Kevin has taken on the Aspire Channel Swim every year since 2008, raising over £7,000

I first signed up for the Aspire Channel Swim in 2008, when I picked up a leaflet about it at the swimming pool in Horsham. I have always enjoyed sporting challenges and raising money for charity, having previously run the London Marathon and cycled from Land’s End to John O’Groats, and this seemed liked a suitable challenge to take on.

I have signed up every year since because I enjoy the challenge and because of the time of year it takes place; it gives me motivation to continue to exercise through that period when daylight hours are diminishing and you need additional motivation to get out and exercise. I also enjoy fundraising and I feel that, if I can raise some money for charity alongside keeping myself fit, it is a win-win situation for all concerned. 

I used to run a lot and completed the London Marathon twice. However, I had knee cartilage issues and had keyhole surgery back in 2006. After that I developed Achilles tendon issues, perhaps because I was overcompensating for my knee issues. Consequently, I had to reduce my running and have found swimming to be a good non-impact alternative, particularly during the winter months when it is less easy to cycle (which I enjoy during the summer months). I actually learnt to swim relatively late in life, when I was at university back in 1980, and I appreciate that it is an important life skill to have. 

Kevin swimming

I swim for fitness and health.  I don’t have any particular challenge with swimming, except that I am getting a little slower with age! I mainly swim at Pavilions in the Park at Horsham, but I have occasionally swum at Steyning Leisure Centre, Billingshurst Leisure Centre and also K2 in Crawley.  Last year I managed to complete my penultimate swim at the London Aquatic Centre which was a real thrill, having been there during the 2012 Olympics on the final night of competition. It was something special to swim in the competition pool there, as well as swimming in a 50 metre pool, which I rarely get the chance to do.

The Aspire Channel Swim is a difficult challenge that requires a certain level of organisation but is also something that is achievable provided you stick to a regular schedule. For people taking it on for the first time this year my advice is to keep on track and, if possible, to get a little ahead. I find having a few times a week when I’m able to swim gives a little flexibility. It often may feel like it’s a bit of a pain to go out on a wet dark evening when I’m perhaps not feeling that energetic, but I almost always feel better for having done so afterwards. 

For my fundraising, I’m lucky to have a number of regular supporters and I ask my friends, family and colleagues through email, Facebook, LinkedIn and talking about it with people I meet who don’t know that I am doing it. I have also been able to secure matching fundraising from my company which definitely helps, although I suspect in future that my fundraising will drop off when I eventually retire from work.  

I don’t personally know anyone with a spinal cord injury, but I enjoy fundraising for causes that help people. When I first undertook the challenge I had previously been raising funds for a friend who had suffered a life changing brain injury (when I did the Land’s End to John O’Groats cycle challenge). I know it made such a difference to my friend what we were able to achieve.

Sponsor Kevin

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