Former Team GB swimmer Mark Foster is calling on people from across Suffolk to take the plunge and sign up for Swimathon 2022.

The swimming hero is helping to highlight the annual fundraiser that raises money for Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.

He is urging people of all ages and abilities to enter the sponsored event taking place at pools across Suffolk from 6-8 May, including:

  • Ipswich’s Crown Pools
  • Felixstowe Leisure Centre
  • Woodbridge’s Deben Leisure Centre
  • Bungay’s Waveney Valley Leisure Centre
  • Lowestoft’s Waterlane Leisure Centre
  • Stowmarket’s Mid Suffolk Leisure Centre
  • Hadleigh Pool & Leisure
  • Leiston Leisure Centre
  • Stradbroke Swimming Pool and Fitness Centre

With a variety of distances to choose from, from 400m up to 30.9k, Swimathon offers a challenge for swimmers young and old, new and experienced. People can participate individually or as part of a team.

Any swimmers who cannot make one of the organised sessions can sign up to MySwimathon, taking place from 29 April -15 May, and choose a time and venue that suits them.

After another challenging year for the sport, following the impact of the pandemic, Mark is championing the positive power of swimming to help inspire people to get back to the pool.

He said: “Swimming is a fantastic form of exercise, with a wide range of benefits for both your physical and mental health, and is accessible to people with varying abilities and needs. Whether you’re a keen swimmer who’s in the pool all the time, prefer to be in open water or if you’re just dipping your toes in for the first time, Swimathon is the perfect challenge for everyone. That’s why I’m asking everyone to get involved and feel the benefits of this fantastic sport whilst raising money for two great charities in Cancer Research UK and Marie Curie.”

Swimathon is the world’s largest annual swimming fundraiser. Since launching in 1986, more than 750,000 swimmers have taken part, raising over £55 million for charitable causes. This year will also see the Swimathon Foundation donate £2.50 from the entry fee of everybody taking part at an official Swimathon venue to help protect these pools for the future.

Michael Jarvis, Cancer Research UK spokesperson for Suffolk, said: “It really doesn’t matter if you’re not the fittest or the fastest, Swimathon is such a fun and simple way to encourage people to get swimming, all whilst supporting causes that are close to the hearts of so many.

“1 in 2 of us will get cancer*, but all of us can support the research that will beat it. From proving the link between smoking and cancer to laying the foundations for modern radiotherapy, our scientists have been at the forefront of cancer research for 120 years. And we’re not stopping now. That’s why we’re urging swimmers to dive in this spring, raise money and help us keep investing in science today to deliver the treatments of tomorrow. Together, we will beat cancer.”

Marie Curie nurse Janet Lockheart and healthcare assistant Amy Chellew will be undertaking Swimathon this year, after originally planning to do it in 2020.

Janet said: “We decided to do Swimathon to raise money to support the wonderful team at Marie Curie and the people we care for. We’ve seen first-hand the difference fundraising can make to families that need our support, so to be able to do this for them and for those supported by Cancer Research UK is amazing. Swimming is a great way to get fit and raise money, so we’re really excited – we’ve been waiting two years to say we’ve completed Swimathon!”

Not only will taking part help to raise money, moderate exercise such as swimming can help build stamina, burn calories and keep a healthy body weight, reducing the risk of a range of diseases including cancer. Swimming regularly is also gentle on the joints, canlower stress levels, reduce anxiety and depression, andimprove sleep patterns.

Sign up for Swimathon 2022 at swimathon.orgBetween 8-16 March use code SPRINGSALE35 for a 35% discount off the registration fee.

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