After completing 16 ironman triathlons and over 30 half ironman races, Callum Eade was looking for an even bigger challenge. With the goal of fundraising for Tour De Cure, the New Zealander set his sights on swimming the English Channel – the famous body of water that separates Southern England from Northern France. “The channel has been an aspirational goal of mine for over a decade,” says Callum. “I’ve pursued many triathlon and ironman goals over the past 30 years and was looking for something new, exciting and challenging!” Callum and his family have lived in Singapore for the past seven years, and they are valued members of the ANZA community. “ANZA has been a big part of our Singapore life, particularly from a sporting perspective. My wife Sarah has helped coach my nine-year-old daughter Sophie at ANZA Netball for the last three years and our son Charlie (6) loves ANZA Soccer!”
Taking on the 33km swim presented a big physical test. “I’m not a swimmer,” Callum admits. “It’s part of the stable triathlon diet, so I’m fortunate that I’ve swum for many years, but given that it equates to 15% of a tri race…it’s always the poor cousin when it comes to training.” Callum had to ramp up his pool time. “The training load is enormous. I’m swimming 30-40km per week. I swim six days a week, averaging 4-5km per session. On top of this, I try to have one longer swim (6-7km) every week. I also swim 10-12km once a month. I need to eat properly, train every day, stay supple by way of massages, as well as balance work, family and health.”
Callum must ensure he’s properly acclimatised for the icy Channel waters. “The temperatures in the English Channel will be 16-19 degrees Celsius. Living on the equator here in Singapore is far from ideal, with water temperatures in both the pools and the ocean normally exceeding 30 degrees Celsius. I’ve been travelling regularly to Melbourne, Australia to replicate the conditions of the Channel. I also spend a lot of time sitting in an ice bath when I’m back in Singapore!”
Callum has one more winter swim camp south of Sydney at the end of the month. “The key thing for me will be to stay focused and prepared for overcoming the cold. If I can’t deal with the temperature, we don’t have a chance to succeed. I’ll be ready fitness wise and motivation has never been an issue for me. I love pursuing a goal and I’ve also learnt in the past from being underprepared.”
Knowing he’s raising vital funds for cancer research has kept Callum on track during arduous training sessions. “I’m a cancer survivor. I was diagnosed with testicular cancer in 2011. My diagnosis was life defining. I was lucky to have found it early and I now feel an obligation to help others be aware of how they can control and manage their own health.”
Callum chose to partner with Tour de Cure, an Australian organisation that raises funds for cancer research through cycle events, swims, walks and runs. “They’re an amazing organisation – in the last decade they’ve raised nearly $50 million in the fight to cure cancer! Now, that’s something to swim for,” says Callum. The $100,000 goal has been set for a reason. “If we can reach $100,000, we’re able to fund a program to find a cure for DIPG cancer (DIPG is a tumour located in the middle of the brain stem) If we succeed it could help a lot of sick kids out there. Potentially it could help kids with DIPG brain cancer all over the world.”
When he feels exhausted, Callum’s family is there for support and encouragement. “My family are my greatest motivation. Amazingly, my son Charlie was conceived after I was diagnosed with cancer! Think about that! We’ve raised our children immersed in a life of ambition and drive. This is something that I want them to remember about their parents…that we drove this project together.” The entire family will fly to England for Callum’s Channel attempt. “The kids will remain in Dover when I embark on my swim from the UK to France, but my wife, coach and team will all be on the boat that will navigate me across the channel.” Good luck Callum!