I’m not sure where I first came across the idea of swimming the Solent, but I knew immediately that this was an event to be added to my bucket list. I’m fascinated with channel swimmers and I’ve followed the journeys of Adam Walker and Beth French on their Oceans 7 challenges. Swimming the English Channel not something I’m anywhere near ready to attempt, but the Solent seems far more achievable.
If your dreams don’t scare you, they aren’t big enough….
I’ve got several sprint and olympic distance triathlons lined up this summer. I’m completed these distances many times before and whilst they are still a challenge, they no longer scare me. I needed something which would push me out of my comfort zone and really test my capabilities. The Solent swim presents me with that challenge. It’s a busy shipping lane, swimmers need to negotiate around ferries and hovercraft travelling to the Isle of Wight. There will be strong tides, jellyfish and the water could be as cold as 15 degrees. Just thinking about it gives me butterflies in my stomach so I knew I had to do it!
I did a lot of research and spoke to several people who have completed the Solent swim. Aspire came highly recommended as the charity who have the most expertise in organising these events. I’ve already completed a pool-based swimming event for Aspire, so I’m familiar with their work. After more months of deliberation, I finally signed up to do the swim with a planned date of 2nd September 2017.
The swim goes from Fort Gilkicker in Gosport to Ryde on the Isle of Wight. It’s a distance of 2.5-3 miles depending on tides and I will be escorted by a RIB (rigid inflatable boat) and a kayak. I will definitely be wearing my wetsuit! There is a training day in Dover in July where I will be completing a 2 hour sea swim as preparation.
Aspire is a national charity that provides practical help to people who have been paralysed by spinal cord injury. People affected will lose muscle and sensory control and the majority become full time wheelchair users for the rest of their lives. Through its projects and programmes, Aspire offers practical support to the 40,000 people living with a spinal cord injury in the UK so that they can lead fulfilled and independent lives in their homes, with their families, in work places and in leisure time.
Before the date of my swim, Aspire require a guaranteed £750 in fundraising. I’ll be honest, I was unsure that I could meet this target and I hesitated to sign up incase I fell short. However, swimming for a charity is going to be an incredibly rewarding experience, it’s a chance for me to make a real difference to people affected by spinal cord injury. It is also extra motivation to train and complete the distance on the day.
On that note, if you would like to make a donation to my fundraising target I would be eternally grateful. You can donate via this link. It is difficult at this time of year when so many people are running marathons for charities, so even the smallest donation would be appreciated.
What did challenge are you taking on this year? Do you have any fundraising tips?