Turkish delight for Johnny in swim challenge

Johnny Rutherford
Johnny Rutherford

Business boss Johnny Rutherford has completed an exhilarating continental swimming quest – and is urging others to contemplate it.

Johnny, of Burnside Farm foods in Kelso, took part recently in the Samsung Bosphorus Cross Continental Swim Race, organised by the Turkish Olympic committee.

“Basically, it’s swimming the Bosphorus from the Asian side to the European side of Istanbul,” he explained. “If you enjoy open water swimming, then this is the one to do.”

Johnny (pictured) said it was a very easy 6.5 km (current assisted) swim, provided you could find the current.

He described himself as “a rather overweight and unfit triathlete, with the Border Triathletes and Tri section of Kelso Wheelers, who was just doing this as a bucket list tick-off”.

However, the rather surprising statistics of a finish time of 1hr 10 mins 43 seconds, coming 30th out of 97th internationally in his 55-59 age group, 18th male Brit in all ages – and first Brit in his age category – was “the icing on the cake”.

In “hot for a Scot” temperatures of around 25 degrees, 33 countries were involved and around 2450 people competed, although around 10 per cent did not finish.

“It was won by a very fast Turkish lady aged 18, who swam it in 47 minutes,” said Johnny. “I suspect she may have been a member of the Turkish Olympic squad.

“She was quicker by half a minute than the fastest boy.”