Psychiatrist overcomes phobia for world record attempt after friends diagnosed with multiple sclerosis

Psychiatrist overcomes phobia for world record attempt

Jo Rodda at the open water swimming camp in the Channel in March.

Jo Rodda, 38, with Simon Malyon, 42, and his sons Jack, 5 and Billy, 3.

First published in News
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East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter - Wanstead & Woodford

A psychiatrist has overcome a phobia of swimming in the sea as she prepares a world record attempt in a gruelling London to Paris triathlon.

Dr Jo Rodda, from Woodford Green, is aiming to complete the challenge in less than 92 hours later this month.

The Arch to Arc Enduroman challenge, which has only been completed by 14 other people, includes an 87-mile run to Dover, a 22-mile swim across the English Channel to Calais and a 181-mile cycle to Paris.

She is attempting to raise £20,000 for MS Trust after her friend Simon Malyon, 42, was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis (MS) three years ago.

Her training regime since January has included up to two hours running before and after work, Monday to Thursday, and a 25-mile run, an up six-hour swim, and 100 miles on the bike from Friday to Sunday.

Dr Rodda, who has represented Britian in world and European triathlon events and completed four marathons, said she only overcame her life-long phobia of swimming in the sea in March when she attended an open water swimming camp.

The 38-year-old, who works at Victoria Hospital in Romford, said: “This has been a tough psychological battle for me as there were days I would go to the beach and just cry because I couldn’t do it.

“There is no way I could be doing this last year, which is funny because I have always been a strong swimmer and I’m a psychiatrist.

“Simon is such an inspiration. He and his wife Sarah coped with his illness and bringing up two young children. They didn't wallow, they just got on with their lives.

"I wanted to show how much I think of them and thought this would be meaningful and a challenge because I would have to overcome my phobia.

"As long as I have the right weather conditions then I think I can do it in about 80 hours, but wind and rain while swimming could slow me down considerably."

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