Endurance swimmer Lewis Pugh has completed his unprecedented 530-kilometre swim along the length of the English Channel - part of a campaign to highlight the need for improved marine protection, supported by social change consultancy thinkBeyond.
The United Nations Patron of the Oceans arrived in Dover after 49 days, becoming the first person to complete the feat without a wetsuit or flippers, in accordance with the Channel Swimming Association (CSA) rules.
The CSA was on-hand to officially validate Pugh’s achievement, which saw him swim an average 10km each day while battling tendonitis.
Thinkbeyond worked with the Lewis Pugh Foundation to strategically shape the campaign message, secure sponsorship and manage partnerships for The Long Swim event.
In particular, the agency secured Lead Partner FXTM, Official Partner Speedo and Lead Broadcast Partner Sky, which covered the Swim every day across its news channels as part of the media giant's commitment to healthy oceans.
London-based thinkBeyond also delivered event management for the Lewis Pugh Foundation along the Swim’s route as part of the partner delivery to FXTM.
The Long Swim challenge sought to raise awareness of three distinct environmental issues: plastic pollution in the oceans, commercial overfishing and the impact of climate change.
Pugh is calling on the British Government to urgently protect the seas around the UK coast and British Overseas Territories by introducing more Marine Protected Areas around the UK coastline.
Secretary of State for the Environment Michael Gove was present in Dover to congratulate Pugh on his challenge and to talk to him about his concerns around current UK policy.
Secretary of State @michaelgove congratulated @LewisPugh this afternoon as he completed his extreme endurance challenge of swimming the length of the English Channel to highlight the importance of protecting our oceans pic.twitter.com/DbRrY0nFXX— Defra UK (@DefraGovUK) August 29, 2018
Speaking after the final leg of the challenge, Lewis Pugh commented: “Completing The Long Swim is my biggest achievement in all of the years I have been swimming and campaigning for ocean issues.
“But I see this as just the start – we now need to see urgent action from the British Government to protect the seas along the UK coastline.
“During The Long Swim, I saw plastic on picturesque Cornish beaches, I found party balloons five miles off the coast at Brighton and saw countless other examples of the impact of climate change and human behaviour on UK waters. If the British Government doesn’t do more to protect our coastline, it will be our generation, not futures ones, who see the true impact of inaction on their coastline.”
ThinkBeyond is part of the Benchmark group of businesses. It describes itself as a global expert in providing consultancy, strategy and delivery to brands, sports teams, leagues, federations, talent and governments who want to do good business and create positive social change.
The company's clients include Legal & General, ESPN and Special Olympics. It also works with other athletes including Michael Johnson and Helen and Kate Richardson-Walsh on sport-for-social-change projects.
Plymouth-born Pugh has built a global reputation for his work to raise awareness about the state of the world’s oceans through a series of extraordinary sporting challenges.
His latest achievement follows a pivotal role in creating the largest Marine Protected Area in the world in the Ross Sea off Antarctica.
The completion of the Long Swim marks the start of a worldwide campaign entitled Action for Oceans, an initiative that is calling on governments to fully protect at least 30% of the world’s oceans by 2030.