21/02/2008 - It's all about the Preparation
David Walliams had an icy dip with
Olympic champion James Cracknell yesterday in preparation
for their 1,400-mile Sports Relief challenge at Dorney Lake
in Windsor, Berks. James said: "He's a real pro."
24/02/2008 - Track the progress of James' Challenge
couple of minutes, we receive information from James' Nokia N82
about his position, which means you can watch his progress in
real time on the website."
Keep track of the progress here.
26/02/2008 - Walliams on Virgin Radio
David was being interviewed on Virgin Radio today about the
upcoming Sport Relief challenge. Everything kicks off from this
Thursday! David says "the swim from Gibraltar to Morocco is
shorter than when he swam the English Channel but the seas are
rougher, colder and much more life in the sea (sharks!)"
27/02/2008 - And he's off!
amazing attempt to set a world record is now underway! James
left Dover at around 11am on the 27th February and if conditions
are good, he should reach Morocco around the 5th March.
- Walliams reveals shark fear
Little Britain star David Walliams swims the Straits of
Gibraltar next month, it's not the freezing water that will give
him goosebumps - but his fear of sharks. Petrified of the
predators lurking beneath the waves of his 12-mile charity swim
with Olympic rower James Cracknell, the 36-year-old comedian is
worried that he'll be a man-eater's catch of the day. "They'd be
more likely to eat me because I'm fatter than James.
He probably wouldn't be very tasty because he's lean and muscly
but with me there's more fat to chew on. "Mind you, if there's a
shark attack, it would make good TV."
29/02/2008 - Guess who's flashing
World have a video of David in the middle of a city centre, in a
01/03/2008 - The laydee is for turning serious
Walliams surprised everyone – particularly himself – when he
achieved one of the 50 fastest times for swimming the English
Channel last summer and raised £1m for charity. Now he is
preparing to join rower James Cracknell on the final leg of the
Olympic gold medallist’s epic attempt to row, cycle and swim
from Britain to Africa in seven days in aid of Sport Relief:
“I’m jumping in at the end to get some of the glory,” he says.
Read full article here...
02/03/2008 - Cold Crawling: Walliams in new swimming
battled his way through jellyfish, seaweed and sewage to conquer
the English Channel in 2006, comedian David Walliams is
preparing for a fresh challenge: swimming the Strait of
Gibraltar alongside Olympic rower James Cracknell later this
Cracknell is currently midway through an attempt to reach north
Africa in seven days by rowing, cycling and swimming. He is
pedalling furiously down through France and Spain to raise money
for Sport Relief, having set off from Dover last Wednesday.
Walliams is awaiting a call to join him as he nears the end of
his 1,400-mile bike-ride. They will both then swim the final leg
to Africa, with Walliams acting as friend and coach.
05/03/2008 - Viva Tarifa!
Today's target is Tarifa, the starting point of the swim. James
says "We're still deciding whether the swim will be tomorrow or
Friday. It depends on the conditions and how I'm feeling. It may
be safer for me to have a rest day rather than plunge straight
in. One thing's for sure, I'm on the home straight now!"
Approx 6pm (GMT) and James has made it to Tarifa. The official
websites quotes James as saying in a text: We are here at
Tarifa! Africa comes next. 12 miles to go... But not yet.
Weather gives us a day off tomorrow and then the swim attempt
could be on for Friday..."
"I'm going to be having a medical when I finish the cycle to
check I'm in good shape for the swim, which I will hopefully
attempt on Friday dependent on the weather. Tonight I will be
having several media interviews, relaxing and eating lots of
food to provide me with energy for tomorrow... "
- On your marks, get set...
day 9 for Cracknell's challenge and is a well-deserved rest day
to give James a chance to recover from the 1,400 mile cycle
before attempting the 14 mile swim. David Walliams is with him
and raring to go.
James' blog for day 9...
though it's a rest day, it's not like I'm lying around taking it
easy! I was still up early to get some physio. Well, I say early
- it was nowhere near as early as when I was doing the cycle leg
of the challenge.
I've also been doing a round of press interviews with David
Walliams, who's joining me on the swim. David's been on top form
all morning. He's revealed a fear of sharks, which wasn't
something I was worrying about until he mentioned it.
Of the challenge so far, the 14-mile swim is the section where I
have the least natural ability. To stop me getting too nervous
about it, there's talk of going to Gibraltar later depending on
how many press interviews there are left to do."
07/03/2008 - Let the Swim begin
time: 09:40am (GMT)
it! The last day of the challenge and it's the big swim. I can't
tell you how fired up both me and David and I are. He's almost
bubbling over with excitement. Since the doctor gave me the
go-ahead yesterday, it's pretty much all we've talked about.
Until I was declared physically fit to undertake this leg of the
challenge, I didn't want to set my heart on completing the
challenge today. But now I've got medical permission to do the
swim, I'm raring to go! I'd put my wetsuit on now and dived in
if I could.
