French born marathon swimmer Ben Lecomte told NPR he is preparing to swim across the Pacific ocean from Tokyo Beach to San Francisco. He now has American citizenship as well.
The 47 year-old has completed a swim like this once before, but he hasn’t done so in 17 years. In 1998, Lecomte swam 3,716 miles across the Atlantic Ocean as a fundraiser to raise money for cancer research as a tribute to his father. He started in Massachusetts and finished in France 73 days later.
At the end of September, Lecomte plans to start his 5,500 mile journey from Tokyo to San Francisco. When asked why he wants to do a swim of this distance, he told NPR that if he knew how to paint or sculpt, hewould stick painting or sculpting.
“Because swimming is what I know, I will stick to swimming.”
He plans on swimming for 8 hours per day and using GPS to track his position, ensuring that he will start again in the same exact place he finished the day before. Although his last swim was to raise money for cancer research, this swim will be to draw attention to environmental issues.
“Before anything else I am a father and as a father the future of my children concerns me because, as we all know, our way of life is not sustainable. I don’t want to be passive and pass on to my children the liability we are tagging on to our environment. We can all make a difference once we realize how we can be better stewards of the environment and our own ecological footprint, make appropriate daily changes and inspire others to do the same. This is the first goal of this event and is intended to get people’s attention throughout the world and to understand that the solution is in our hands and that we can take action. The second goal is to encourage and work with the education system in all countries to include classes on sustainability and what our ecological footprints are into their own curriculum, because, as we all know, sustainability starts with education.”