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Digital Subscriptions > Outdoor Swimmer > June 2017 > ENDURANCE ADDICT


In September 2014 recovering alcoholic Paul Parrish attempted to become the oldest person to complete the Arch to Arc triathlon, running 87 miles from Marble Arch to Dover, swimming the English Channel and cycling 182 miles to the Arc de Triomphe, Paris


Marble Arch

“This will never end. It will never end. I have been swimming for 17 hours. I only know this fact afterwards and I actually think I have been swimming for much longer. No one is allowed to tell me anything. My crew are under strict instruction to say nothing about time, place or distance left. It has been dark since 7pm the previous evening. That was the last time I had any visual reference other than my pilot boat, Gallivant, bobbing next to me. I know it must be morning soon and the fact that I can’t see light in the sky is confusing me. All is darkness. All is sea. All is hopeless.

Stroke, one, two, three, head out, stroke, one, two, three. This same action, this same mantra repeated for many hours. At first it had been comforting. I had felt strong and the adventure had seemed possible – probable, even. But now – many, many hours later – it is over. I have failed. I know from all the things that I have read and from all that I know about my own ability that I should have finished this swim hours ago. I have spent the summer swimming with other Channel swimmers and I know from those that have already been successful where, in the pecking order of swim times, I should be. I should be warm, back on board Galivant and heading to Calais. The fact that I haven’t finished swimming by now means something has gone horribly wrong. Something going horribly wrong on a Channel swim preceded by an 87-mile run will mean a compounded disaster that the human body won’t have the resource to deal with. The blood supply transferring oxygen around the body needs organs that are well fed to keep pumping life around me. But every store of energy in my body must be used up now. There can’t possibly be any more left. Any chance of success has gone.

Paul onboard Gallivant
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About Outdoor Swimmer

Swimming challenges come in all shapes and sizes. In the pages of this issue we hear from swimmers from around the world who have pushed their boundaries to achieve remarkable things. From recovering alcoholic Paul Parrish’s inspiring English Channel swim to the Muslim Swim Sisters competing in their first open water race, outdoor swimmers make up a broad and accepting community. Whether you are training for a marathon swim or for your first one-mile event – or if you just love the freedom of swimming outdoors – this issue has inspiring stories, training advice and wild swimming recommendations for all kinds of swimmers. Are you feeling lucky? If you find a Golden Ticket inserted in this magazine you are the winner of a changing robe from dryrobe worth £129.99. Good luck! Enjoy the magazine and happy swimming. Jonathan Cowie Editor