Swim Marathon

2022 dates TBC
The challenge:
Swim 26 or 13 miles in 12 weeks
Pool, lido or open water
Fundraising target:

Event information

Challenge yourself to swim a marathon or half marathon distance over 12 weeks: take your fitness to the next level, and raise funds for the 1 in 10 people around the world who don’t have clean drinking water close to home.

Whether you’re already a swimming fanatic or you're looking to dip your toe in for the first time, join our Swim Marathon and cover 13 or 26 miles over 12 weeks. How you do it is completely up to you: break it down to weekly laps, or reach your distance over a few swims.

What's important is you have fun, enjoy the water and raise some money to bring clean water to others around the world!

How to get started

Help spread the joy of water

In the UK we're so lucky to have clean water in abundance to help us live healthy, happy lives – for swimming as well as drinking, cooking, washing and growing food. But for 1 in 10 people around the world that just isn't the case.

Right now 771 million people don't have clean water close to home.

They must rely on far-away water sources, wasting hours every day collecting water that isn't even safe. They're forced to drink and clean with dirty water that could make them sick. But together, through our love of water, we can change that.

Tantely smilling as she splashes clean water, as her grandfather Albert looks on.
WaterAid/Ernest Randriarimalala

When communities like Tsarafangitra in Magagascar get clean water for the first time there's a tremendous sense of joy. They know that from now on there's a chance for children to stay in school and get an education, for families to make a decent living, and for the whole community to lift themselves out of poverty. There's the possibility of a healthier, happier life.

You can help spread these joys and possibilities by taking part in Swim Marathon and bringing clean water to people around the world.


It's completely up to you how often you swim to complete your chosen distance, but to help you decide, our friends at Outdoor Swimmer have put together some guidance with suggested weekly distances, based on your experience, as well as their top tips for making your Swim Marathon fun and achievable.

However you decide to reach your distance, just make sure you're being realistic for your level of fitness and stay safe!

There are a few ways you could keep track of your challenge:

  • Download an app like Strava to track your swims. You can either link this to a waterproof smartwatch if you have one, or manually add an activity every time you swim. If you use Strava, you can link this directly to your fundraising page, log your swim distance and keep your sponsors up to date with your progress.
  • If you don’t use Strava you can still log your distance using a manual feature on your fundraising page. As with Strava this helps to track your progress and keep your sponsors up to date with how you’re getting on!
  • Keep notes with a good old fashioned pen and paper! You can then update your fundraising page with comments letting your sponsors know where you’re at with your challenge.

However you track your challenge, make sure to share your progress with your friends and family!

Join our Strava Swimmers Club to meet fellow Swim Marathon participants. We also have a WaterAid Events Facebook group.

Our friends over at Swim Outdoors have loads of useful tips and advice on swimming outdoors, such as finding suitable swimming spots, and how to keep safe when swimming outdoors.

Yes, to celebrate your fantastic achievement and thank you for completing this epic challenge every swimmer who raises over £100 and completes their challenge will receive an exclusive Swim Marathon medal.

You’ve come to the right place! Check out some great fundraising ideas and inspirational stories.

Contact us

Do you have any questions about Swim Marathon, or need advice on fundraising?

Get in touch with Lizzie from our events team – she'd love to hear from you.

Email: [email protected]