John up for big splash

Au­thor will swim for char­ity

Rutherglen Reformer - - Community News - Jonathan Ged­des

A Burn­side comic book writer has swapped the pen for the pool – as he takes on a swim­ming chal­lenge for a good cause.

John Lees will take part in the Great Scot­tish Swim on Saturday, Au­gust 27, aim­ing to raise money for the Macmillan Cancer Sup­port char­ity.

He’ll be tack­ling a two mile swim in Loch Lomond, after last year rais­ing money for Di­a­betes UK by com­plet­ing the Swim 22 chal­lenge.

John said: “I’m not gen­er­ally a sporty type, but I en­joy swim­ming, so it seemed like a good choice for a fundrais­ing ac­tiv­ity.

“Over the course of a month last year, I swam 22 miles - the equiv­a­lent length of the English Chan­nel - at my lo­cal pool. That was a fun chal­lenge, and I wanted to try some­thing more am­bi­tious this year.

“So, I signed up for the Great Scot­tish Swim at Loch Lomond. This time the swim is two miles, but I have to do it all at once rather than bro­ken up into lots of lit­tle swims, plus it’s out in the open wa­ter!”

The good cause at the heart of the event also car­ries some per­sonal sig­nif­i­cance for John, who’s had suc­cess in re­cent years writ­ing comics like The Stan­dard.

His grandad Robert passed away from cancer, which has given John ex­tra mo­ti­va­tion to raise as much money as pos­si­ble.

He added: “I think it can be easy to think of cancer in the ab­stract un­til it af­fects some­one close to you.

“My Granda lived a long life, but cancer af­fects young and old, all kinds of peo­ple. There are swim­mers tak­ing part in trib­ute to lost loved ones, oth­ers who are cancer sur­vivors.

“It should be a fun day out, but it’s worth re­mem­ber­ing we’re do­ing it for a good rea­son too.”

It also means John has been do­ing some training for the swim, but he ad­mits that’s been a bit of a mixed bag so far.

“I’ve built up to the point where I can man­age to swim 100+ lengths, about the dis­tance I’ll be swim­ming in Loch Lomond, with­out too much difficulty.

“But things got more in­ter­est­ing when I tried my first open wa­ter training ses­sion up at Pinkston Water­sports be­cause swim­ming out­doors is very dif­fer­ent from swim­ming in a pool.

“First off, it’s cold, so my whole body was in agony in that wa­ter, and ev­ery time I had to dip my face into the wa­ter it burned!

“So, stuff I did with­out think­ing, like breath­ing, sud­denly I had to con­cen­trate on. And then wear­ing a wet­suit makes it feel like mov­ing your arms and legs takes more ef­fort.

“I found my­self go­ing a good bit slower and get­ting worn out a lot faster.

“I think the hard­est thing on the day will be the dis­tance. It will be about an hour and a half of swim­ming in cold wa­ter, with no wall to push off of and no shal­low end to stop and take a breather and fix my gog­gles.”

To do­nate to John’s cause visit www.just­giv­­ing/ john­lees927

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