The Fierce Five Challenges Completed

This is a video I put together which summarises the challenges, the charities I fundraised for and how much in total I raised.
It also importantly highlights the fact that I would never have been able to do any of this without the support of my amazing wife Angela – The nights and weekends of not having me there with our 2 year old whilst I was off training or competing – She has been an absolute rock!


Fundraising Breakdown

If you don’t want to find out in the video, I raised in total £4,519.88 for the five charities which I’m massively over the moon about, considering that if I added up all of my fundraising targets it would have come to £2,600.00 – so I raised an additional £1,919.88 more than what I thought was possible. I smashed all of my fundraising targets thanks to the amazing generous donations from friends, family and even people I’ve never met before (a special mention goes out to Steven – you know who you are).

Challenges 1 & 2: Swim 1,000 x 25m lengths of a swimming pool & The Great North Swim, Windermere
Charities: Daytrippers Bolton & Kidz2gether
Target: £1,000.00
Raised: £1,721.16

Challenge 3: Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast
Charity: Robert Jones and Agnes Hunt Orthopaedic Hospital Trust Fund
Target: £1,000.00
Raised: £1,756.25

Challenge 4: Tough Mudder 2014, Yorkshire
Charity: AFC Masters Football Club
Target: £300.00
Raised: £425.00

Challenge 5: The Great North Run 2014, Newcastle
Charity: National Autistic Society
Target: £300.00
Raised: £617.47


Fierce Five Challenges – Hardest, Easiest, Most Fun, Best Moment, Worst Moment

Hardest Challenge – Physically
Overall it would have to be the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast due to what it took out of me. The 1,000 lengths swim was probably as hard than the cycling part of the coast 2 coast, but the running/walking part was insanely hard – resulting in blisters, shin splints, long term injuries and strapping.
Order: Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast, 1000 lengths swim, Tough Mudder, Great North Run, Great North Swim

Hardest Challenge – Mentally
They were all mentally incredibly hard which I didn’t realise before I started training for everything. It is the mental endurance more so than physical endurance that gets you through each challenge.
Overall, including training I would say the 1,000 x 25m length challenge was the toughest mentally. The event itself was tough mentally but I was prepared due to the huge amount of training I did up to the event. There were many dark moments when training on my own up to 600 – 700 lengths for 10 hours in a pool with just my own mind and thoughts.
The Great North Run was the toughest event running on an injury and not being able to stop like I was able to in the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast.
Order: 1000 lengths swim, Great North Run, Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast, Tough Mudder, Great North Swim

Most Fun
Tough Mudder was without doubt the most fun challenge I did. This event is not just about physical or mental endurance but the team spirit and camaraderie you get in your team is like nothing other I’ve witnessed.
I did have many laughs with Aidy though on the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast – he was such a top bloke throughout and kept me going whenever I felt like giving up.
Order: Tough Mudder, Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast, Great North Swim, 1000 lengths swim, Great North Run

Best Moment
Too many to choose from – it was a great feeling beating the guy at breaststroke during the Great North Swim but I have to say coming down St Bees Head, the place I’ve visited so many times as a kid, and seeing my own family waiting for me at the bottom to congratulate me on completing the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast.
It was also amazing cycling/free-wheeling 5 miles downhill over 30mph towards Robin Hoods Bay on a roasting hot day seeing the coast coming into view for the first time and then arriving at the sea – that would have been enough on it’s own but to return back again and to the people I cared about most was an amazing feeling!

Worst Moment
There were a few dark moments, one I’ve already mentioned when training for the 1,000 length swim and being completely lonely and bored and just angry with having to keep going.
The return part of the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast when I was walking on injured legs was pretty rubbish but I had Aidy to help me and keep me cheery.
The Great North Run was pretty grim, the event was supposedly addictive, being told I’ll want to do it every year. My running training was so good up to this event but the injury I received just before the event meant that I had to run most of it in agony. At many parts I just wanted it to be over and didn’t know if I had 2 miles or 6 miles to go – but I persevered and got through it thanks to the positive mental training I had done up to this event and the other events – without it I may have not been able to complete it
…. OH YEAH the ambulance trip and hyperventilating after the 1,000 length swim was pretty rubbish as well.

