On June 28, Barrington resident Don Macdonald will be kayaking around Manhattan Island to support Doug McConnell, his friend and endurance training partner who will be competing in the Manhattan Island Swim race.
Though just a few years ago, Macdonald himself was doing the swimming as he was training to swim the English Channel when he collapsed with a cardiac arrhythmia right outside his home after a run. A neighbor who happened to be a retired nurse began resuscitating him until EMS arrived and he was rushed to Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington, Ill.
Training for the English Channel is not for the faint of heart. It involves training for 18-24 months, swimming over a million yards, most in bone chilling water temperatures (60 degree Fahrenheit or less), starting swims in the dark before work, on weekends and in bad weather.
Macdonald’s first attempt to swim the English Channel in 2010 never happened due to weather conditions. Upon his return to the U.S., Macdonald decided to take a break from training. He experienced shoulder pains, arm and chest discomfort that he thought were the result of the physical strains of training. However after a stress test showing possible abnormalities in blood flow, he was referred to a cardiologist.