FAQ - Frequently Asked Questions

Event Entry:

Can I buy merchandise or update my details after I have entered?

- 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 is the fundraising amount needed for a Level Water charity place?

- The Level Water charity places are sold at a 50% discount for Marathon 10k individual and Half Marathon 5k challenges on Saturday only. 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 use a discount code for a Level Water charity entry?

- If you have a discount code, then these codes are not valid against the Level Water charity entry. Level Water charity places are already discounted by 50%. There is a fundraising requirement associated with the Level Water places, asking participants to raise a minimum of £200 for the charity

Can I do the event as part of a team?

- Yes, you can enter the 10k Marathon Swim as part of a team of two.  Only one member of the team is allowed in the water at any one time.  Each swimmer can swim any number of sets (1k sets) as long as the total distance swum by the team is 10k and that each swimmer has swum a minimum of 1k.  There is no team option for the Half Marathon (5k) or 1k Challenge Swim events.

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 purchased the wave selection (in additional purchases) and choose the same broad wave start time. 

How much is it to enter? Marathon Swims?

- Entry prices are currently between £27.50 for the 1k Challenge and £109 for the Marathon 10k Team (of 2).  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.

Why do the prices rise closer to the event?

- We are keen to reward our early entrants and there are additional costs to us for late entrants.  We also want to make sure you have the best possible chance of completing the challenge in your target time, so we like to encourage you to enter Marathon Swims as early as possible and give yourself the maximum amount of training time.

Is there ballot entry?

- 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.

What is the Processing fee?

For all event challenges and purchases there is an Active.com processing fee  and is equivalent to £1 plus 5% of the total fee paid). This fee is applied to all entry fees and merchandise or additional items purchased.

Is there a minimum age to the part in 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"

When can I enter other Marathon Swims events?

- Details of other Marathon Swims events will be available online as soon as possible.  Follow our social media accounts (@MarathonSwims) for all up to date info

Is there any difference between the two days (Sat 7th and Sun 8th November 2020)?

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 18Nov and cover the whole weekend. Podium positions are not awarded by day, but by event.

Are there cut off times that participants have to complete their challenge by in Marathon Swims?

- We do have cut off times but these are only applied in the later (medium and 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.  If you have entered an accurate estimated completion time and are in a slower wave, the cut off times will not apply.

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. 

Can I choose 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 electing 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.

If I have purchased the Wave Selection - does that mean I can swim in any wave?

- 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

What are the cut off times?

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

Marathon 10k (team and individual) - 5 hours

Half Marathon 5k - 2.5 hours

1k Challenge - 1 hour

All participants must be finished by 8pm

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

- Yes, 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 onto 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 (when public places are still available) is done simply by emailing us to request a transfer (info@marathonswims.com) stating the name of who will be taking your place, then ask the person who wishes to participate to enter, and we’ll refund your original entry, minus the Transfer fee (£15). 

Transfers are only permissible up to 130 September 2020.  No changes are possible after this date. For all Transfers fees paid there is a small transaction fee applied by our registration system hosts - this is approximately 50p for a £10 Transfer fee and payable by the participant.

Can I transfer my place to another Marathon Swims event?

- Transferring to another event is not possible.  Neither race places or spectator places cannot be deferred or refunded. Marathon Swims has events hosted at the London Aquatics Centre (7 and 8 November 2020) . Transfers are not permitted between events.

Are refunds or deferrals possible on race or spectator places?

- No.  Our terms and conditions state that no refunds or deferrals are possible for any challenge, including charity places.  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 (Booking Protect - see below), which may cover you for a number of incidents which may affect your ability to take part in the event.

Are the Active Network fees refundable?

- All entries are charged a fee by our registration platform provider. This fee is not refundable in any circumstance. Any requests for this refund need to be directed to Active Networks.

Are refunds possible on any other purchases (eg merchandise or spectator places)?

- Unfortunately not.  All other purchases are not refundable

I have bought some Marathon Swims merchandise, when will I receive it?

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

How do I get a discount code?

- 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 info@marathonswims.com and we'll see what we can do.

If I had a discount code but did not use it on entering Marathon Swims, can I claim that saving back?

- No, unfortunately you cannot. Discount codes can only be used at point of registration and not used retrospectively, even if it can be proved that you had a discount code

Will SOLD OUT categories be available for sale in the future?

The only way a sold out category will become available, is if a participants who has 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.

Can I change my start time?

No, unfortunately not. The start times for Marathon Swims are arranged based on your estimated completion time (entered at time of registration). It is important, for the enjoyment of all, to ensure that swimmers of similar speeds are placed in the same wave, as we know it can be frustrating if participants are continually overtaken or need to overtake.


The start times of waves are set to enable a consistent flow of participants throughout the event. Start times on both event days vary between 8.30am and 6pm. The faster swimmers have later starts.

There was an option for a limited number of people to select a start wave in registration, however this may not have been available to those entering later.

Event insurance in 2020:

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.

Event insurance in 2019:

The following only relates to claims for 2019 insurance.

What does the Booking Protect insurance cover?

 - this document will show you what is covered and how to claim, if you choose to take up the insurance.

I purchased race place insurance on entering Marathon Swims, how do I claim?

Race place insurance is offered as an option to everyone entering Marathon Swims with a separate company - Booking Protect. All claims need to be made to Booking Protect directly. Please use the link here to Booking Protect's website.

Please email us if you have any other questions about the event and we’ll update this section accordingly


© 2020 Marathon Swims


Operated by Participation Sport Ltd.