plymouth barbican waterfront ecover blue mileECOVER BLUE MILE MAKES ITS BIGGEST EVER SPLASH!

Record numbers of people have signed up to take part in this year’s Ecover Blue Mile in Plymouth.

Some 300 people will be making a splash off Plymouth’s Barbican waterfront this weekend (14-15 September) – that’s 100 more than the event’s previous record. They’ll be swimming, kayaking and stand-up paddle boarding their way along the one mile course in a series of ‘waves’ throughout Saturday and Sunday.

Among those taking part are 2012 Olympic gold medal-winning slalom canoeist Tim Baillie and 2008 Olympic 10km open water swim bronze medallist, Cassie Patten, who moved from Cornwall to train with Plymouth coach Jon Rudd.

An amazing 58 members of Jon’s Plymouth Leander swimming club will also be diving in on Saturday morning, and they’ll be cheered by on team-mate Ruta Meilutyte. The Plymouth-based Lithuanian Olympic and World swimming champion will be signing autographs at the Ecover Blue Mile event village on the Barbican from 10am to 12 noon on both Saturday and Sunday.

The event is raising money for the Marine Conservation Society (MCS).

Andy Bool, Head of Fundraising at the charity, said: “We’re thrilled that this year’s event looks like being bigger and better than ever.

“The large number of entries shows just how important the marine environment is to people and how keen people are to spend time in it! Their drive and enthusiasm is amazing and the fact that the event will raise money to help create healthier and cleaner seas is a bonus.”

The Ecover Blue Mile is part of Plymouth’s Ocean City Festival and deputy leader of Plymouth City Council, Cllr Pete Smith, will fire the gun at the start of the first ‘wave’ at 11am on Saturday morning.

Organiser, Conrad Humphreys, said the growth of the event in just a few years showed there was a real appetite for marine-based activities: “We’re absolutely delighted with the number of people who are taking part this year. It has always been one of our aims, to get more people active in the water, as well as to raise awareness about the importance of our ‘blue’ environment.

Other faces to look out for over the weekend are event commentator and roving reporter, Olympic modern pentathlon silver medallist Heather Fell; Paul Rose, presenter of the BBC TV Oceans series; and one of TV’s ‘Three Hungry Boys’, Tim Cresswell.

And, if the weather behaves, a boat made out of plastic bottles will be moored alongside the Royal William Yard ferry pontoon at the Barbican. The 16ft trimaran was built by children at Fourlanesend School in Cawsand, helped by local boat builder Andy Fox and the team from Rame Peninsula Beach Care.

The boat project was part of work being done at the school to teach children about plastic and waste. If the conditions allow, Andy will be bringing the boat across Plymouth Sound for the event. |