…well that was a bit grim – OK now say something nice about each of the Five Challenges

1,000 lengths swim
The free swimming membership provided by Horwich Lesuire Centre for training. People swimming with me on the day

Great North Swim
My family who came with me for support and beating the fastest guy I’ve ever met at breaststroke also meaning I was the fastest in my wave.

Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast
Aidy keeping me cheery throughout as well as our Keswick night out the day before we returned. The woman who sold me some high grade walking boots for half price due to the charity challenge. The post challenge pub fundraiser was also absolutely fantastic raising over £500.

Tough Mudder
The team spirit was unbelievable and I really bonded with my top mate Jonny. Completing it and everyone hugging and laughing about certain obstacles.

Great North Run
Seeing Angela and Sebastian at the end, having a few teary moments during the run knowing that the Fierce Five Challenges was coming to an end.


Fierce Five Challenges Cost

I spent A LOT of my own money to ensure that I could do these events. I spread this cost over January to September and funded it with a part time graphics design and website development job I’ve been doing in the evenings. Without trying to sound like I’m glorifying myself the following is a brief breakdown of the costs of setting up the Fierce Five Challenges in case anyone is interested in doing something like this themselves – although of course it could be done a lot cheaper than how I did it:

Swim 1,000 x 25m lengths of a swimming pool
•  1,000 length swim pool & training gear – £36.00
•  Nutrition & energy supplements cost – £197.00
Total challenge cost £233.00

Great North Swim 2014, Windermere
•  Entry cost – £39.00
•  Wetsuit – £60.00
•  Transportation, parking and ferry costs – £40.00
Total challenge cost £139.00

Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast
•  1 night camping hire – £20.00
•  3 nights bed and breakfast hire – £125.50 (4 nights cost nothing)
•  Nutrition & energy supplements cost – £196.00
•  Walking boots – £70.00
•  Bike storage pouches, backpack, tubes, spare battery chargers – £76.00
•  Food/drink allowance – £200.00
Total challenge cost £687.50

Tough Mudder 2014, Yorkshire
•  Entry cost – £74.13
•  Nutrition & energy supplements cost – £45.93
•  New trail running shoes – £40.00
•  Transportation & parking – £30.00
Total challenge cost £190.06

Great North Run 2014, Newcastle
•  Entry cost – £50.00
•  Nutrition & energy supplements cost – £12.98
•  Transportation & parking costs – £40.00
Total challenge cost £102.98

Fierce Five Challenges Total Cost £1,352.54 

(Total entry costs – £163.13)
(Total equipment & gear costs – £282.00)
(Total nutrition & energy supplements costs – £451.91)


…Finally Special Mentions and Thank You’s

I could not have done any of these challenges without the kindness and support SO MANY people have shown me since the beginning of this year.

Suzi Moores & The Horwich Leisure Centre
Suzi was amazing with ensuring that I had everything ready on the day of my 1,000 length swim including my own swimming lane. She even swam my first lengths with me as support. The Horwich Leisure Centre gave me a free swimming and gym membership from March to May which Suzi sorted out so that I could go in whenever I wanted to train.

Tom Irving
Tom is a head dietitian and leading sports nutritional specialist. Tom gave me so much support and advice in terms of preparing myself for each event and what supplements to take in the run up to the challenge as well as just before, during and afterwards.

Tim Cromaty
I’ve known Tim since school but we become really close again recently and especially during the Five Challenges. Tim is a swimming legend who gave me loads of advice, a pair of his best goggles which I used for both swim challenges, and a heap of support and praise.

