In the swim

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The Independent Online

Is there no limit to human masochism? While the rest of us rested in preparation for yesterday's feast, more than 30 people rose early for their annual dip in the Serpentine. Still more took to the frigid waters of Dublin Bay for their annual exercise in hardiness, while their Berlin counterparts had to break the ice, literally, before they could swim. Meanwhile back in Britain, a 40-something woman spent Christmas Day climbing Helvellyn, and will do so every day of every other week until the end of April.

Is there no limit to human masochism? While the rest of us rested in preparation for yesterday's feast, more than 30 people rose early for their annual dip in the Serpentine. Still more took to the frigid waters of Dublin Bay for their annual exercise in hardiness, while their Berlin counterparts had to break the ice, literally, before they could swim. Meanwhile back in Britain, a 40-something woman spent Christmas Day climbing Helvellyn, and will do so every day of every other week until the end of April.

What these tough people have in common is their insistence that their Christmas exertions are more pleasure than pain. So maybe, as we rub our eyes and try to shake off that hangover, we should think of following their example. Not today or tomorrow, and not in the rain, but when the sun shines, the nerve ends tingle and the shipping forecast says there are no gales in the offing. That should let us off the hook at least until next Christmas. See you at the Serpentine – or the summit of Snowdon? – next year.

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