“Paul I’d like introduce you to Rana from the Rotaract Club of El Tahrir, she organized our Rotary Global Swimarathon event in Cairo…”

Paul Wilson, Rana Ghoraba and 2012/13 RC Grantham President Irvin Metcalf

Paul Wilson, Rana Ghoraba and 2012/13 RC Grantham President Irvin Metcalf

There I was, in June 2013, in Lisbon, for my first ever Rotary International Convention. It was just an incredible experience to be among 10’s of 1000’s of inspirational Rotary family members from all across the Globe. Along with our 2012/13 Rotary Grantham President Irvin, we were there to meet with representatives and present some very special awards to Swimarathon organizers from every continent.

The 2013 Cairo event actually featured the most clubs taking part in one city – no fewer than 15 Rotary and Rotaract clubs working together, hundreds of swimmers raising $1000s for End Polio Now – ALL of it organized by Rana.

rotaract Egypt event

Meeting Rana really was my Rotaract moment, someone who truly embodies the extraordinary commitment and spirit of the Rotaract Family worldwide, yet so modest and unassuming about what she’d achieved,

To be honest, the Rotary Global Swimarathon campaign has just been one never-ending adventure since we first started out in April 2011.

Social media provided us with a window on the world and this remarkable map shows just how far and wide our event has spread since 2012. Over 10,000 people including Paralympians and Olympians haven taken part at events organized by more than 300 Rotary, Rotaract, Interact, Earlyact and Rotakids clubs across all 6 continents raising over $225,000 for End Polio Now and other local charities.

2.  Rotary Global Swim map 2013

Rotaract clubs have played a huge part in spreading the Global Swimarathon message, taking the lead role organizing events in not only Egypt but also in China, Romania, New Zealand, India, Moldova, Brazil, Russia, Australia, Croatia, South Africa, Bosnia-Herzegovina and here in Great Britain & Ireland. Since 2012 more than 30 Rotaract clubs in 14 countries and across all 6 continents have joined in.

In Moldova, Rotaractor Alexandrina Robu appeared on National Moldovan Breakfast TV with the proud headline Moldova takes part in World Record attempt, not just the Rotaract club, but a record for the whole country to be proud of!

In New Zealand, 5 intrepid swimmers braved the early morning waters of Auckland Bay each swimming 3KM to raise money for End Polio and local disability charities.

Pupuke Rotaract

In Germany, one tweet was all it took to persuade RAC Oberberg to be the first ever club in the country to take part thanks to the leadership and vision of Birgit Dalka.

And last but by no means least the Rotaract club of Westminster who have brilliantly represented Great Britain & Ireland in both the 2012 World Record event and in 2013.

rotaract westminster4

As I write, there are just under 5 months to go until the 3rd annual Global Swimarathon, which will once again take place on Rotary Day Sunday 23rd February 2014, so there’s plenty of time to sign up.

All indications are that this will be the biggest event yet, with at least 2 Districts in Scotland and India already planning to have 50+ clubs taking part and targeting to raise over £100K with many more clubs signing up on a daily basis.

There’s huge momentum given the Bill Gates Foundation 2:1 matching which means that for every £1000 raised a further £2000 will be donated, which means that every penny you earn for End Polio Now will be trebled!

So please visit our website http://www.rotaryglobalswimarathon.org register your details (takes 2 minutes) we’ll email the org guide and all the information you need.

You can also connect via Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/rotaryglobalswimarathon or on Twitter at http://www.twitter.com/rotaryglobeswim

Like the New Zealand example, it doesn’t have to be a formally organized pool event; you can just get a small group of friends together and swim.

So what are you waiting for – let’s make a global splash!!

Paul WIlson, Rotary Global Swimarathon Event Co-ordinator 

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