Nick Hague and Simon Harris make a splash for cancer charity
FOR SOMEONE whose satellite communications business takes him regularly to the warzones of Afghanistan, you would think that Nick Hague might like a nice, quiet sporting hobby in his downtime.
No, Coln St Aldwyns resident Hague, who will be 42 on Saturday, likes a challenge.
He has featured in the sport pages of the Standard previously due to his exploits in Ironman triathlon events – that demanding combination of swimming, cycling and running.
In the last three or four years, he has pushed himself even further by competing in Ultra Marathons and has turned his hand to mountain climbing, tackling the Eiger and the Matterhorn.
Two weekends ago he took it to a new level by swimming in a charity-inspired English Channel relay with two friends.
Along with Poulton’s Simon Harris, 47, and the latter’s brother Matt, 40, Nick took the plunge to raise funds for a very brave boy, Zak Hobbs, who sadly died last September at the age of seven after a two-year battle with a rare form of childhood cancer called Neuroblastoma.
“I got to know Simon when taking our kids to Hatherop Castle School, and we share an interest in doing Ironman events,” said Hague. “Zak’s dad works for Simon, who wanted to do something to raise funds for the Neuroblastoma Society and I was only too happy to get involved. As a parent you can only be moved Zak’s story.”
While Matt trained off the coast of his North Cornwall home, Simon and Nick had the invaluable help on their swimming technique from Steve Cryer of Swim Podium in Swindon.
And they have been training, often at night, in the lake of Bowmoor Sailing Club, near Fairford. There are approximately three cross-channel swimming bids a week and the first hiccup came when Nick and his chums found there was still a five-man team in the water when they arrived for their attempt.
They came back the following night and started their 23.6 mile challenge at midnight in a shocking swell.
“We each agreed to swim for an hour and have two hours recovering on the boat,” said Nick. “I was first in the water at Dover’s Shakespeare beach and it was like swimming into a void. Mentally, it was very tough. And because of the extremely choppy conditions at the beginning, both Simon and myself were wretching and vomiting – swimming on empty.
“When the sun came up, we all got a massive boost and even more so when the mist cleared at about 8am and we could see France.
“We all jumped in the water at the end but it was Matt’s leg and he was the first on land at Cap Gris Nez as we completed a time of 13hr 43mins.
“We have raised £12,000 so far and anyone who would like to contribute can do so at http://uk.virginmoneygiving.
So what’s the next challenge for Hague.
He has always hankered to attempt the infamous Marathon des Sables week-long endurance race in the Moroccan desert. But his two intrepid fellow fund-raisers have told him in no uncertain terms that they are not interested in that one.
However, Nick has now thrown down the gauntlet – what about swimming the Channel solo, boys?