Lisa Eccleshare
Lisa spent hours and hours tirelessly contacting bed & breakfasts all around the route I was taking during the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge. In the end she was able to secure three bed and breakfasts which offered either free or heavily discounted rates saving me around £300 in B&B hire costs.

Adrian Thomson-Massey
The absolute legend who kept me cheery throughout the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge. From being positive, to stopping when I needed to rest my injured legs, putting on his comedy podcasts to cheer me up, having a top time each night after completing each day especially the Keswick night out we had on our penultimate day.

Gareth Macdonald
Gareth lent me his bike for the cycling part of the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge. I had no idea at the time but I damaged the gears from it’s excessive use. After I learned about this I offered to pay for the repairs and he kindly declined saying it’s no problem.

The Bowling Green Pub, Horwich
Nicola and Jason Monks, the owners of The Bowling Green Pub, have been absolutely amazing throughout the Five Challenges. Firstly they let me put a donations pot on the bar for the swimming challenges which came to around £70. Then most importantly they provided the Bowling Green Pub so that I could host a fundraiser after I completed the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge. They provided a free DJ, free pasties, two huge free cakes and most importantly the barrel of beer which was donated by Blackedge Brewery, every penny made from selling the beer went to the fundraiser. The fundraiser total came to over £500.

Blackedge Brewery, Horwich
Blackedge Brewery donated a barrel (firkin – 80 pints) of beer for the fundraiser I hosted at my local pub. They were so eager to support the fundraiser so I am massively thankful to them for this kind donation.

Samantha-Jayne Brady
Once I completed the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge I decided at the very last minute to do a raffle for the fundraiser I had planned at my local pub. For a raffle I needed prizes and I met Sam online after posting on a local website page about local companies wanting to donate any prizes. Sam, who I’ve never properly met before, went around my local town of Horwich and spent the whole day visiting shops asking if they would like to donate. Sam was able to get 13 raffle prizes which were worth over £500. What an amazing kind person Sam is I love her to bits 🙂

Fundraiser Raffle Prize Donators
I mentioned how grateful I was for Sam for searching for local companies but I have to thank those who actually donated prizes from beauty products to meal vouchers to bowling & cinema vouchers to champagne. Incredible stuff and goes to show how kind local businesses can be when supporting good causes.

Park House Bed & Breakfast, Ingleby Cross
Beverley & Michael Robins were absolutely unbelievable. Not only did they provide us with a free night’s B&B but they were so attentive when we arrived, making small repairs to our bikes, washing clothes after I accidentally rolled around in some dog doo doo and even when we returned back to Ingleby Cross on our return journey Michael found us in the local pub and afterwards drove us back to our alternate B&B and said Beverley had made us some homemade flapjacks.

The Fat Lamb Bed & Breakfast, Kirkby Stephen
Paul Bonsall gave us a free night’s B&B and a heavily discounted night’s B&B (busy Saturday) which we were so grateful for. However, Paul was unbelievably caring when we massively underestimated our first day’s cycle arriving at 1am instead of 9pm. Paul who was supposed to finish at 10pm waited up for us and still showed us to our rooms.

Bridgedown House Bed & Breakfast, Richmond
Jennifer was absolutely lovely and gave us a free night’s B&B. When we arrived she showed us to our room, provided ice for injuries and kindly left us to our own devices.

Stephen
I didn’t want to give Stephen’s full name as he would probably think against it being his humble, kind nature. Before I started the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast challenge I decided to go to each B&B dropping off supplies so that they were waiting for us before we arrived. I met Stephen at one of the B&Bs on one of the drop offs and I was in a mad rush to get around to each one. Stephen overheard the conversation I was having with the B&B owners about the challenge and when I bumped into him he wanted to know more details. He gave me some very warm words of praise and encouragement and off we went to the next B&B. What happened next was amazing – on a Facebook Radio 2 page I wrote what I was planning on doing for the challenge and Stephen’s better half Carole wrote a reply on my post saying that Stephen had told her about my challenge and recognised who I was from the conversation. Stephen and Carole are from the other side of the country and we have no mutual friends on Facebook. The link was incredible – and THEN they donated £120. Incredible kind and lovely people – Stephen and I talk regularly now on Facebook – he and Carole are such a lovely couple.

