Karen Pickering, ex British international swimmer. For Team GB fitness guide. Putney Leisure Centre, London. 20/11/08. Pic: Tom Jenkins.
Tom Jenkins Karen Pickering, ex British international swimmer. For Team GB fitness guide. Putney Leisure Centre, London. 20/11/08. Pic: Tom Jenkins.

Sally Goble decided to challenge herself as her 50th birthday approached this year. She knew she needed to do something because this milestone was not making her feel motivated. Instead, she found herself moping around, feeling trapped and, well, old.

So Goble came up with a plan, as she wrote in “The Swimming Blog” on The Guardian website: “I have decided that it would be a blast to swim a mile a day for 50 consecutive days in 50 different pools in and around London. Fifty consecutive days of swimming seems like a good and fairly hare-brained challenge. The thought of zipping around London on a swimming equivalent of a pub crawl tickles me.”

The challenge began March 9, 2015 for Goble, who has been working at The Guardian on and off for 10 years. First, she tested the software used for producing the printed newspaper. For the past year, she’s been a quality assurance tester on the publication’s digital platform.

Goble says this milestone birthday challenge actually is not the biggest swimming challenge of her life. That would have to be when she swam the English Channel in 2006. She succeeded on her second try. It took Goble 18 hours and 52 minutes. She thinks there have only been approximately 280 women who have swum the 21 miles solo to date.

As for her self-imposed birthday challenge, she's finding it fun and invigorating -- and is surprised at how many people have shown up at poolside to cheer her on. Read More