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
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 posted this tweet as a little joke last night:
Obviously it was intended as a dig at Ryan Lochte and his ‘antics’ in Rio and the aftermath for him with regards to sponsors backing away from him. A couple of my friends (Rach & Hazel) saw it and we swapped a few tweets about how nice it would be, then I posted this one:
But then I got to thinking about it more seriously…
I’ve read recent reports that Speedo was due to pay Lochte $50,000 which it is now donating to charity. I’m not sure if that all of the annual fee he receives, or just the Olympics related portion of it, but just think what some non-Olympic athletes could do with that sort of money – and actually how it could change the profile of a sponsor to get involved at that level.
I can’t speak for everyone, but I LOVED watching the Olympics, but I can’t say I was particularly inspired.
I’m sporty. Apart from the horse stuff and the wrestling I’ve probably had a go, in one form or another, at nearly every Olympic sport. But to watch it on TV, well they might as well have been completely different sports. I will never ever swim as quickly as Phelps (or Lochte) or run as fast as Mo. Even watching the badminton made it look like a completely different sport to the one I’ve played a few times. For that reason, those people are not my sporting inspirations.
I’m a fat, middle aged, single parent who also tries to stay fit and swim a bit. The people that inspire me, the people that I really want to be like are the slightly less fat people that finish the swims 10 or 15 minutes ahead of me (even those that finish 2 hours ahead of me are already considered to be on a different planet). Those are the people I look up to, the people who’s kit I surreptitiously check out, or who’s training programmes I try and copy. So why aren’t they sponsored?
Dear Speedo, please sponsor some more ‘normal’ athletes.
This also links to the reports about the cost of the GB team’s medals – apparently it is just £1.09 per British person per Olympic medal won in Rio. Don’t get me wrong I’m happy to pay for that success and well done to all the medalists. But maybe, just maybe, we could just pay 99p each to all the athletes on the medal track and 10p towards greater participation in sport – in building basketball courts in inner cities, in increasing disability access to sport, in hiring more school sports teachers, in preserving playing fields and football pitches etc etc.
The medal success is great and I loved watching the golds, silvers and bronzes rack up over the last couple of weeks, but I’ll have forgotten much of it within 10-15 years (if not sooner). Yet as a nation think how much better off we would be in 10-15 years time if more people were more active. If you believe that sport is a good thing in itself, then surely we want as many people as possible to have the chance to take part, but aside from that – we would increase the pool of potential Olympians if more kids were active and massively reduce the burden on the NHS if people generally led a more active life.
As a major player in one of the major Olympic sports Speedo, you could do something about that right now.
Don’t find another Lochte, instead 5 or 10 ambassadors for your sport and your company and sponsor them.
And if you’re looking for suitable people and want a fat, middle-aged bloke, then yes I am available. But also look at Rach and Hazel too please – completed Ironman event, channel swims between them, they are the real inspiration for everyday folk.
… to sponsor me for the Aspire Channel Swim.
The challenge, as established by Aspire, was to swim the English Channel (22 miles) in your own pool. To make it more ‘fun’ I decided to swim a mile a day for 22 days in as many different venues as possible. In the end I managed 20 different venues as I had to use my local pool three times due to my son being ill for a couple of days and not having the time to travel anywhere.
However, not all of those venues were pools as I managed at least two different open water venues.
For most of the days of this challenge I swam a bit more than a mile, in fact I averaged 2kms per day over the 22 days, but I only counted a mile towards my target. And of course I’ve continued to swim – just not every day. In fact since the start of the challenge I’ve swum about 41 miles – so I’ve nearly completed my return crossing of the channel too.
The challenge isn’t over until December 7th and many people are still swimming and fundraising hard. If you know anyone swimming for Aspire, please support them in any way you can – whether it’s verbal encouragement, a piece of cake or financial support through sponsorship.
And it’s not too late to sponsor me – www.justgiving.com/patrickJPRaspire/
I recently did a sponsored swim in order to raise money for the RNLI. The plan was to swim the equivalent distance to the length of Windermere in the pool, during the month of October. Unfortunately I didn’t quite make it – but my sponsors still kindly donated.
Over the Xmas period I met up with the organiser of the sponsored swim and I was awarded a certificate in recognition of my efforts. However, this should really go to everyone that sponsored me.
I wasn’t planning to swim in the lake itself, but instead to swim the equivalent length in the pool throughout the month of October. It was a challenge set by the RNLI to raise sponsorship for its outstanding work. But I failed.
In total I managed 14.7kms – 2.3kms short of the 17km target.
I tried, but there were times when life just got in the way. I’m disappointed, of course I am, but equally it wasn’t because I couldn’t be bothered, it was because I had to prioritise and at the moment family and work come way ahead of swimming and training (although that might change slightly as I get closer to my summer challenges – the Channel and Windermere). But it’s strange to think that in a whole month I couldn’t manage a distance I plan to do in a day (or seven hours) next summer.
Anyway, if you have sponsored me and want to withdraw your offer of sponsorship I completely understand – I would say that the RNLI does amazing work and if I’d told you I was planning to do 14.7kms you probably would have sponsored me anyway. But, I didn’t keep up my end of the bargain, so no questions asked…
Having said all of that, I had a great swim this morning (3.6kms before breakfast) and hopefully I’m back into it again.
Those of you that have read this blog from the start (and those that have had the misfortune to be trapped with me in a pub) will know my thoughts on fundraising. You can read all about it here. However the summary is that I’m not a big fan. I don’t believe that being sponsored will help me complete a challenge – I either will or I won’t and the poor, lickle starving orphans won’t make any difference. While many times that people ask for sponsorship it seems to be an excuse to fund a holiday (yes walking the Inca Trail will raise lots of money and it’s purely coincidence that it is also your life’s ambition!).
In summary, I’m a miserable old bugger!
So this is going to seem like a strange turn around… but can you sponsor me please? I’m going to swim the length of Windermere for the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution).
I’m not going to swim it in one go – the challenge is to rack up the equivalent miles in the pool before November 3rd.
I’ll be honest, it’s quite a convenient challenge for me as I’ve just started my training again, so I’ll be doing the miles anyway. But it is a bit more than I had planned, so it’ll still be a bit of a challenge. However, the main reason for signing up is that it is a great charity – and one very close to the heart of my crew from Windermere last year (Margaret and Graham).
For those of you that don’t know, the RNLI describes itself quite simply – “The RNLI is the charity that saves lives at sea”. That seems like a pretty good summary to me and it does it all as a voluntary organisation – all the crews are volunteers and all the funds it uses are raised through fundraising efforts such as this one.
So, if you enjoyed reading this blog over the last few months (or even if you haven’t and have endured it anyway), please put your hand in your pocket and find a spare £5 or £10. If I know you personally I’ll collect the money from you at the start of November, if I don’t then I’ll send you my bank details and you can transfer the money in there.
I’ll update you here as to how I’m getting on.
For anyone wanting to sponsor me I’m afraid I don’t have a JustGiving page (or the like) as all I’ve been given is a pdf sponsor form to fill in. So if you do want to sponsor me (and why wouldn’t you?) then for us to be able to claim Gift Aid I’ll need your address. If you leave a comment and let me know your desire to sponsor then I’ll get in touch with you – thanks.