We try to make our events as accessible as possible, within the limits of the locations of the swims. If you have any special requirements we suggest that you email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will see if we are able to accommodate your needs.
We are working with a representative from a group of disabled athletes to try to make our events more accessible and inclusive, and to work out which requirements are most important and how we can improve.
We will also be building on the relevant topics within this FAQ, as we learn what information disabled athletes require. Please let us know if there is anything you think we should include.
Is there Blue Badge Parking at the events?
Henley Classic – Blue Badge holders can park in the area of the carpark that is closest to the event area. Please tell the parking stewards on arrival, and they will direct you to the correct area. The carpark is firm (depending on the weather conditions) short cut grass with some hard paths.
Henley Swim Festival – Blue Badge holders can park in the area of the carpark that is closest to the event area. Please tell the parking stewards on arrival, and they will direct you to the correct area. The carpark is firm (depending on the weather conditions) short cut grass with some hard paths.
Club to Pub – the car park for this event is approximately 300m from the event start. Blue Badge holders can park at Henley Rowing Club (the start). They should talk to the steward on arrival at the Club, and they will be directed where to park. The finish of the event is 800m by road with pavement from the start (and therefore from the disabled parking) or a short trip on the river taxi. The river taxi is only accessible via stone steps and a pontoon.
Thames Marathon – the car park for this event is a significant distance (1km+ across the town) from the event village at Higginson Park, Marlow. Pound Lane Car Park is close to the event village, this is a council run car park with 6 disabled parking bays. It is around 200m from the swim finish and event village area to Pound Lane car park, on hard paths. The swim starts in Henley-on-Thames. Coaches will take you to the start from the event village.
How accessible are your swim entries and exits?
With some of our events, we will not know the exact entry and exit points until nearer the time. We will continue to update this section as plans become firmer. If you think you may need help with the entry or exit, please contact us in advance to discuss how we can help. All entries and exits are manned by volunteers who are willing and able to assist.
Henley Classic – to get to the start there is a 300m walk/wheel along the tow path (hard standing). Entry into the water is usually via a pontoon or by swimming pool style steps. There is a step down from the river bank to the pontoon. Swimmers can then sit on the edge of the pontoon and lower themselves into the water. Exit is via swimming pool style steps. There is then a 1800m walk back to the event village along the tow path.
Henley Swim Festival – there will be a walk/wheel from the event area to the start of around 800m along the tow path. Entry into the water will be via swimming pool style steps from the bank. The finish is a shallow ‘beach’ area with a relatively big step up from the muddy beach onto the grassy bank. There is then an 800m walk back to the event village – the terrain here is more likely to be difficult if the weather has been wet as the path breaks up a bit in this area.
Club to Pub – the start is at Henley Rowing Club, via a pontoon. The land around the club is wheelchair friendly, there is a small step down onto the pontoon, and then swimmers can sit on the pontoon and lower themselves in to the water. The finish is at The Angel on the Bridge, swimmers exit the water using scaffolding steps. The steps lead directly onto the terrace at the Angel which will be crowded and busy. The river taxi back to the rowing club is via stone steps the other side of the bridge to the pub.
Thames Marathon – As well as the start and finish, swimmers will have to get out of the water and re-enter at each of 3 locks (2 locks for the Half Marathon). There is a variety of ladders, steps, muddy banks etc, and in some cases up to 200m to walk between the entry and exit. We usually have walking sticks available for use at the locks, but if you know you will need them, please let us know in advance so we can be fully prepared.
If you have attended our events in the past, and have ideas as to how we can make them more accessible, please do not hesitate to contact us.