HARDY swimmers are set to tackle 10 miles of the Tyne on Sunday for an aquatic answer to the Great North Run taking place on dry land at the same time.
This year’s Tyne River Swim, the third, will see 30 swimmers tackle a course stretching from Newcastle Quayside to Littlehaven beach in South Shields.
The event, backed by the Port of Tyne, will take place at the same time that tens of thousands of people compete in the Great North Run.
Event director Tony Greener, 55, of North Shields, said: “The Tyne River Swim is unique, and we’ve got open swimmers from all over the country to enter this year.
“Training is essential, as it’s the aquatic equivalent of a marathon.
“The weather on the day will also be critical, but we do have the help of the river current.
“We are very grateful for the support we’ve been given.
“Without the Port of Tyne, this simply couldn’t happen.
“South Shields Sailing Club has also been a great champion, and everyone taking part is really up for the challenge.”
The swim starts at 1pm and the competitors are expected to take three hours to reach Littlehaven beach.
Mike Nicholson, the Port of Tyne’s harbourmaster, said: “The Tyne River Swim is becoming something of an iconic event, but it’s not for the faint-hearted.
“Everyone entering is an experienced open-water swimmer, and we’ve had to work closely with the organisers to ensure the race was carefully planned as it enters one of the UK’s busiest commercial shipping channels. I wish everyone taking part the very best of luck.”
The port’s pilot boat, the Collingwood, will go ahead of the swimmers, acting as a floating control centre and leading two other safety boats and 12 kayaks.
Everyone taking part is fundraising for the Royal National Lifeboat Institution.
Over the last two years, £15,000 has been raised for the charity by the sponsored swim, and the event’s organisers hope to raise at least £5,000 this year.
To donate, visit www.virginmoneygiving.com/team/tyneswim2013