First in a series of interviews with UK merpeople is the fabulous Sarah, who is holding the first UK mermaid marathon in London, this October.
Kerenza Sapphire: How, when & why did you become a mer?
Sarah: In January 2018 I saw a tail and fin for sale online and bought it with no idea how or where I was going to use it.
KS: For you, what’s the best part about being a mer?
S: I definitely feel a freedom and calmness when I swim with a tail and a fin that I don’t get from regular swimming. I love that the mermaid community is so welcoming, friendly, and inclusive. I went to the UK Merfolk convention this year on my own and immediately made friends, it was brilliant.
KS: Where’s your favourite place to swim?
S: I’ve only been able to swim in my tail a few times since I got it, but my local pool is now hosting a regular mermaid swimming session on a Tuesday night so it’ll be great to swim close to home and bring mermaiding to my local community.
KS: How do other people react to you being a mer?
S: Mostly they laugh, but they’re curious too, When I show them a video on my iPhone they are transfixed and most of them want to have a go.
KS: Any tail & fin preferences/recommendations?
S: I’m still on my first tail which is a fabric one but I’m hoping to explore more fin and tail options this year.
KS: So, tell us more about the mermaid marathon you’re organising?
S: I realise that while I bought my tail on a whim becasue it looked like fun, I was actually looking for some escapism. Last October I lost a close friend very suddenly to Sepsis, and learning to mermaid swim has really helped with my grieving process.
As I got to know more mermaids, they were refreshingly open about how it has helped some of them with their mental health issues, and I totally get that. In memory of the friend that we lost, all of my friends decided to raise raise money for UK Sepsis Trust. Lots of them did a ‘Tough Mudder’ run but I could never do something like that, and I could never run a normal marathon, so I decided to organise a Mermaid Marathon instead.
It’s a team swimming event with merpeople wearing a mono fin and completing 26.2 miles in the pool at Tooting Leisure Centre. It’s never been done before and I’ve never organised a fundraising event before so its been a challenge but everyone involved has been really supportive and its all coming together.
I’m probably most excited about the participant goodie bags right now! Its on October 13th, so we have plenty of time to fill all of the swim places, raise lots of money and make sure that its an event to remember. There’s also a large spectator gallery so that lots of people can come and cheer us on. Our friend always loved something that was a giggle and a bit out of the ordinary, she loved swimming too so I hope that we can do her proud.
Thanks, Sarah – I love the idea of a mermaid marathon!
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