Runswick to Whitby Swim - 29/08/10 (or shortly thereafter!)
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11/9/10 - Done! See the VIDEO of the day here.

Training Diary

Saturday, 11th September (7.0 Miles, North Sea) - Done it!

At 1:25pm we set off in good conditions and made Whitby in 3 hours 5 minutes. There's a video of the swim here. Thank you to everyone who has supported and helped to raise a fantastic sum of over £3,000 for RBRB.

Wednesday, 8th September (1.0 mile, pool)

A very leisurely 1 mile final swim before this Saturday, 11th September, the new big day!

Sunday, 5th September (2.0 miles, North Sea)

Set off at mid incoming tide with a very strong on-shore wind. It was pretty choppy and heavy going against the tide ... but that makes excellent training conditions. It should be easier on the day ... I hope!

Friday, 3rd September (2.0 miles, pool)

Oh well ... back to the pool. Have to keep the fitness up now until the big day comes.

10:30am, Sunday 29th August - The Big Day


The village fishing competition set off at 8am in relatively calm conditions, contrary to the surf reports. It quickly turned out that the surf reports were right and most boats abondoned the competition, being escorted home by the Rescue Boat. I put on my RBRB kit and took the helm to have a closer look at the conditions. The Bay was rough, but outside the Bay was huge - Magic Seaweed (surf site) was right - the waves were 6 ft and it was hard work piloting the Rescue Boat through them - taking some concentration. The swim can't happen in this I'm afraid. Magic Seaweed says that by Monday morning the swell will be 12ft - I find that hard to believe but it will be quite spectacular if they're right. The surfers are already gathering at Runswick, judging by the transit vans that have appeared overnight. For more information, have a look at and search for Whitby.

Friday, 27th August 2010 (2.0 miles, North Sea)

A great day for training today albeit a bit close to the actual day. A 2 mile leisurely swim to keep the arms moving. Swam past some yachts anchored in the bay and onwards towards Kettleness and then back in a figure of 8. The Best of U2 on shuffle on the SwiMP3 - very atmospheric. Felt good and looking forward to Sunday.

Thursday, 26th August 2010

No training today - the sea isn't as big as yesterday but it wouldn't have been sensible. I fear I've missed my chance for a final distance session so will just have to give it a go on the day. The forecast is a bit mixed and we'll be watching the conditions carefully. It will be the helmsman's decision on the day as to whether we can go ...

Wednesday, 25th August 2010 (0.8 miles, North Sea)

Not good - intended to do a 4 mile swim today as the final training session. Unfortunately the sea was large, full of weed, thick with silt and foam and extremely heavy going. I either bravely or foolishly gave it a go but decided that discretion was the better part of valour after less than a mile. Sadly there was a terrible tragedy in Whitby today which was a measure of the conditions.

Sunday, 22nd August 2010 (1.0 miles, North Sea)

This one was all about training alongside the boat. I swam out across the Bay for perhaps a third of a mile and then got picked up by RBRB and taken out beyond Kettleness Point. Hopped overboard and started swimming against the tide. It was quite choppy with a strong west wind - there's no way you can get into any kind of rhythm out here. One stroke you're head down under water with your legs up on the back of a wave and the next your reaching for the stroke and clutching air ... every third or fourth breath is abandoned at the last moment to avoid taking in a wall of water. However, it wasn't as cold as expected and overall was substantially better than my worst case expectation.

Saturday, 21st August 2010 (1.5 miles, North Sea)

Very much into the winding down phase of the training. I'll be dipping in the sea every now and again during this last week, just to keep the arms turning, but there will only be one long swim on Wednesday and then the next one after that will be the main event on Sunday 29th.

Wednesday, 18th August 2010 (4.0 miles, pool)

Another one under the belt. Suffering quite a bit of lower back pain - it must look a bit odd when I curl into a ball and sink every half hour ... the only way I've found to stretch it out.

Saturday, 14th August 2010 (4.0 miles, pool)

2.5 hours, 320 lengths front crawl, 2,000 calories - felt very hungry by the end.

Wednesday, 11th August 2010 (2.5 miles, North Sea)

Getting a little easier now - time to step up the distance again. The main problem is the chaffing around the neckline of the wetsuit. If anyone has any tips I'd be very keen to hear ... because if 2 miles hurts I hate to think what 7 is going to feel like.