Mystery Great North Run Swimmer
Thanks to the guy who gave me the greatest race I’ve ever been in. The guy was massively muscular and I thought I wouldn’t have a chance of beating him until right at the end when I pipped him.

Angela and Sebastian Carruthers
I’ve already mentioned Angela in the video and at the top of this post but STILL, TRULY, she has been incredibly supportive these last 9 months. When I came up with the idea of doing the challenges Angela was very reluctant with me doing them as she knew that it would entail a lot of hours away from home training. I have honestly tried as best as I could to fit the training around her and Sebastian, such as doing it after Sebastian went to bed and Angela watching her nightly soaps marathon. But there were lots of times when I simply was not there and adding this to the times I’m already not there when I’m off doing my voluntary commitments she has been incredibly supportive. On a selfish note I’ve had to give up a lot of time with Angela and Sebastian, time which I’ll never get back but I knew the sacrifices before undertaking the challenges and I am more than ever making up for the lost time.

…and Finally…
Thank you to absolutely everyone who have supported me whether it being incredible donations or just asking how I’m getting on. There family members who were throwing in £100 donations each time for each challenge which was incredible – but there were also people such as Carole Brennan giving me a huge box of high-grade pasta for free as it was one of the only things I was eating at the time preparing for the challenges. Friends in the pub asking how I was getting on, random people in the pool asking about my swimming challenge, Jonny Turnbull for getting me through Tough Mudder – everyone you have been so kind and I would NOT have accomplished anything close to what I have achieved these past 9 months.

Now everything has finished I’m very restless at the moment and it’s very hard keeping the healthy eating regime. I still can’t do any running until I’ve fixed my leg which I injured during the Coast 2 Coast 2 Coast and made worse during the Great North Run.

I hope to do at least Tough Mudder next year, improve on my swimming & running and perhaps hope to do something huge in 2016. It’s all secrets at the moment and depends on if Angela would divorce me if I was away again.

I’m very proud of what I’ve achieved but most of all I’m just proud of the money that I’ve raised for the incredible charities I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know this year. I’ve made amazing new friends along the way and rekindled friendships with old friends which I will always be in touch with.

The Fierce Five Challenges has been an incredible ride!

Returning on TowerFM to update and promote my latest challenge

This morning I was invited back on TowerFM to give an update and promote my latest challege as their Twit Face of the day! As a reminder, the feature consists of three songs and then someone comes on to promote a cause and leave a Facebook or Twitter link so that people can find out more information. What was also amazing was the show was also being played live on WireFMPeakFM and WishFM, covering areas of Warrington, Wigan as well as Bolton.

TowerFMGraphics

Clip Length: 4 mins 00 secs

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The Great North Swim 2014, Windermere

The Great North Swim 2014, what was supposed to be a simple day, an easy swim which wouldn’t be overwhelming. I practiced and had done many miles in the pool and also in Salford Quays……. so I thought I knew how the day would pan out – my predictions could not have been more wrong.

We left our house at 12:30 giving us four hours to get there in time – easy! En-route we picked up my sister, dropped off Seb at Ang’s mum n dad’s and got some fuel. It was 1:15 by the time we got on the motorway. Luckily my bruv was 30 mins in front of me and I asked him to let me know on his way to Ambleside if there were any traffic issues. We chose Ambleside because it was closer to the event location and didn’t involve us using the ferry saving us £££.

En route, my brother called to say not to bother with Ambleside as he was in a traffic jam and hardly moved for 20 minutes. So we parked in Bowness and decided to take the ferry.

