Tuesday, 26 May 2009

Des Renford's son in the lineup for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim

I can still remember the black-and-white telly coverage of Des Renford, coated in a fatty white substance, staggering ashore after conquering the English Channel for what seemed like the umpteenth time.

In Australia in the '70s and '80s Renford was a legend who swam "the old ditch" 19 times. I think he still holds the record for more successful crossings than any other Australian.
During one crossing Renford, who was built like a brick s***house, was run over by a hovercraft. He still managed to finish the swim, which is a mark of the man and his sheer determination.

This achievement is even more striking because Renford had a crook ticker. He suffered two heart attacks and a stroke in the 1980s, before succumbing to a third heart attack while swimming at his local pool in 1999. That one got him. He was 72.

Now, one of Renford's three sons is making his own name in the sport.

Michael Renford, 47, crossed the Channel in 2007 and is in the lineup for the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim on June 6.

This is a 45.8 kilometre rock around the block compared to the 34.2km race across the road. However, a strong assisting current evens things out, bringing the Manhattan swim down to a 'manageable' 32km.

In preparation, Michael swims 60km a week. (I recall Grant Hackett saying to become a deadset distance swimmmer he would need to increase his training to 90km a week, but it obviously never happened). Anyway, 60km is good enough for me!

The water temperature in the Hudson River is around 18 degrees (hey, two degrees more than Bondi on a hot day). Nonetheless, Michael will need a thick coating of vaseline-lanolin to stop the chills and chaffing. He should also try not to swallow the water, which isn't too fresh.
Bon chance Mick. First we take Manhattan...

1 comment:

Gemma Wilson said...

Good luck - How wonderful...