I have finally come up for air after a huge weekend, only to be heading off tomorrow to assist with the MS Celebrity Red Ride. So definitely no rest for the wicked!
The weekend started off last Friday at 10am for me, setting up the Fitzroy Pool for the 13th 24 Hour Mega Swim. But without volunteers I would never get anything accomplished, so thanks to all those that helped out! We were like an army of ants around the pool with MS events staff setting up the signage, a marquis company putting up the shade for the swimmers, the Rotary Club of Fitzroy getting all the BBQ things together and volunteers putting over 600 show bags together as well as rolling up 605 t-shirts to put out for the participants. It really was a non-stop work site and by 4:00 p.m. we were ready to welcome the first participants to registration.
This year for the first time we filled the pool. 37 teams is all we can accommodate and 37 teams we had registered. We actually had to ask a team to move to another event because they were late in registering. God I never thought that would have been a problem all those years ago that I started this swim. But it is certainly a nice problem to have.
It was a magnificent day but with the threat of a possible thunderstorm later in the day. So I kept my fingers crossed and said a couple of little prayers! But I didn’t have to worry as the entire weekend was magnificent! I actually couldn’t have asked for better weather!
Even during the night hours (I was swimming from 3am – 6:45am), the weather held on for us and the heaters only had to be turned on around 4am as swimmers sitting in wet bathers were getting a tad bit chilly!
But as the sun came up we knew it was going to be another beautiful day.
As the day wore on and we all became that little bit more tired, all I could think of was making the clock run a bit faster to hit 6pm and to be honest the day did go by fairly quickly. It was like a party atmosphere during the afternoon with the DJ playing tunes all afternoon, our raffle prizes being drawn (38 prizes this year) and then that final countdown to the finish.
Yes there were winners in the end and companies that raised a lot of money, but I think the most inspirational for me was a young friend of mine Merrick Bishop age 9 (almost 10!). Before the weekend the most he had ever swum was 500 meters but during the 24 hours he swam an incredible 6 km’s and has raised $1045! He was awarded the Bruce McCulloch Memorial Award and if Bruce were still with us he would be so proud of this young man! If all our young children are as special as Merrick then the world will have nothing to worry about!
Thank you to all our partners and sponsors because without them this swim wouldn’t be as successful as it is. Thanks to the City of Yarra, Yarra Leisure, Rotary Club of Fitzroy, Calvary Silver Circle, Coles, Swimwear Galore, Scally and Trombone, Brooks, Jasper Coffee, Scody and all the businesses who supplied spot and raffle prizes.
In the end, on the day, the 637 swimmers raised $240,218.95 and swam 2485.8 km’s! Not bad for 24 hours. As of today we are sitting at $255,531.75 and I am hopeful that it will climb even further and hit our $300,000 target.
I wrote a number of weeks ago about a friend of mine Tim Spiteri who was attempting to break the world record for the fastest row across the Atlantic Ocean, “Tim’s Voyage” and in the process raise money for MS Australia. Well they made it, but unfortunately didn’t get the record, but certainly not for lack of trying. They had a number of days with no tail wind at all and massive currents to row against, plus a freak wave that damaged part of the boat. Reading his blog was such an inspiration to hear about what he was going through and I can’t imagine the feelings that must have gone through his head as they reached shore. The row took them 35 days, 12 hours and 41 minutes and made them the 6th fastest crew ever to cross and the fastest this year, from the Canary Islands to Barbados. So a huge CONGRATULATIONS Tim you are truly inspiring!
He has another row planned (at least he did before this one) for later this year and I look forward to writing about his next challenge!
While getting the pool deck ready for the awards at the Fitzroy Mega Swim I got a twitter message from a team mate of mine from London who tweeted “Congratulations to @CazCooke on winning Victorian Female Para Cyclist of the year! Huge achievement and very deserving recipient!”.
I had completely forgotten that the awards were being held that day! So thanks to Stuart Tripp for sending the tweet as it just made the weekend that much more special! I feel very honoured to have been given this award and hopefully I can perform even better this year at the World Championships in December.
Fourth and last WOW
I finally picked up my new trike! Thanks to Liv/giant for the most amazing bike and Herb at Fuel Performance for putting the back end on the new frame! I will certainly be breaking it in over the next week with the Celebrity Red Ride through country Victoria and no doubt will be Tweeting, Facebooking and Blogging about the journey as we visit each of the towns/cities along the way!
Then maybe after that ride I will have a few down days, but as Ralph Marsden says “Consider for a moment, with the utmost gratitude, all the possibilities that stretch out in front of you as far as you can see. Then stop considering and start living the best of those possibilities.”
So who knows maybe something else will pop up!