After arriving at the ferry drop off, I was surprised to learn that there was a good 30 minute walk to the event location Low Wood Bay. We arrived at 15:50 so I decided to watch the 16:00 wave to get an idea of what goes on. After this and seeing Rebecca Adlington join in with this wave I noticed that there were a couple of people doing breaststroke so I was really pleased with this. At this point I decided to get ready.

I came out at 16:10, 20 mins before my time and was surprised to see that EVERYONE was already stood waiting at the start area. I thought I missed the acclimatisation and heard the guy on the mic “This is the very last time for people to check in for this final wave” – I was like AARGGGHH WHAT why am I so late? So I ran to the check in area (eventually finding the right side to check in), scanned my ankle chip timer with my wet suit that wasn’t zipped up, the guys helping me zip it up told me I hadn’t put it on properly and that I needed to pull the creases through so that they could zip up and close the wetsuit around my shoulders. They did this, I ran into the start area and my sister then said “Paul you’ve still got your trainers on”. I thought what an idiot the guys must have thought this when I scanned my chip.

At this point I was pretty annoyed at why I was so late even though it was still 15 mins before the swim start. I was quite stressed so I started to calm myself using my CBT and then I saw someone running into the acclimatisation area – I thought I’m coming too – asked the lady next to it if I could also and she said “You have like 30 seconds” – and 30 seconds later after getting used to the water, which didn’t feel massively cold, we were called out to start the body warm up with my wave.

Whilst focusing on the warm up I was thinking and comparing how I do warm ups with the AFC Masters and if I could incorporate some of the things with our guys. I was quite lost in the moment until during the warm up I could then see the floating marker points of the course…. MY GOD THEY WERE MASSIVELY SPACED APART!!! The half way point was a fair distance away you had to squint to see it! The weather at this point was very cloudy, a bit drizzly but warm enough. An Australian open water swimming champion gave us some warm words of advice of not pushing too hard initially and that the waters were very calm. He said the water is 17.9C and in Australia in the winter if the water is less than 20 degrees they refuse to swim it as it’s too cold. Lovely!

16:30 WE GO IN! First thoughts, yep not too bad the water, aim for that first 200m floating marker. It was a bit chaotic at first banging into people even though this was supposedly a small wave of people. My goggles started to steaming up but I was finding my rhythm early, getting my head underwater and pushing the stroke a little quickly at first around 90% pace, hoping that I would eventually relax into it doing longer stokes. I noticed a few swimmers were overtaking me doing front crawl, which was fine and a woman doing breaststroke who was a little faster than I was – I thought just do your thing Paul. You have your own agenda so stick to it – don’t worry about anyone else.

After the first 200m marker I stopped banging into people, and I eventually caught up to and overtook the breaststroke swimming woman. Then I noticed THE GUY who was also doing breaststroke. He was a big guy and very animated with his breaststroke – up and down with every stroke – quite impressive which started making me think about my own technique questioning it. The negativity creeps in ALL THE TIME and you have to fight it, ignore it or laugh it off and think of something positive.

Up to the 400m marker my mind was a constant tennis of good and bad thoughts. Good as in, wow isn’t this amazing, look at the  scenery, Paul you’re doing an open water swim, wow taking part in a challenge with loads of other people. Negative as in, PAUL this is fricking DEEP, you’re in the biggest lake in England, if you struggle here you’re going DOWN a long way!

Up to the 600m marker I realised that this guy and I were pretty well matched. I thought I was pushing a bit hard to be honest and this guy was a little ahead of me all the way up to the half way point so I thought I wasn’t racing him – again just focus on my own swim.

When we approached the half way point I noticed I was still with this guy, sod it I’m sticking with him. I’m being pushed here outside of my comfort zone and my pace was a little high, but I stuck with this guy because I thought if I let him go I’d just see a guy swimming away from me and I would be on my own swimming my own swim and it would seem a little pointless – I could at least see if I could beat this guy. NOW, what annoyed me the most is that this guy had the inside line all the way round the course so even at times when I was half a body ahead of him, every time we went around the floating markers he would make up the difference and level with me.

