Frequently asked questions

FAQ - Event Entry

How much is it to enter Marathon Swims?

- Entry prices range from £27.50 to over £100 depending on the challenge and when you enter. Prices increase the closer we get to the event. We recommend you dive in now and claim your place before they sell out or increase. There is an Active processing fee (£1 plus 5% of the total payment) for all entries on top of the entry fees quoted. The Active fee is non-refundable.

Is there a ballot?

- There are a limited number of places in the event and demand is expected to exceed supply, however we are not currently operating a ballot system. Public places are available initially, charity places may also be available but both are subject to availability.

Is there a mimimum age to enter Marathon Swims?

- Yes, you need to be a minimum of 18 years by the event date. If you are currently 17, but 18 by the time of the event, you can enter, but you will need your parent/guardian to enter on your behalf. There is a selection at the start of the registration process enabling you to "register for someone else under 18"

Is there any difference in the two days of Marathon Swims (Saturday and Sunday)?

Both days will involve a range of swimming abilities and distances (who are in our separated into waves depending on their estimated completion times). However if you're swimming for our charity partner Level Water we recommend that you swim on Saturday 7 Nov, and if you are a fast swimmer (in any category) we recommend that you enter for the Sunday 8 Nov. Awards of the podium place medals will be on Sunday 8 Nov and cover the whole weekend. Podium positions are not awarded by the day, but by event.

Are there cut off times for the event?

- We do have cut off times but these are only applied in the later (faster waves) and a total of 9 hours (for the early wave only). We allocate your start waves based on your estimated completion times to help ensure everyone is swimming with swimmers of similar abilities. All participants must be finished by 8pm

If you are in a faster (later) wave the cut off times are:

Marathon 10k (team and individual) - 5 hours

Half Marathon 5k - 2.5 hours

1k Challenge - 1 hour

When do I find out my start time?

- Start times will be communicated to participants on or around 1 October 2020. The start times may vary between 8am and 7pm and depend on the schedule of the event. Please make sure you are available the whole day.

What is wave selection?

- If you have purchased the Wave Selection - you can select the broad time that you will start. You will be placed in a wave that is for your distance. There are typically three waves throughout the day for each distance challenge.

Can I change my start time?

- All start times are allocated (between 8am and 7pm) according to your estimated completion time that you submit on entering the event. You will be allocated a wave according to your swimming speed. It is only possible to choose your start time by paying the Wave Selection Fee in additional purchases. You can log in to your account and pay this, if you have not already done it and wish to select your wave. Please be aware that by selecting a different wave, you are likely to be competing with swimmers of different abilities. Wave Allocation to a later wave will not be possible if the estimated completion time of the swimmer means that the likely completion time exceeds 8pm.

If you purchase the Wave Selection - this means you are able to choose the broad time of your wave start (i.e. before 10am, between 10.01am and 1.30pm and between 1.31pm and 6.30pm). The idea of this is to enable participants who are travelling long distances to be able to plan their travel ahead of time. There are a limited number of Wave Selections available, the reason for this is that the event does need to ensure the majority of swimmers in each wave are at the appropriate speed/standard for that wave. The Wave Selection option is one a first come, first served basis.

Can I update my details after entering?

- Yes, simply click on this link and enter your password. From there you can buy additional Marathon Swims merchandise, update your estimated completion time or change address etc. If you're having trouble logging in - please see this guide.

How do I transfer to another challenge, buy additional items or change my details?

- You can change your details or transfer by simply clicking on this link - enter your password or create a new one. From there you can transfer to someone else, transfer to another challenge (please see below for more information), buy additional Marathon Swims merchandise or buy Wave Allocation, update your estimated completion time or change address etc. If you're having trouble logging in - please see this guide.

What are the charity places?

- The Level Water charity places are sold at a 50% discount for Marathon 10k individual and Half Marathon 5k challenges on Saturday only. Discount codes are not valid for charity places.

The charity fundraising requirement for these places is £200 per place. Level Water are a fantastic charity - please click here for more details. If you select to swim for Level Water we will share your basic contact details with them, so they can support your fundraising.

Can I swim in the same wave as my friend?

All participants are allocated start times based on their swim speed (estimated completion time entered on registration). If you wish to swim in the same wave as a friend you'll need to each purchase the wave selection (in additional purchases) and choose the same broad wave start time.

If the wave selection is not available (as places are limited), then please email us and we'll see what we can do for you.

Can I change my entry to another event, challenge or another event day?

- We have a flexible policy and you can change your challenge or event day (part of the same event). However you cannot change your entry to another Marathon Swims event or year.

You can change your challenge or event day (of the same event) but only if there is available space in the challenge you wish to transfer to. Individual entrants can transfer online. There are fees for transferring to a different challenge (£10) and to another person (£15).

All transfer fees are subject to Active Network fees (e.g. around 50p for a £10 transfer). You may need to pay the additional cost of your new selected challenge. No refunds for a lesser priced challenge are possible. If you entered the Team 10k you cannot transfer to another challenge or to another pair, but you can change one of the team members by emailing us with the information. Changes are only possible until midnight 30 September 2020, no changes will be possible after this date.

Can I pass my entry to another person?

- Your place in the event must be registered to the actual participant. We do permit you to transfer your place to another swimmer but this must be completed before 30 September 2020. To transfer to another person you can do this online by logging into your account.

Transfers are only permissible up to 30 September 2020. No changes are possible after this date. For all Transfers fees paid there is a small Active Networks transaction fee applied by our registration system hosts - this is approximately 50p for a £10 Transfer fee and payable by the participant.

Can I get a refund or defer my place?

- No, unfortunately not. Our terms and conditions state that no refunds or deferrals are possible for any challenge, including charity places and mechandise. However, you do have the ability to transfer (please see above). You also, at the time of entering have the ability to buy race place insurance (Active Refund - see below), which may cover you for a number of incidents which may affect your ability to take part in the event.

What is Active Refund?

Active Refund is an insurance scheme that is offered at registration stage for all participants. The costs for the insurance is dependant on the cost of your race place. Claims must be made before the event (see terms and conditions).

The ACTIVE refund terms and conditions are listed here.

COVID19 update - Please note that from 14 March 2020, the Active Networks registration platform has stopped any new sales of the Active Refund insurance. They will honour existing insurance purchased.

I have bought Marathon Swims merchanidse, when will I receiove it?

- Thank you for purchasing some great Marathon Swims merch. All merchandise will be available for collection on event day.

Discount codes?

- Some discount codes are offered to various groups. If you are involved with a group and you think that some of your members would be interested in entering Marathon Swims with you - please drop us a line to and we'll see what we can do.

Discount codes cannot be retrospecitively applied under any circumstance.

What can I do if I want to enter a SOLD-OUT category?

Firstly, checkout charity places, as they may have some places available in the event even though the public places have sold out.

Sometimes a sold out category can become available This occurs when a participants who had entered in that category decides to transfer their place to another category. If the transfer is made then this will free up one place in the previously sold out category. If this occurs then the available place is sold on a first-come-first-served basis. Unfortunately there is no way of predicting when this situation may occur. So if you want to enter a sold out category, it may help to check the availability of places every now and again.