British comedian completes marathon Thames swim

13th September 2011, Comments 0 comments

British comedian David Walliams completed a 140-mile (225-kilometre) swim down the River Thames on Monday, having fought off "Thames tummy" to reach the Houses of Parliament.

The 40-year-old completed his eight-day slog in the tidal section of the Thames, with thousands lining the river banks in London to cheer him on.

The co-star of television sketch show "Little Britain" has raised more than £1 million ($1.6 million, 1.2 million euros) so far for the Sport Relief charity with his Thames exploits.

Walliams set off on September 5 from Lechlade in Gloucestershire, southwest England -- the start of the navigable Thames -- and battled with not only the physical strain of the swim but also diarrhoea and vomiting, sewage and swans.

"I think a bath is the only water I want to see for quite a while," he said as he got out of the river at Westminster Bridge, draped in the British flag.

"It wasn't really fun. It was 140 miles swimming in cold water so the fun bit is when you get out.

"It was really, really tough and the distance took it out of me.

"There were a lot of things against me but I knew if I kept putting one arm in front of the other I would get there."

He said as finished there was a wave of "relief that I didn't have to do any more".

Walliams has previously completed fundraising swims across the English Channel and the Strait of Gibraltar.

In 2006, British maritime lawyer and environmental campaigner Lewis Gordon Pugh became the first person to swim the entire 215-mile (346-kilometre) length of the Thames.

© 2011 AFP

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