Have you got the drive to train for the Great East Swim?

People are being encouraged to sign up for this year's Great East Swim training programme

People are being encouraged to sign up for this year's Great East Swim training programme - Credit: Archant

People looking for a new challenge are being urged to take the plunge and sign up for this year’s Great East Swim.

Organisers of the annual event are encouraging anyone aged between 35 and 49, and over 50, who do not take part in regular physical activity, to register for the 2017 training programme at Crown Pools, Ipswich, and Mildenhall Swimming Pool between March and June.

The programme is in its sixth year, but it is the first time it has been open to this age group.

The Great East Swim, on June 17 at Alton Water reservoir near Ipswich, is either a ½ or 1 mile course.

The programme is delivered in partnership with Suffolk Sport, Suffolk County Council, Ipswich Borough Council and Abbeycroft Leisure. Other partners include Allied Health professionals, The Blossom Charity and One Life Suffolk.

Tony Goldson, Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for health, said: “The Great East Swim programme has generated so many fantastic stories over the past few years and delivered long term positive impacts and increased physical activity levels in many people. I would encourage anyone who is considering getting active, but just needs some support and motivation to take the next step, to sign up and get involved. By targeting those people with low levels of participation in sport and physical activity we can help shape behaviours in our bid to become the most active county in England.”

Individuals who sign up will receive an extensive package of support which includes:

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• Three months fully supported training with professional swimming coaches.

• Three months free membership to one of the participating leisure centres.

• Physiotherapy support.

• Free entry to the Great East Swim 2017.

• Free wetsuit hire.

• Pre-event open water training session/s.

• All the encouragement and advice required from the programme team.

Valued at over £200 per participant, the course is being made available for a one-off £30 charge.

To apply, visit www.suffolksport.com/GES-2017 and complete the registration form for the relevant age category. Or for more information, call Carol Lukins, programme coordinator on 07955 735514 or email carol.lukins@suffolk.gov.uk