This swim is aimed at swimmers looking to achieve the ultimate inland long distance challenge, and covers one of the most beautiful stretches of the Upper Thames.
First swum in 2005 when Henley Swim founders Jeremy and Tom, wanted to see if they could swim the 14km distance from Henley to Marlow that they had rowed many times before.
Roll forward more than 10 years, and it has become one of open water swimming’s most prestigious ‘badge of honour’ marathon swims.
Participants have the choice of 4 different waves depending on their swim ability, and whether or not they wish to swim in a team. Pink, Blue, Yellow (team wave), Green – see FAQ’s below for details.
Wetsuit places ARE available for 2017 – click on the ‘Register here’ button on this page to sign up.
We have a limited number of non-wetsuit places. We are now operating a waiting list. Swimmers who would like to join the list can do so here.
There are a small number of non-wetsuit places available through our charity partner FRANK Water. These have a reduced entry cost and a minimum fundraising target. If you are interested please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
In 2017 the Thames Marathon 14km swim will start at The Leander club, Henley and finish at Higginson Park, Marlow.
The official car parking will be in Henley, at Wargrave Meadows, Wargrave Rd. From here you will take the short walk to the start venue at Leander club. After you have finished your swim and had some food and collected your finisher medal, we will transport you back to Henley. Supporters will be able to pay on the day to use the coach service.
We will transport one small bag (3-4kg) for each swimmer. We will tag your bag for identification purposes, and have it waiting for you at the finish area. We try and be careful but accidents do happen -please don’t use your best bag as we can’t be held responsible for any damage suffered in transit.
Absolutely, in fact we do encourage it. The more people who swim together and look out for each other, the safer the event is. In 2017 we are introducing a group/team category so that groups of swimmers with mixed ability can all start in the same wave.
We have a fully approved safety plan that ensures coverage across the full course throughout the event. In addition ALL swimmers will be required to use a tow-float at the 2017 event.
We do have a small number of non-wetsuit places available. This is to minimise the risk to our safety plan. Wetsuits are important for retaining heat and providing buoyancy.These places have been allocated for 2017 but if you wish to be added to the waiting list please complete the online form – there is a link on this page. Your request will be assessed by the events team for approval. Our decision is final on wetsuits and no discussion can be entered into. We advise swimmers to be prepared to wear a wetsuit if asked, on the day.
There will be 3 feed stops in 2017 – one at each lock: Hambleden (4km), Hurley (10km) and Temple (11.8km)
We will provide a bit of everything, including bananas, energy bars, energy drinks, water, some chocolate, sweets, and some salty snacks. A couple of the stops will also have hot drinks.
We will have 4 waves – Pink (fast), Blue (medium) Yellow (teams/groups) and Green (steady). The waves will go off in speed order to avoid faster swimmers needing to overtake the more steady swimmers i.e. Pink, Blue, Yellow, Green. Timings to be confirmed.
– We would recommend that you chose the wave appropriate to your pool 1500m speed
1. Below 25mins you should swim in the Pink wave.
2. Between 25mins and 35mins you should swim in the Blue wave
3. Between 35mins and 45mins you should swim in the Green wave
4. If you are entering as a team, you must choose the Yellow wave. All team members will then start together in this wave. This allows for groups of people with differing abilities, and who would ordinarily be in different waves, to start together. The first of your group to register must create a team. If you want to swim as a group in a different wave eg fast, you enter as individuals. There is no team prize.
– We would recommend that if you are not presently able to complete a 1500m swim in under 45mins it might be as well to target a shorter event and then build for the 2018 Thames Marathon
– If you are new to open water swimming, but an experienced pool swimmer, we would recommend that you select 1 wave below your capability
There are toilets at the start at Leander club, and at the finish at Higginson Park. We are aiming to have a toilet stop at one of the food stations as well (just incase you’re caught short)
Although an occasional illness can be an occupational hazard when swimming in the Thames, there were a few more than we would expect. We always test the water to ensure it falls within acceptable European bathing standards and have never had a failed test. Indeed Henley Open Water swimming club (and others) swim a number of times a week (throughout the year) on and around the same stretch and stomach upsets are extremely rare. It was particularly puzzling in that we had no recorded illnesses from the night before on the same stretch, at the Club to Pub swim. Upon further investigation it seems very likely that a combination of events contributed to the water contamination. Firstly there were some issues with old sewer pipes that are known for getting blocked, and secondly the very heavy rain fall (flash flood) on Saturday night created some flooding into the Thames. Although this is of little consolation to the individuals who suffered, it is useful for us to understand how it happened. The good news is that Thames water have replaced the old “problem” pipes.