A man from Barnstaple has swum the English Channel eight times in three months for Diabetes UK – in his local pool.
This spring Mark Humfrey, 60, a retired teacher who hasType 2 diabetes, took on the charity’sSwim22challenge, which gave swimmers three months to cover the 22-mile distance of the English Channel. Not satisfied with getting across the Channel just the once, Mark pledged to complete eight crossings in a bid to raise as much money as possible for Diabetes UK and to reduce his blood glucose levels.
Not only did Mark Humfrey complete the 176 miles by swimming three miles a time at Barnstaple Leisure Centre, but he came top of the Diabetes UK Swim22 leader board nationally, leaving more than 900 other participants trailing in his wake. At the same time he raised more than £1,300 and succeeded in bringing his blood glucose reading down.
Mark Humfrey, who was previously head of geography at Park Community School in Barnstaple, said:
“I wanted to take on this triple challenge – swim the Channel eight times, improve my own blood glucose levels and raise funds for Diabetes UK – not just for myself but because diabetes is all too common both in my own family and in the population generally. I want other people to know that you can do something about Type 2 diabetes. And even though I’ve managed to improve my blood glucose, I’m going to carry on ploughing up and down the pool to maintain it at that level.”
Annika Palmer, Diabetes UK south west regional head, said:
“Mark completed 11,334 lengths in 60 sessions over three months, swimming further than any other participant in this year’s Diabetes UK’s Swim22 challenge. This is a fantastic achievement. But while Mark is without doubt our superhero, you don’t have to be superhuman to benefit from regular exercise. Being more active and maintaining a healthy weight can help cut the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes or of life-threateningcomplications, such as amputations, kidney failure and stroke, if you already have the condition.”
If you would like to read more about Mark's experience you can also read hisblog.