A Barrington man who three years ago joined a small group of swimmers over 50 to successfully cross the English Channel is ready for his next challenge: a 28.5-mile lap around Manhattan Island, New York, to raise money for the fight against ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease.
If Doug McConnell, 56, completes the long swim next month, he will be just the 84th person to have achieved the "Triple Crown" of open-water marathon swimming, and just the 16th to do so after the age of 50. The English Channel, Manhattan and the Catalina Channel make up the Triple Crown swims.
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McConnell has raised more than $220,000 for scientific research programs at the Les Turner ALS Research Laboratories at Northwestern University since swimming the English Channel in August 2011. At the time, he was just the 48th person over the age of 50 to complete the milestone swim.
McConnell said he is inspired to raise money for ALS research because his father, David McConnell, had the disease.
"I saw firsthand how ALS affected my father and the struggles he faced with daily activities," McConnell said. "Those struggles are profound and far more difficult than most people can imagine. Open water swimming, with its physical and mental demands, helps me put into perspective the challenges people with ALS go through every day."
McConnell will attempt his feat as part of the Manhattan Island Marathon Swim event on June 28. For more on Doug and information on how to donate, visit his blog at www.alongswim.com/dougs-blog/.