Tuesday, 14 February 2012

I only have one job...it's the others that have the work!

My responsibility on The Day is clear. I must simply SWIM. Just keep my arms going round and round and my legs doing the scissor-movement thingy from the moment I leave the shore at
mid morning to when I stagger ashore and collapse on a rock at hopefully 7 or 8 hours later. No fear, no questions, no allowance for pain. Just SWIM! Wayne the Machine.

To get to that point, however, is not a solo effort. I have a support team, and an amazing one at that. Let me briefly introduce you to them.

First up there’s Paul Greenhalgh. Paul was born weighing in at 13 lbs and has remained a solid soul ever since. Everyone likes Paul – Jeremy Clarkson could learn from him for sure. He also missed his calling in life, which would have been following Bear Grylls into the SAS. Paul’s official role is that of my manager, but the reality he’s so much more than that, having
been my good friend for over 15 years and business partner for the last 10. He's my wingman in this venture, the Goose to my Maverick (although women tell me he’s a lot better looking). He's also ever so slightly sadist. He truly believes it will be good for me to break a hole in the ice on some public pond and go swimming to toughen me up.

Then there’s Jon Fryer. He’s my rah-rah man. My motivator. My Stephen R Covey or Deepak Chopra (without the woo). He also trains with me. If you see us together in the water, he’s the one with the eight-pack and the posse of drooling admirers following his every stroke. Even when I was so exhausted I couldn’t lift my ears out of the water in the middle of the
English Channel, I just KNEW he was there, leaning over the edge of the boat, willing me on with every cell in his body and ounce of air in his lungs.

In the run up to The Swim, I’m also lucky to have Janice Wright on my side. Janice is a staunch supporter of men in swimwear… err.. I mean my extreme swimming exploits. She’s in charge of communications, and as arguably the world’s best communicator, I couldn’t hope for better.  

And then of course, the support I get from my long suffering and stunning wife, Bernice. My guess is that she had no idea what lay in store that day we met on the intranet 18 years
ago (in the days before internet). She, and my two beautiful children, sacrifice tons of daddy-time as I spend hours away from home training. Thanks Bernie, for sort-of understanding.

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Wayne likes pork pies and Guinness. He likes routine and predictability. He loves his family. He's 40+, short(ish), balding and battling with waistline expansion. He's been known to occasionally play a good round of golf, likes to tinker with 'stuff' and has rescued a group of friends from the African wild by fixing a Land Rover with a jellybaby.

He's never been a great fan of physical exertion. In short (apart from the jellybaby incident), Wayne is an ordinary person. And he's about to do something really amazingly, astoundingly and astonishingly extra-ordinary. He's going to swim the the treacherous, never-been-swum-before channel between Kintyre (Scotland) and Ballycastle (Ireland). For charity. This is his story.