening in the UK and we both felt that those kids were missing out on something fundamental to what being a kid, or even just a person, is all about.
Rather than just forget about it we looked into ways we might be able to do something about it.
We’ve thought, chatted, asked for advice and then thought some more and think we have a plan that can make a big difference to kids’ lives. We want to develop a daily sport / exercise / movement programme for school kids. Our goals are very simple:
– The primary goal is to be a ‘trojan horse’ that will actually allow us to give away sports kit to any school child that needs it. They can then be active when and how they choose – whether at school, at home, or in clubs and teams – without being limited by a lack of kit.
– The secondary goal is to create an interest in sport so that more kids want to take part and enjoy sports – to inspire sport as a way of life for all.
We have the outlines of a plan and want to create a pilot programme with a couple of different schools. We hope that a successful pilot will then allow us to go and ask for funding from a variety of organisations so that we can start to roll this out.
This is where you come in – please help us raise some money to create the trial.
We think we need £6,500 to run this trial.
That money will fund the cost of the kit and printing posters & wall charts etc and petrol costs and all other expenses. But, and we have to be honest about this, it will also cover some of the time it will take to make this happen. We’ve already spent a lot of time on this and as passionate as we are about it, we unfortunately can’t give up the massive amount of time needed completely for free.
For the pilot we will target two different schools and hope to have the involvement of at least one class in each, in different year groups.
We will support the schools throughout the year as they run through the programme, but we will also use their feedback to improve and update our programme.
As soon as the pilot is underway we will be using it as a proof point to try and gain access to other pots of money – from government and local government, sports teams and organisations and the commercial sector. The pilot will just be a stepping-stone to a greater roll-out of this programme.
The Programme – Train to Tokyo
The programme will be a series of games, sports, exercise routines that will earn the kids points and get them closer to Tokyo – the hosts of the Olympics in 2020.
To achieve this, all the children in a class will be given a set of kit (shoes, shorts and t-shirt) that will allow them to take part in sport, whether at school, at home, or in clubs and teams. The kit will be subtly branded and so the kids will form a ‘team’. We also hope to be able to persuade local and national companies to offer discounts to kids that are wearing their kit.
The exercise programme will be a quick and easily adaptable one that can be incorporated into the school day – it will be similar to the ‘Daily Mile’ programmes that are starting to gain popularity. However, we will also try and focus on some of the less well known Olympic sports.
Where possible we will develop links with sports organisations and sports people to arrange visits from Olympians to schools. If a kid isn’t enthusiastic about football, netball or athletics, we hope to show that there are many, many more sports out there that they could enjoy.
We will also create a programme for schools that will go way beyond just physical exercise. By setting it out that the kids are working towards Tokyo we can introduce a range of other educational elements. Geographic targets allow for the introduction of geography, language and religion lessons to be included, while the points themselves can be included in maths lessons.
Of course this is about more than just school sport. Schools will be how we will deliver this to kids, but we want to create interest and excitement for sport in the kids that otherwise would be left out. We want to light a fire that cannot be extinguished and create a new generation of active people.
We already have teachers on board who are offering valuable advice about how this can be incorporated into classrooms. We will creating a board of experts that will advise on everything from the educational requirements of our programme, through the financial aspects to the creation of fitness programmes.
We are not at this stage a registered charity, nor even a formal business. That will come. At present we are an idea and a passion that we want to get working on – but we need your help. However, we also need your trust.
If you can help us out financially then we ask that payment is made to Joshua PR (my business). A completely separate account will be created for this and the incomings and outgoings of this account will be tracked and managed by the bookkeepers and accountants that currently work for Joshua PR. We will also make this available to anyone that donates if they request to see it.
But right now, we can’t simply set up a JustGiving page, so we ask you to trust us.
There are kids out there, in the UK, that are not physically active simply because they don’t have the kit to be able to be active in. They are missing out on all the benefits of an active lifestyle – the health benefits, the mental benefits and the life lessons, friendships and self-confidence that can come from sport.
We think we can do something to help alleviate this situation. We are asking for your help.
If you’re able to donate, please get in touch and I’d be happy to chat it through more and also provide details for your donation.