Maidenhead Swimarathon: It Sent a Shock Wave – 4 January 2014


I’ll be honest: I’ve had a good Christmas. A gastronomically very good Christmas.

This was made clear to me earlier today when, half-an-hour into my second stint at the Maidenhead Swimarathon, I was secretly getting rather tired. My festive bout of overindulgence was beginning to punish me.

This may not surprise you. I’m not exactly the slenderest of fellows, and as someone kindly pointed out: “It’s your second session, Andrew? Of course you’ll have been feeling a little tired.”

But that’s not me! I’m not weak! I’m the boy who used to swim for multiple different organisations, all on one day. Scouts. Church. The swimming club. School. (Even, on occasion, former schools, who used to call upon my services when they were especially desperate for swimmers.)

I’m the guy who could always be relied on to swim two ‘laps’ (four 25-metre lengths), when everyone else in the team was exhausted from just half of one.

But today it was me who was exhausted. Towards the end of Furze Platt‘s 55-minute slot, I was feeling a very definite limit to my speed; the hideous sense that my aquatic power was restricted by the bounds of eating in excess. The penny dropped, with a deafening clang (and an almighty splash), that I need to cut back down.

Make no mistake: I’m not, here, succumbing to any of those ridiculous diets. I’m not going to start calling a rare glass of wine a “sin”, nor will I start speaking in numbers and colons.

But, now that Christmas is over and New Year is cleaned up, it’s back to pre-Yuletide food levels. It’s what we Burdetts half-jokingly call our annual “period of severe restraint”. And it’s torture. As I type, I’m dying for one of those foil-wrapped chocolate things in the bowl downstairs. But, for my own benefit, I know I ought not.

The question, then, is this. Who’ll give in first: me, or the long-life chocolate things? I’ve got a terrible feeling that I already know the answer…

Photo Gallery

As always, St Luke’s entered three teams – Ladies, Men, and Spiders (children) – who together swam more than 8km (that’s 55, 64, and 48 laps respectively). Later, with the four school teams that I helped coordinate, we swam even more than that: my lane managed an amazing 80 laps.

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Andrew Burdett

Andrew Burdett is a twenty-something from Maidenhead in Berkshire, working for ITV News.