Stevenage-born swimmer to tackle 50km marathon for charity

PUBLISHED: 16:00 12 July 2019 | UPDATED: 16:00 12 July 2019

Mark Smith will be swimming in five river marathons this summer. Picture: Supplied

Mark Smith will be swimming in five river marathons this summer. Picture: Supplied

Archant

A man who grew up in Stevenage is aiming to be the only person to complete five river marathons this summer to raise funds for charity.

Mark Smith, who was born in Stevenage, will swim five river marathons in seven weeks around England, Scotland and Wales.

He will tackle the Rivers Adur, Thames, Spey, Wye and Mawddach all to raise money for Thrombosis UK, a charity specialising in raising awareness of the dangers of blood clots.

Following a serious health scare in 2016, Mark took up swimming to help him recover both physically and mentally.

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After a fall at Center Parcs in Woburn Forest, Mark's recovery took a turn for the worse when doctors found a blood clot which travelled into his lung.

Mark says it took him 18 months to feel normal again after the ordeal - but swimming five days a week at pools in Hitchin and Hatfield became his way to get back on his feet.

"Unlike heart attacks or strokes, very few are aware of this life-threatening illness" says Mark.

"If this challenge helps to raise awareness and prevents one death, it will have been worth every one of the 61,000 strokes I have to do this summer."

Each of Mark's swims will involve between 3-6 hours of non-stop swimming, travelling distances between 6.5 to 14km.

He starts the challenge tomorrow morning in Sussex.

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