Join Swimathon 2023

English Olympic swimmers Duncan Goodhew MBE and Mark Foster have added their support to this iconic swimming challenge.

Looking for a New Year fitness challenge? English Olympians Duncan Goodhew MBE and Mark Foster are encouraging people of all ages and abilities to sign up for Swimathon 2023

“Swimathon is a fantastic event because everyone can take part,” said former Team GB Olympic Swimmer and Marie Curie supporter Mark Foster. “Swimming is an accessible and low impact sport that also has proven mental health benefits. That’s why I’m encouraging everyone to head down to their local pool to take on the Swimathon challenge and raise money for end-of-life charity Marie Curie and for Cancer Research UK.”

Between 12-14 May 2023, over 450 swimming pools and lidos across the UK will be taking part in the world’s largest annual fundraising swim. Participants can choose from individual challenges with distances including 400m, 1.5km, 2.5km and 5km. While those wanting to take on an even bigger challenge, there’s the triple 5km or the 30.9km, which is all the other distances combined. There are also team swims where up to six teammates can take part together.

An extra incentive

Participants will be pulling on their caps to raise much needed funds for Swimathon’s charity partners: Marie Curie, the UK’s leading end-of-life charity and Cancer Research UK, the world’s leading cancer charity.

Marie Curie Doctor and Swimathon participant Dr Laura Brass, said: “I have loved swimming since I was a child. Now I get the benefit of exercising and the sense of relaxation and wellbeing whenever I get in the water. I love being able to indulge my passion for swimming while raising money for Marie Curie and Swimathon gives me an added incentive to make the time to go swimming.

“Last year I took on the triple 5K challenge; I enjoyed pushing myself that bit more so much that I’m doing it again this year! Working for Marie Curie in Bradford I see the difference the teams make to patients with a terminal illness and their families. We couldn’t do this work without money raised from events like Swimathon.”

“A fun, accessible, and exhilarating form of exercise”

Swimathon President and ex-Olympic gold medallist Duncan Goodhew said: “I swim every single day without fail and I will never stop championing this sport. The positive impact that it has both physically and mentally is undeniable, and that’s why I’m so keen about promoting Swimathon as a way of showcasing swimming as a fun, accessible, and exhilarating form of exercise.

“Swimathon itself is a truly inclusive event. You don’t need to be the fastest swimmer, you just need to try your best and enjoy yourself, whilst fundraising for two important charities that advocate for the most vulnerable in society.

“There’s a lot of pressure during the New Year about giving things up, but why not take something up instead? New Year is a great time to jump into a new challenge, so head down to the pool and see how swimming can change your life.”

Over £52 million raised since 1986

Since its inception in 1986, over 700,000 people have taken part in Swimathon and over £52 million has been raised for a range of wonderful charities.

“Swimathon is a great way to get people of all ages and abilities into swimming, all whilst raising money for good causes like cancer research,” said Gareth Mulcahy, Head of Events and Sports at Cancer Research UK.

“Sadly, one in two of us will get cancer in our lifetime, but through challenges like Swimathon we can all do our bit to support the research that will beat it. That’s why we’re urging people across the UK to dive into their local pools during the Swimathon weekend to raise money and help us continue our life-saving work towards a world where people can live longer, better lives, free from the fear of cancer.”

Sign up to Swimathon 2023 before 31 January to take part; pay just pay just £9.75 per person, and under 16s go free!

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Jo is the Gear Editor for Outdoor Swimmer and also writes news and features for the website. A keen open water swimmer and long-distance walker, she loves seeking out lakes and lidos close to her home in the Mendip Hills, Somerset. She is the author of The Slow Traveller, editor and founder of independent magazine, Ernest, and has previously tested outdoor clothing and kit for BBC Countryfile Magazine, BBC Focus and Ernest Journal.