Both David and I are under no illusion, the 12-mile swim is
going to be tough. It's pretty rough water out there and the
water is freezing. But I can't wait. We think its going to take
us between four and six hours, which means the end of the
challenge is so close now I can almost taste it."
text message: "We have 4 pilot whales swimming around James and
David right at this moment! Its beautiful!"
completing the swim, Walliams and Cracknell will be picked up by
millionaire Theo Paphitis on his yacht before being flown back
to the UK.
2:11pm (GMT) Time taken to swim: 4.5 hours.
has proven how close Africa is, using his own body strength to
arrive in just 10 days! He's capsized, suffered from saddle
sores and braved shark infested waters.
James' blog for day 10...
done it! I've actually managed to travel 1,460 miles under my
own power alone in only 10 days. And it's been an incredible
The swim went much better than either David and I anticipated.
It even gave me one of the best moments of the challenge so far
when four pilot whales swam around us. An absolutely amazing
sight. I'm so lucky to get the opportunity to do these things.
I've got to thank the support crew for making sure we safely
navigated the shipping lanes. The Strait of Gibraltar is far
from quiet and it could have got quite hairy with some of the
large ships and tankers that use this stretch of water.
It took us just 5hrs to swim the 12 miles. Both David and I
could feel the support behind us all the way and it's thanks to
everyone who's donated money to Sport Relief that we managed to
complete the swim in such a good time.
Words can't express how satisfied, pleased, overwhelmed and
exhausted I am now that the challenge is over. I'm so happy to
have helped raise so much money for such a good cause. And of
course, I'm over the moon to have set a brand new World Record.
I've managed to burn an incredible 60,000 calories and slept for
just 50 hours in the last 10 days. I've also spent more than 108
hours in the saddle. So I'm hoping this is going to be a tough
one to beat and I get to hang on to my World Record for a while!
08/03/08 - James
Cracknell cracks African epic
As if swimming from Europe to Africa were not enough to deal
with yesterday, James Cracknell also had to cope with the fact
that his companion, the comedian David Walliams, was repeatedly
and violently sick halfway across the Strait of Gibraltar.
Fans of Little Britain were instantly reminded of Maggie, the
projectile-vomiting bigot, but this time Walliams was doing it
for real, all in the name of Sport Relief.
"It was horrible, absolutely horrible," a pale-faced Walliams
said later in a surreal interview on a small, bobbing boat
somewhere off the coast of northern Morocco.
The double Olympic gold medallist had rowed across the Channel,
then pedalled through France and Spain, but needed a water-buddy
to keep him company swimming to Africa. That is where Walliams
a brilliant, dogged, truly inspirational swim, taking just over
4½ hours, an achievement that perhaps would even have moved a
few real-life Vicky Pollards to raise an alcopop in grudging
acknowledgement. Or perhaps they would have just chortled at
Around the halfway point, shortly after the swimmers had been
visited by a playful family of pilot whales, the rough
conditions, and swallowing too much salty water got the better
of Walliams. The noise he made was absolutely terrifying,
sounding halfway between the howl from a wounded walrus and a
tanker's fog-horn. It was an extraordinary effort to carry on;
after all, he has never won any gold medals, just Baftas.
"As soon as I started throwing up, I felt so completely
demoralised, and I just wanted it to end, and that's quite a
dangerous point to reach," he said afterwards. "It was a mental
challenge as much as a physical challenge, and I totally lost it
in my head. Oh God, I was thinking all sort of horrible
thoughts. Source: Telegraph.
14/03/2008 - James Cracknell Interview
comparison to his previous epic journey in which he rowed across
the Atlantic with television presenter Ben Fogle, it was far
less monotonous. "At least with this I had views to look at," he
said, "and there were some Brits out there who came out into the
streets to cheer us along. In the Atlantic it was just like 'oh
look, there's some water and more water and more water'. In
fact, in the whole of that crossing I think I saw maybe four
"On the bike there were some lonely times but it was better for
my sanity as I knew the support crew was always with me."
Cracknell's European cycle ride ended up in Tarifa where he was
met by Walliams whose pre-swim training regime appears to have
been somewhat difficult to his sidekicks having spent a night in
a Soho lap-dancing club, which was all over the Sunday tabloids.
Cracknell said: "I've not had a chance to ask him about that but
it looks a novel way of preparing. It was a bit different to my
preparations." While Walliams, who has already swum the Channel,
was clearly the more accomplished swimmer, the comedian was sick
halfway through his crossing with Cracknell being forced to keep
"He basically got sea sick so I had to steer clear of him
otherwise I would have been sick as well," he said. "It wasn't
great for him as he still had two hours left of the swim but,
all credit to him, he still managed to do it and it wasn't the
easiest swim that's for sure."
In fact, just 200 people have successfully swum across the
Straits of Gibraltar, although the company of some pilot whales
along the way helped the pair get across.
Sport Relief Show
BBC had a huge line-up of entertainment tonight including the
Gibraltar to Morocco swimming challenge with David and James.
- Top Gear presenter Richard Hammond welcomed James and David to
the Sport Relief studio and we got the chance to see a small
documentary of the challenge, which will soon be available here
for anyone that missed it!
both raised an astonishing
£341,451 and were awarded with
medals from Dame Kelly Holmes and Sir Steve Redgrave.