As we passed the half way point I noticed that I was tiring a bit and my back and legs would come in huge pangs of pain which I needed to ease off a little. I was choking a lot on the water, which resulted me in stopping in the water, panicking, getting my breathing back and carrying on. This allowed the guy to overtake me again. From the 200m marker I reckon we were never more than half a body length apart the whole way, chopping and changing with who was the leader. Reminded me of the Beowulf swimming clip:

Up to the final marker point, I started thinking I’ve been going around 90% pace all the way around, I reckon I have just enough energy to do him now. So at the final marker I went for it, around 95% pace before ultimately realising that I pushed too early. About half way between the final marker and the finishing area I realised I had no energy and I turned and saw he was still only half a body length away!!! NO!!! At this point I thought RIGHT he’s won it – I can’t compete anymore. So I let him go, I swam at around 80% pace and he was now a full body length away if not a little more than that. I was thinking at this point about planning talking to Ang and everyone else who came to support me that about how I tried but there is no shame in finishing second to this guy – the greatest breaststroke swimmer I’ve ever swam with (considering I’ve done thousands of lengths of breaststroke previously).

A third of the way left to swim between the final marker and the finish point, I realised that this guy wasn’t pulling away any more… so I thought OK I’ll up it a bit to 90% again for the final part… I was catching him! Just less than a body length away so I thought LETS DO IT!!! BOOM FULL 100% PACE I had a second wind and I was powering through, reeling him in…. I still thought I didn’t have enough time and approached a bridge finishing point. He was still a little bit ahead, half a body length in front. But I realised – it was not here that was the official finishing point, you had to get up the ramp out of the water – only there was your finish time made. AND GUESS WHAT… it was on my left…. I HAD THE INSIDE LINE THIS TIME! HOW DO YOU LIKE THAT PAL??? OOOUUUSHHHH!!!! I ran up the ramp with absolute no energy, and there were volunteers with smiles on their faces grabbing my hand pulling me up the ramp. There was Ang, Pete, Maria, Helen, Martin, Anna, Luke and his friend and I ran to them who were cheering! I said “Did I beat him?”. They said “YES you were the fastest breaststroke swimmer!!!”. GET IN!!!!

Finish time of 38:01

I said where is the guy? I want to shake his hand and I turned around and he was there and completely blanked me!?!? Fair play mate I felt nothing bad in my blood – if he beat me I would have still shook his hand and said “Good race buddy”. I then walked to the check out area and he was there again and still completely blanked me – I was a bit disappointed being honest! 😦 Oh well!

I got changed and it all started to become real. I just swam the fastest mile I could have ever done. I now wish I could thank the guy for pushing me and making it a brilliant race! I would have got a time of after 40 minutes otherwise. I got my goody bag which contained my t-shirt, medal and lots of food goodies. My shoulders were absolutely battered so I just crammed in the protein.

My brother showed me a video of me getting out of the water and I saw behind me running out of the water and up the ramp this guy was being carried out of the water by volunteers. It wasn’t just me keeping up with him – he was keeping up with me all the way. Wow I felt hugely proud of this. I also realised, scarily, that if my brother didn’t go ahead of me and realised that there was traffic I would have been stuck in it and missed my race!!!

I felt pretty good once we left the venue, getting sausage and chippy chips for tea before heading home for a celebratory beer session evening in Horwich with my best friends.

Now ends the fundraising of Daytrippers and Kidz2gether – two charities I’ve had the ultimate and incredible pleasure of meeting the most amazing people. What I did fair enough was tough at times – these guys crack on and give their time ALL THE TIME and have all been through some tough demanding times with their own kids or foster children. This has been an absolute pleasure doing this for you and is huge thank you for the incredible work you do. I’m sure that this is not the end of our relationship – if not it is just the beginning.

