David Walliams’s valiant 140-mile, eight-day swim along the length of the Thames for Sport Relief last September was an incredible achievement. But if TV presenter Ben Fogle manages the task he’s set himself it could make Walliams’s feat look like a day out at the local pool.
Fogle is aiming to swim a staggering 3,000 miles from the US to Cornwall across the Atlantic Ocean. He hopes to complete the journey in 100 days and could be in the water for up to 12 hours per day to do it. If successful, he will become only the second person in history to have completed the mammoth swim, following Frenchman Benoît Lecomte’s crossing in 1998.
Fogle will be accompanied on his journey by a yacht, on which he will sleep and eat – but before he can think about embarking on his journey he has a year’s training to do.
A passionate environmental campaigner, Fogle is undertaking the swim in collaboration with conservation charity the World Wildlife Fund and oceanologists at the University of Southampton. He hopes to raise awareness of mankind’s impact on marine life through practices such as over-fishing and the dumping of plastic waste at sea and will be equipped with sensors to monitor water temperature and currents.
Dr Simon Boxall of the National Oceanography Institute said: “The science community will use Ben as a personal mini research vessel. Using new advanced micro technology he will carry sensors on his body to measure the thin surface layers of the ocean, a layer that usually gets disturbed by our bigger ocean going ships.”
Known for taking on tough challenges, Fogle has already rowed across the Atlantic and trekked to the South Pole with James Cracknell. The former Extreme Dreams presenter called his latest venture the “culmination of a childhood dream”.
“I am daunted by the magnitude of this challenge, but I have never been one to take the easy option,” he said. “You get out of life, what you put in and the greatest achievements come from the biggest challenges.”