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2003 Manhatton Island Marathon Swim

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Claire Payne competes in the Manhattan Island marathon Swim.
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Adopted Mollymook swimmer concludes a momentous year competing in the 2003 Manhattan Marathon. Unfortunately due to poor water quality after heavy rain in New York City the official marathon was cancelled but the field of swimmers elected to swim anyway.

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The following is Clare’s personal account which became an immense personal battle for 8 hours 35 minutes, from start to finish.

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1:20 am. Saturday 14th June 2003 and I’m already awake. Today is the day of the race. I can’t sleep.
4:00am. The alarm goes off.
4:30 am. Leave for North Cove.
4:50 am. Swim start gets moved to North Cove so we head there. We are all together at North Cove.

Race is officially cancelled. But the swimmers have chosen to compete anyway. I feel some relief.

Fosters and the media begin to film and interview me. I have no choice but to keep it together. My support crew load onto the boat. I am the last to jump off the boat and enter the water.

I dive in. We start. It’s cold. The cold starts to affect my body. My left hand goes numb. My fingers are spread out. Especially my little one. My hands are still working. My right hand is starting to go and my left foot is numb. I am ok with it.

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Destination Mollymook Milton Ulladulla

Continue to read Clare’s personal account, courtesy of Oceanswims.com

I drink and eat enough at my food stops for me to be happy with it. I don’t feel like vomiting at all which is good. I have some coffee. I feel it gives me a mental lift.I reach 4 hours swimming. My legs hurt. It gets worse. It’s from my hips to my knees. Right at the front of my legs (thighs). This is the most excruciating pain I have ever felt. This seems unbearable. I remember that Susie Maroney cried at 5 hours in her first English Channel Crossing and she begged to get out. I remember Des Renford talking about this pain barrier.
I am getting close to 6 hours. I am happy with that achievement.
After 8 1/2 hours in the water swimming (which seemed like an eternity) my support crew advise me I have 250 yards to go. I do some bilateral breathing for the first time and see people lining the shore as I head to the finish.
I still don’t believe I am going to make it.
Then my support crew puts the sign up that tells me I have finished. I ask again and again if I have finished.
I have. I can’t believe it. I cry.
Apparently when I was interviewed after getting out of the water the media asked me if I would do it again, I said maybe!
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Yesterday I walked around Manhattan and as I was standing at some traffic lights I thought to myself no one would know that I swam around this Island yesterday and if I told them they probably wouldn’t believe me, I don’t blame them, I still find it hard to believe myself. Tomorrow I am going to take the Circle Ferry around Manhattan and really take it in and I’m going to look left. I don’t breathe bilaterally so I missed a fair bit during the swim!

 

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Swimmers prepare to enter the water

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Not an easy swim

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Time for some nourishment

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8 1/2 hours in this dirty water

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