Ten local running enthusiasts are going to put their physical fitness – and courage - to the test by taking to the sea for the first time.
They plan to swim from from Brighton Pier to Worthing Pier on Saturday 18th September in aid of homeless charity Turning Tides.
None have taken on a swimming challenge before, so they'll be supported by a medical team to ensure their safety.
If you'd like to sponsor them, you can do so via their JustGiving page and help to raise vital funds for the charity:
Dominic Mason, Team Captain of the avid running group explained:
“Since the pandemic our group of runners have been pitting ourselves against the elements to maintain our fitness throughout lockdowns. We usually run along the seafront, looking out onto the Rampion Offshore Wind Farm in Worthing.
"It just suddenly occurred to me that it would be a real challenge to swim out to the Rampions! All of us agreed that we wanted to take on a challenge with our renewed freedoms but none of us are expert swimmers.
"We decided to aim for the Rampions next year and to prepare us for that challenge we are taking on the three Piers from Brighton to Worthing.”
Turning Tides’ Community Fundraising Officer, Moira Gardner, explains the close connection between the runners and local homeless charity:
“One of the runners, Mark Bailey, has been volunteering for Turning Tides for several years and is really passionate about the work the charity carry out across West Sussex to support those who have nowhere to live.
"Mark approached me with this fantastic challenge to race to the Rampions in the hopes it could be a community fundraising opportunity - raising vital funds for the growing number who need our support.
"As this will be the first time they take to the waters they decided on undertaking a three pier challenge, with a view to taking on the Rampions in 2022! Thus the Rampion Champions were born.”
Mark Bailey, who volunteers at Turning Tides is proud to take on the Three Pier Challenge in aid of the charity:
“I have supported the charity for a number of years and am in awe of the work they do. Whilst taking on this challenge is going to be fun and tough in equal measure, to know that we are raising money to support anyone that finds themselves homeless gives it real meaning.
"We are physically fit, but have never swam any long lengths at all – so this is a real massive physical challenge – I am a little scared because I know how far it is to run, let alone swim that distance.
"However, anyone going through homelessness faces far bigger fears. Turning Tides makes sure that no one goes through that alone. Raising money to ensure that no one has to face those fears alone makes me even more determined to take on the Rampions next year!”
The Rampion Champions have already received support from Sussex Yacht Club who are providing support boats on the Saturday 18th September. PPE Solutions Global has stepped forward to offer professional Medical Cover ‘free of charge’, working alongside LoneMed.
"The Rampion Champions are infectiously enthusiastic about their swim challenge and every week they brave the cold waters to build up their strength and stamina for September’s swim.
"We really want them to smash their fundraising target of £3,000 and they are approaching £2,000 already!
"We would love the Rampion Champions to feel the warmth and support of the community and encourage people to donate to their JustGiving page.
"Last year Turning Tides supported a record number of over 900 local people with no safe place to call home.
"This year, the numbers are rising as the economic impact of Covid takes livelihoods and homes. So now more than ever we need the support of our community."
If you want to rally and support the Rampion Champions you can do so by donating to their JustGiving page: www.justgiving.com/campaign/threepierchallenge