More than 800 swimmers arrived in Marlow, after completing the Thames Marathon on Sunday – a long-distance endurance swim, organised by Henley Swim.
The swimmers had a choice of two distances, the full marathon which is 13km from Henley to Marlow, or 5.5km which is the half distance, from Hurley to Marlow. Unlike running, there is no fixed distance and anything over 10km is considered a marathon.
The fastest swimmer was British triathlon champion Richard Stannard (48) from Maidenhead in a time of 2 hours and 52 minutes. The fastest woman, and fifth fastest overall, was Amy Barton (27) from London in 3 hours and 6 minutes.
The last swimmer in was Rob Buechel (64) from California in a time of 7 hours and 29 minutes. Rob was cheered in by a huge crowd of spectators chanting his name as he arrived at the finish.
The event has been going for over 10 years, and is starting to gather an international reputation. Swimmers travelled to the event from all over the world including the USA, South Africa and Australia and well as many European countries including a huge contingent from the Netherlands.
The swimmers were supported by a safety and medical team of over 80, alongside more than 50 volunteers. The swimmers had to get out of the river at each of the locks where they were greeted by volunteers who assisted them out of the water, supplied them with food and drink and then helped them back into the water.
Swimmer Rachel said, ““Henley Marathon has been on my ‘swim to do’ list for some time and it didn’t disappoint. It is possibly the nicest swim I have done to date.” Swimmer Danielle added, “This was my first swimming event since the Girl Guides Gala back in the 70s and I LOVED IT! In fact I am already planning for next year and so is my partner.”
Juliet Hume, Director of Operations for Henley Swim said “We are overwhelmed with the response we have had to the is weekend’s Thames Marathon. We have received incredible feedback, and are so pleased that we were able to deliver such a memorable day for so many people. Logistically this is a very complicated event, with a great deal of support from the local community across the 13km course. We would like to thank local companies SAS and Softcat, all the venues along the route including Harleyford, Bisham Abbey and Culden Faw as well as Henley Town Council and Bucks Council. And of course our amazing volunteers without who we could not organise these events.”