I’ll be presenting the cheques to the two charities on Wednesday – pictures and happy faces to follow soon!

Thanks for reading 🙂

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OurWave
My Wave

GreatSwimResutlsI came 1679 out of 4000 – pretty happy with that consider it was breaststroke swimming, probably one of the fastest breaststroke swimming times

Bolton FM Second Radio Feature Update

Bolton FM have kindly updated their listeners on my progress with the Fierce Five Challenges. Andrew, the presenter updated everyone on my 1,000 length swim and that I’m doing the Great North Swim tomorrow! He also promoted the charities Daytrippers and Kidz2gether so that’s fantastic too!!!

Clip Length: 1 min 39 secs

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A fantatic mention on Bolton FM – Thank you so much for the continued support you’ve given me.

Fantastic Open Water Swim Practice

Cracking swim tonight at a not so cold 17C Salford Quays Watersports Centre. 2km (4 x 500m laps) in 50 minutes which is basically my pool swimming pace.

OpenWaterSwimClick here to view the above activity on Runtastic

Basically my preparations have gone perfect and I’m so pleased. I was the fastest breaststroke swimmer by miles (and some front crawlers not expecting a ginger pale creature undertaking them doing a tougher stroke). Get in son!

It’s quite easy to seem big headed about this but months and months of training have put me in good stead for the swim. I saw people my own age struggling to even put in a decent swim and unable to carry out the stroke correctly. This is what I could have done but I chose to take it seriously and thankfully my 1,000 length challenge training has helped me tremendously. I was able to find my swimming and breathing rhythm and I smashed four x 500m laps without any difficulties. It felt absolutely fantastic to be in there and EVERYTHING going right and having the confidence to push myself knowing I was relaxed and confident in the water.

Chorley FM Live Studio Interview Pencilled In

Barbara Lowe, a radio presenter at Chorley FM has been working hard on getting me on a radio show to promote the challenges.

She has managed to arrange for me to come into the studio next Tuesday (1st April) for a LIVE interview with Jason Conrad at 6:30pm.

I’m so grateful to have such wonderful people allowing me to do these things.

The Bolton News are writing an article about The Challenges

BoltonNewsFeatureI spoke to Liam from The Bolton News this morning and he was massively interested in everything to do with the challenges.

They also want to meet up with me on Thursday at Horwich Leisure Centre before my swim training and take some photos of me in the pool for the article.

What’s even more amazing is that they promised that they will promote not just the two swimming challenges but also promote the other three (C2C2C, Tough Mudder, Great North Run) in the newspaper each time on the run up to each one! How about that!?!

Could not be more grateful or made up at the moment. The media publicity and support has been unbelievable.

Training Schedule Done!

So I’ve done a first attempt or draft at my training schedule which can be viewed from here: Google ICAL Calendar Link

OMG so much to do! I’m going to be so busy all the way up to September. A MASSIVE sacrifice meaning I’m going to miss out on most of the summer relaxing, too many beers etc etc. I can at least look forward to St Bees in July.

With the planning, the biggest thing I have tried to do is fit it around Angela and Seb, although it might not look like it. Most of the evening training is after 7pm so I will be seeing Seb before he goes to bed. There are a lot of weekend commitments that sometimes take up half a day but this was expected training for some of the killer endurance challenges.

It IS SO difficult trying to justify this to Angela as they are both no.1 and my world, They come first but with pool opening times, work and voluntary commitments I have had to put a little bit of family time to the side so I can get the right training done.

Then the question remains Why am I doing these things if they are not as important as family? That’s a tough question to ask. Firstly, my overall lifestyle has changed anyway with fitness and healthy eating which takes up so much time and I cannot have this AND the free time I used to have cuddling on the sofa on a Wednesday watching Emmerdale. The challenges are important to me because things like these were so far away from my grasp a couple of years ago and I feel that now is the right time to attack it whilst I am still young and the time before we start having sprog number 2 and 3.

