SwiMarathon gets people active

Rotarians Dee Quinn and Gordon Etherington
Rotarians Dee Quinn and Gordon Etherington

A total of 197 swimmers swam 3,780 lengths – or nearly 60 miles – at Harborough Leisure Centre for the town Rotary Club’s annual SwiMarathon.

That is almost as far from Market Harborough to Hunstanton and their efforts have raised well over £5,300.

Together with £2,000 generously given by business sponsors, this will all go to local good causes. It is a similar amount to last year.

Chris Etherington, who is chairman of the group of Rotarians organising the SwiMarathon, said: “We are delighted to have raised so much money this year from the sponsorship.

“We thought it might be difficult this year with the economic climate, but with more swimmers and sponsors we have reached this fantastic amount.

“It was lovely to see so many people of all ages swimming together, and having so much fun.”

The fourth annual event took place on April 5 and 6.

One town primary school has been a big supporter of the event. Market Harborough C of E Primary School entered 12 teams of pupils, former pupils, teachers and parents.

Hazel Stephens, from the school, said “The children love it, and so do I. We have swum every year with more and more swimmers.

“We have also applied for grants and received awards for the school library and Peace Garden and other things. It is good to be able to tell parents that the school benefits from the SwiMarathon as well as having fun swimming.”

Staff from the leisure centre swam for the third year in a row and aimed to match their own record for number of lengths completed in an hour. Their team of five swimmers improved their total from 165 to 185.

Christine Giles’ swim school entered five teams.

Christine runs swimming sessions at her own small pool for families. She said “Our teams all did brilliantly. It was great. I would like to thank all our swimmers and helpers, and the Rotary Club for organising it all.”

Other entries came from the Two Shires doctors’ surgeries, Lewingtons Heating Engineers, Great Bowden and Little Bowden Women’s Institutes and Little Bowden School.

Newcomers included the Street Pastors and Waitrose.

Harborough FM were at poolside providing music for the swimmers and crowds, together with live commentary.

The SwiMarathon was not an endurance event.

Each team of up to six people get one lane to swim in relay for an hour. Rotarians counted the number of lengths for each team with 39 teams entering this year.

Each swimmer got a certificate with a photo of their team, presented by the club’s president Janet Meek.

She said: “Everybody enjoyed the event and many want to come back next year, and bring more friends.”

A total of 35 town Rotarians, assisted by members of Inner Wheel and the Welland Valley Rotary Club, ran the event.

St John Ambulance staff supported leisure centre staff in providing supervision. Its cadets had a team and there were Rotarians who swam.

The club thanked sponsors Andrew Granger & Co, Brooke House College, e.surv chartered surveyors, ET Peirson & Sons, Harborough FM, the Mail, Jet Pumps, Lewingtons, Stephen Sanderson Transport, TJ Thornton Jewellers, Walker Forestry Conservation, Wartnaby Hefford Solicitors andWelton’s Deli.

People will be able to apply for grants later this year.