Swimathon 2015: challenge complete!

by Ben Wicks
Media & PR Manager

Ben Wicks, one of Marie Curie’s Media & PR Managers, is taking on the world’s biggest fundraising swim event, Swimathon. In the run up to the challenge Ben will be telling his story, documenting all the aches and pains of training and explaining why he’s raising money for Marie Curie.

Ben Wicks, Media and PR Manager

I did it! Along with more than 22,000 people across the UK, I completed my Swimathon challenge – and it feels great! I wasn’t the fastest, my official time came in as 2 hours 12 minutes, but to me that doesn’t matter. What matters most is that I got through it and picked up that medal.

“I didn’t know what to expect”

It’s been a really tough four months of training for both the London Marathon and Swimathon. Fitting all that training in has been tricky and I didn’t feel I went into the pool as prepared as I would have liked.

The furthest I’d gone was 2.5k, which is 50 lengths, so I was confident about getting to the halfway point, but after that, I was swimming into unchartered territory. I was never in any doubt that I would finish as I’m too stubborn to quit, but as I started my 50th length I didn’t know what to expect.

I’d decided from the outset that I would do it in blocks of ten, with a short one or two minute break before pushing off for the next set. During training this seemed to be a good tactic, so I thought I would stick to it.

The first 50 lengths seemed to go pretty well, I was in my stride and I was doing around 1 minute 20 seconds per length. But, around length 60, fatigue started to creep in and my pace slowed right down. But I managed to grit my teeth and, after one short lull, I found a second wind and started to pick up the pace once again.

Keeping mentally strong

I certainly found that from length 50 to 100 it was more mental than physical. From zero to 50 it felt like I was building up to something, but from 50 to 100 all I was focusing on was the end goal. The last 10 lengths were really enjoyable for me, counting down from ten to one was amazing, knowing that every length I finished I was almost there.

Now that it’s all over it feels strange not having to do my swimming training. Unfortunately this is my last blog as part of the Swimathon Blog Squad, but I can assure you that I will carry on getting into the pool. I’ve really enjoyed blogging, and for those who’ve been reading, I hope you’ve enjoyed them too.

I want to say a huge well done to everyone who took part in this year’s Swimathon, no matter what distance you conquered you should be very proud. Also thank you for all of your amazing fundraising, every pound raised will make a difference to people living with a terminal illness across the UK.

If you’d like to sponsor my effort you can do so below.