Tag Archives | Kevin Murphy

Good-bye Vijaya

Vijaya receiving the Gertrude Ederle award

Vijaya receiving the Gertrude Ederle award (photo Dover UK)

On Dec. 23rd we received the sad news that Vijaya Catherine Claxton had left this earth.

She was a respected member of the International Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team who made it across the English Channel from Dover to France the hard way on Sept. 8, 2007, in 22 hours 27 min., after three heroic attempts in the years before. Vijaya, who held a responsible position at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, became the oldest US lady to swim the Channel at age 59, and in March 2008 received the prestigious Gertrude-Ederle-Award for the most meritorious CS&PF English Channel swim by a woman in 2007.

Vijaya was a bubbly person known to a lot of us in the Channel swimming world. She came into our lives determined to swim the Channel and did it on her fourth attempt with Eddie in 2008. Her first three attempts were with me. All were long swims, all were great advances on the previous swim. All were very happy swims with a great support team of girls who enjoyed life to the full. Vijaya, complete with her smile and her willingness to help all around her will be sadly missed by the people who knew her. Those who did not know her missed out on one of the little pleasures of life.” – Mike Oram, pilot and Hon. Secretary of the CS&PF, and Angela Oram, Assistant Hon. Secretary of the CS&PF

Vijaya after her successful swim Sept 2007 with Alison Streeter, Queen of the Channel (44 crossings) and "King" Kevin

Vijaya after her successful swim Sept 2007 with Alison Streeter, Queen of the Channel (43 crossings) and "King" Kevin (photo by Cliff Golding)

“I happened to be on the jetty when Vijaya came off the boat after her Channel swim and I recall being immensely impressed by how cheerful and energetic she was. She wasn’t fast but she had enormous determination. It was a long and therefore a tough swim  – but you never would have known it. She was an inspiration.” - Kevin Murphy, “King of the Channel” (34 crossings)

I remember Vijaya swimming in the Dover harbor, always having a smile on her face, no matter how long she was in the water. The love she had for the water and our sport will be missed.” – Marcy McDonald, Connecticut

She was truly an inspiration. Vijaya taught me so much and I am a better person for having known her.” – Anne Cleveland

More:  www.thewaterisopen.com, on my old blog, on Sri Chinmoy Races and on Open Water Swimmig.eu and Dover UK.

“You don’t have a Soul. You are a Soul. You have a body.” – C. S. Lewis

“Death has no access
To the soul.
It only has access
To our weak and fragile body.” - Sri Chinmoy

“Death is at once
The end of the body’s
Old journey
And the beginning of the soul’s
New journey.” – Sri Chinmoy

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Karteek did it again – his 10th crossing – article by UK Scotsman Online

Karteek in Dover Marina a few years ago

On August 13,  Karteek from Edinburgh finished his 10th successful Channel swim in 16 h 49 min.

The same day  Suprabha Beckyord from Washington, D.C. – another teammate –  finished her 13th 3100 mile race in New York in a time of 61 days (unimaginable for me, but highly inspirational to follow the daily reports on http://perfectionjourney.org). For both of them these challenges are more of an inner quest than just athletic feats.

The online-article is followed by a few comments by Kevin Murphy, current King of the Channel and Karteek`s oberserver on the day.

http://news.scotsman.com/scotland/-Businessman-hails-yoga-after.5571971.jp

Businessman hails yoga after completing tenth swim to France

Published Date: 20 August 2009
By MARK McLAUGHLIN

AFTER completing a gruelling swim of the English Channel, he vowed to never put his body through the pain again.
But Edinburgh businessman Karteek Clarke just can’t leave a challenge alone. He gave it another go – becoming the first Scot to attempt the crossing twice. Then he did it again, and again, and again.

Incredibly, the 42-year-old business training consultant from Newington has now completed his tenth swim to France – and he puts his remarkable achievement down to meditation and yoga.

He said: “Every time I do it I say it will be my last time, but this time so many events conspired to draw me back to Dover to give it
another try.

“I first attempted it back in 1994 and I thought I could complete it with very little training, but I had to give up after I’d been going for 12 hours and still hadn’t even made it halfway.

“I went back and trained properly and completed the crossing in 1997, and a friend of mine filmed me coming out of the water saying that it was great but that I was never doing that again. It was just too tough.”

Mr Clarke spent a few years pursuing less gruelling athletic challenges, such as swimming Lake Zurich in Switzerland.

“It’s only 17 miles across and it’s a bit warmer,” he said. “It’s hardly a dip in the pool but it’s nothing compared to the Channel.”

However, the Channel drew him back once more in 2000, and has refused to let him go since.

He says he has been continually drawn to cross-Channel swimming by his devotion to the Sri Chinmoy discipline of yoga and athletic endurance.

On his latest trip, completed on 13 August, he was monitored from a boat by “King of the English Channel” Kevin Murphy, the male world record holder with 34 crossings under his belt.

Mr Murphy’s feat is dwarfed only by the “Queen”, Alison Streeter, who has crossed the Channel an impressive 43 times.

Mr Clarke said: “I’m definitely not racing to catch up with these guys.

“I keep going back to hone my meditation skills as our Sri Chinmoy teacher encourages us to undertake these tasks to promote self-discipline. Like most brands of yoga, the aim is to silence the restless mind and purge it of negative thoughts. After about six hours in the water, you’re cold, wet and miserable, but it starts to become quite exhilarating.”

This time, the choppy seas, showers and swell made conditions difficult, and Mr Clarke had to battle seasickness which led to his
energy levels dropping.

He finally paddled up the shore at Calais 16 hours and 59 minutes after setting off. The world record for a cross-Channel swim is just under seven hours.

Mr Clarke is one of a select few swimmers who have repeatedly crossed the Channel.

Michael Oram, honorary secretary of the English Channel Swimming and Piloting Federation, said: “Very few people have swam the Channel more than ten times, and while Mr Clarke has his spiritual motivations, others are motivated by the challenge.

“The Channel is the Everest of swimming, and I would argue that it’s even tougher than climbing Everest because there have been so many ropes and handrails added over the years that you can just stroll up it now. More than 4,000 people have climbed Everest but only around 1,000 have swam the Channel because it’s all about the endurance.”

………………………………………………………………………………..

Observations by Kevin Murphy who helped out as an observer and even crew member for Karteek, whose helper was busy feeding the fish most of the time (i.e. completely seasick):

“I was out yesterday observing Karteek Clarke’s successful swim (16hrs 49mins). The first five hours in the dark and what passed for dawn seemed to me to be miserable with a fair swell, a following sea and wind strong enough to be blowing the rain horizontally through the back doors into the cabin. It looked to be quite difficult for the swimmer to get a rhythm going. Although it was Karteek’s tenth Channel swim he started being sick after a couple of hours, until it calmed down. But afterwards he said it wasn’t the swimming that made him sick – it was looking at the way the boat was rolling! The second half of yesterday’s swim was brilliant and was as calm as could be hoped for – not quite glassy smooth but almost.  Unfortunately, unless you’re lucky or very fast, the Channel is seldom calm all the way across…

Incidentally, I was very impressed by Karteek. He was always cheerful, always smiling, always confident, fed quickly, never asked how far he’d got to go and just got on with the job. If he keeps knocking them off like he did yesterday I think I may have a problem!”

Kevin Murphy (34 crossings)

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