Angela is so supportive and understands what this means to me. I’ll go through this training schedule again with her and I’ll move things around to ensure that we can have maximum family time whilst keeping this strict training program.

Charity Donation Pages Set Up!!! What’s next?

OK so the five charity donation pages have been setup.

I have setup a joint event donation page for both the 1,000 length swim challenge and Great North Swim which can be found here – http://www.gofundme.com/FantasticFive-Swimming

The Coast to Coast to Coast Challenge charity donation page can be found here – http://www.justgiving.com/PaulCarruthers-FantasticFive-CoastToCoastAndBackAgain

The Tough Mudder Challenge charity donation page can be found here – http://www.gofundme.com/FantasticFive-ToughMudder

The Great North Run charity donation page can be found here – http://www.justgiving.com/PaulCarruthers-FantasticFive-GreatNorthRun

The next things I need to do are:

  • Setup training plans for all five events
  • Work out cost of equipment hire, nutrition, B&Bs etc
  • Contact the local media for promotion
  • Contact big local companies for sponsorship possibilities

Still lots to do – this is becoming relentless and almost too big to manage on my own before I’ve done any actual training!!!

Decided on Joint Swimming Challenge Charities

I have decided to set up a joint online donations page for for two charities Kidz2gether and Daytrippers Bolton for various reasons. I have sent the email below to both charities which explains my reasons for doing so and how I am going about setting this up.

Hello

I am conducting a number of challenges this year and hoping to raise a heap of cash for a number of charities that I have either had the pleasure of being involved in or those who have been fantastic and supportive to my family and friends.

The first two of the five challenges I am attempting this year are as follows:

  • Swimming 1,000 x 25m lengths of the Horwich Leisure Centre pool (est. 12 hours to complete on Wednesday 7th May)
  • The Great North Swim 2014 at Windermere (14th June)

I would like to complete both of these challenges with all proceeds raised split between Kidz2gether and Daytrippers Bolton. I am hoping the 1,000 length swim on it’s own should raise a good amount of money.

There are many reasons why I have chosen these two charities, including the past care for my nephew Luke Carruthers and the continued support you give to the players of AFC Masters, the disability football club I help coach with Iain Massingham.
Also, during the disability workshop weekend I attended a while ago and at recent charity events I also learned a lot about the fantastic support you provide.

Setting up a joint charity donations page initially gave me problems as you can’t set up JustGiving page with more than one charity. Even if it was possible I understand that Daytrippers Bolton is not a registered charity or something along the lines which means that they not entitled to Gift Aid?

What I suggest is that I set up a page with GoFundMe which will allow me to set up both charities on one page and allow me to withdraw the cash once each challenge has been completed. I will then split the cash and donate through the Kidz2gether JustGiving page and Daytrippers Bolton’s MyDonate from BT – that way Kidz2gether will also get the Gift Aid.

I’ll also be hopefully raising a lot of cash from a donations bucket I’ll have placed at Horwich Leisure Centre on the day I will be doing the 1,000 swim challenge and I am sure most of my friends will prefer to donate by hand. With this cash I will put this into my personal bank and again send this to you as proposed.

I have sent this email to both charities via info@kidz2gether.org.uk and daytrippers.bolton@hotmail.co.uk.

If you would like to arrange a telephone conversation with me please do so, my mobile telephone number is 07729 803417.

I look forward to training and preparing for these challenges. The most lengths I have attempted to swim in one go is 200 so this is a monster of a challenge. As for the Great North Swim, I am particularly afraid of swimming in deep, open, cold water so this will be a scary and unique challenge on its own.

I have set up a WordPress blog if you would like to keep up to date and track my progress which is found at: http://gofatginger.wordpress.com/

Many Thanks and Kindest Regards,

Paul Carruthers