Monday, 9th August 2010 (3.0 miles, pool)

No jellyfish or other slimy things in the pool! Instead, 2 hours of electric 80's music on the SwiMP3

Saturday, 7th August 2010 (2.5 miles, North Sea)

Still a few jellyfish around, but not as bad. Nevertheless had a bit of a shock when one bounced off my goggles from left field - it gave me such a fright that I tensed up and managed to cramp both of my calf muscles at the same time. I spent approximately 2, very painful, minutes hanging onto my torpedo buoy trying to break the cramp.

Tuesday, 3rd August 2010 (1.5 miles, pool)

A quick dip at lunchtime to check out the new gadget ... a waterproof MP3 player that attaches to your goggles and passes sound to your ears through your cheekbone. A novel idea and it works a treat ... hugely impressed. If you want one, check out

Friday, 30th July 2010 (2 miles, pool)

It was such as shame to be at the coast all of last week and manage almost zero training because of the plague of jellyfish. Anyway, back in Leeds and back to it with today's 1 hour 20 minute pool swim - that's probably a bit more than 2 miles but I like to work with round numbers.

Wednesday, 21st July 2010 (1.2 miles, North Sea)

Jellyfish Sting

Confidence properly shaken! I'd heard that the Bay was full of jellyfish and I was a bit nervous, having been badly stung many years ago in the middle of Runswick Bay. I set off cautiously but fortunately the sea was beautifully clear. Visibility was somewhere around 20-30 metres. The jellyfish below me looked beautiful - blue, big and smooth and the ones on the surface in front of me were a variety of yellow, brown and blue. I'd heard that the big brown ones - they're nasty - were out there somewhere and decided to stay inshore to avoid them. I'd been swimming along the shoreline for almost a mile, checking and swimming around them, when I decided to turn back and head for home. I kept looking out and detouring where necessary ... but I must have become complacent. Suddenly there was a crackling sound and it felt like an electric shock to my neck (the only exposed flesh apart from my hands). The pain was instant and I headed for the beach. Ouch, that hurt! What now? The Bay is full of them and I don't know when I can properly train again ...

Sunday, 18th July 2010 (0.5 miles, North Sea)

Not a great distance covered today. Just trying out some kit - 'Mare' torpedo buoy, GPS, wetsuit etc. Worked a few things out and headed home. GPS not working - need to try with it mounted higher on the shoulders.

Tuesday, 13th July 2010 (1.5 miles, pool)

Another one under the belt - probably need to be stepping the distance up now. Mind you, we're at the coast for a week next week and that's when the training really starts. My biggest worry isn't the distance it's the lack of training in a wetsuit so far - just how much chaffing will there be ... and how much is that going to hurt unless I can get used to it well in advance?

Tuesday, 6th July 2010 (1.5 miles, pool)

The stroke is front crawl and I'm sure my technique needs improving ... a bit late in the day to be thinking of coaching! Now when was it that I last had a lesson ... oh yes, when I was 10. I'm sure the others in the pool (the ones going faster) have a far better technique and are probably looking at me and wondering why I keep labouring on with the style of a startled puppy that's just fallen into the river.

Tuesday, 29th June 2010 (1.5 miles, pool)

I work on the basis that I can swim 1 mile in less than 40 minutes in the pool. My open water time is somewhere around 35 minutes but that's with extra wetsuit buoyancy and without the turning. I really can't be doing with counting lengths - it's so mind numbing - so I reckon that if I swim for 1 hour then I've done just over 1.5 miles. Glancing at the clock every now and again is far less painful than debating with myself whether I've just counted 80 or was that 2 lengths ago! Today I moved up to one hour, so that's 1.5 miles and I felt good so was very happy with that.

Tuesday, 22nd June 2010 (1 mile every week for 9 months)

Since the swim in Windermere some 9 months ago, I have been keeping my hand in by swimming either a 1/2 or 1 mile in the pool once every week. It's not been a huge burdon but there have been plenty of times when I've either struggled to find the time or have felt thoroughly bored by the relentless length-turn-length-turn-length-turn ... If you can blank your mind, or occupy it with some problem that needs a bit of thinking, then it's OK ... otherwise it's been quite a test in its own right. Anyway, it's been done and now it's time to step up a gear. Here we go!