WALLIAMS TAKES ON THE THAMES30th August 2011
As if swimming across the English Channel for Sport Relief in 2006 wasn’t enough of a master stroke, TV star David Walliams is in deep water again. He’s attempting to swim seven times that distance as he takes on the river Thames.
Starting on Monday 5th September, The BT Sport Relief Challenge: Walliams vs The Thames is the first in a series of celebrity challenges sponsored by BT for Sport Relief 2012 and it will be the toughest, most dangerous and physically gruelling test of David’s life.
Walliams will start his attempt as close to the Thames source as possible in Lechlade, Gloucestershire, and hopes to swim about 140 miles to finish at Big Ben in the heart of London. And he’ll cover this distance in eight days straight – all to raise money for Sport Relief.
Members of the public should not attempt this swim. Swimming in the tidal Thames is incredibly dangerous and many people, including strong swimmers, have drowned in its waters. David has an extensive specialist support team who are experts in this field and will be prioritising his safety throughout.
David’s epic challenge will see him brave bitingly cold river water, which can cause cramp and involuntary breathing spasms known as a ‘gasp reflex’. He’ll have to battle powerful and unpredictable currents and undertows and will burn the equivalent of 4,400 calories every day.
As well as carefully navigating the busy river traffic, David will have to deal with murky water that harbours a cocktail of bacteria such as e-coli, salmonella and hepatitis - not to mention the 39 million cubic metres of raw sewage that finds its way into the Thames every year after heavy rainfall.
David said: “Most people in the UK know the Thames, and most people think the idea of swimming in it is horrifying! And it is. It’ll be relentless. It’s not a safe environment to swim in – people really mustn’t try this. If there’s a lot of rainfall there’ll be a lot of sewage present ..and there’s zero visibility in the water - I won’t even be able to see the end of my arm.”
Aside from aiming to raise much-needed cash for Sport Relief, David’s hoping that the public will cheer him on as he swims his way to Westminster. Everyone can keep up to speed on his progress with the GPS tracker and follow the Twitter feed using hash tag #Thamesswim to see where he’ll be en route. Plus special updates on David’s progress will be beamed from the top of the BT Tower throughout the swim.
One thing’s for sure, David will need all the support he can get. To help keep him afloat, sponsor David now!