It might make for a good movie title, but 50 challenges before 50 is a very real adventure for Jackie Wade, who is taking part in this year’s Great North Swim.

The 49-year-old is leaving her comfort zone before the big birthday in June, by completing 50 activities based on her daughter’s hobbies and interests.

Jackie said: “My daughter Emma takes part in the Great North Swim every year and as a family we always go along to support her. I swim in a heated pool but I thought I would take the bull by the horns…so Great North Swim here I come!”

In addition to the open water swim, she will take part in 49 different challenges. Among them, are running a local half marathon, doing the full moonwalk, climbing, going ice-skating… and with the list appearing to be endless, above all, Jackie’s aim is to have some fun!

She said: “I can honestly say none of these challenges scare me. I am extremely excited to be taking part and hope that I can make my family proud and do all the approaching 50-year-olds’ proud!”

Jackie is following a tight training programme, which includes boot camp three times a week and running to help her gain stamina and discipline. In the pool she’s training hard with her daughter, who is an experienced open water swimmer as well as her inspiration.

Jackie said: “I am building up my training slowly. I am first increasing my laps in the pool twice a week, building up to 60 lengths, which Emma reliably informs me is a mile.

“Next month, we are going to do some open water swimming in the local lake and some sea swimming, to get me used to cold temperatures and wetsuit.”

Jackie is certainly in good hands. It is recommended that first timers get the open water feeling before their event and make sure they are comfortable with all their swimming gear.

The Great North Swim attracts a variety of swimmers, from those fighting for personal bests, to others who take the plunge for the sheer enjoyment of the open water. A lot of families, like Jackie, make a weekend of it by delighting their senses in the breathtaking scenery of the Lake District National Park.

Jackie said: “I am not going to be competitive. My goal for the Great North Swim is to enjoy, not just the swimming, but the whole experience.”


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