Frequently asked questions

Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge

What is the Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge?


The Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge is a challenge to swim a marathon distance at a venue of your choice and in your own time. Your challenge is to complete the Marathon 10k or Ultra Marathon 25k over any 30 consecutive days before midnight 11 May 2021 (dates have been extended due to the various lockdowns and Tier 4 restrictions). You can complete your challenge whenever and in as many swims as you like.

Enter, record your swims and submit your final result to become a marathon swimmer. The challenge is FREE and the purchase of medals, swim caps and t shirts is optional.

Entry to this virtual challenge is now closed. But we will be back later in 2021 with a new Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge.




How do I record my swims/results for the Virtual Challenge?


Record your swims in anyway you wish. Whether you record your results on a device, app or simply by recording each swim manually – you can then take a screenshot or photo of your results and upload it.

Record your distansce and time.

Details on how to submit your results are in a question above.




How much is it to enter the Virtual Challenge?


The challenge is FREE, however if you'd like a medal sent to you, swim cap or t shirt, these can all be purchased when you enter (subject to availability). Entry to Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge does not include the cost of attending the swimming venue – this cost is covered by the participant. You can purchase a Marathon Swims medal (£10.50), Marathon Swims Swim Cap (£7.95), Marathon Swims t-shirt (£16.50) or a Medal and Swim Cap combo (£15.50). All prices includes postage and packaging. International participants will need to cover additional costs of postage




How do I upload my Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge results?


1. Firstly, please only upload your results when you have COMPLETED your challenge. You can only submit one image and this must be of your completed challenge distance/time. 2. Visit the Active Results page: https://resultscui.active.com/events/MarathonSwims2020VirtualChallenge 3. Enter your registration ID started with "R-" (found on your confirmation email) 4. Click Go 5. On the result submit page, enter your Finish time and Upload a screenshot of the result page from your timing app or a photo of their GPS watch or a photo of your manual record (e.g. Excel) that shows the distance/time completed. You can upload results from 1 November until midnight 11 May 2021. This timeframe has been extended due to the various Tier 4 restrictions and lockdowns. Record your swims in any way you wish. You can upload one image. This could be a screengrab or photo from an app, device or website, or a photo of your paper records of your completed swim times and distance. Your registration number beginning with 'R' is shown on your entry confirmation email. If you don't want us to include your results in the online results - please submit your time as 59:59:59




When is the Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge?


Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge ends 31 December 2020. You can start whenever you like (after 1 Nov), but you must swim the complete distance of 10k or 25k over 30 days, finishing before the end of 31 Dec to earn yourself a medal. (Results deadline has been extended due to Tier 4 restrictions).




How do I enter the Virtual Challenge?


Simply enter the event, choose whether you want any merchandise or medals and start swimming and recording your swims. You can enter at anytime before midnight 20 December 2020, but make sure you have enough time to complete your challenge. Record each of your swims and be ready to upload your evidence of completion before midnight 31 December 2020. Please see details below of how to evidence your results.




How will people know that I am taking on the Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge?


The Virtual Challenge is not an event, it is a challenge that you take on in your own time at your chosen venue. We suggest you tell as many people as possible that you’re doing the challenge; share on social media, ask for fundraising if you can and buy a medal and Marathon Swims Swim Cap to show that you’ve completed the challenge.




Can I fundraise for charity in the Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge?


Yes of course, we’d love for you to raise money for charity – especially our amazing partner charity Level Water.

You can fundraise for any charity, so please let us know on your entry form who you will be raising money for and how much you’d like to raise (don’t worry you’re not committing to raise this much, we’d just like an idea of how much you think you could raise)




What distances challenges are available?


You can choose to take on the Marathon 10k or Ultra Marathon 25k in the Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge.

You can change your distance up to midnight 20 December 2020. After that no distance changes are possible.

We do have an Ultra Marathon 50k challenge but this has been suspended for this year due to current swimming pool restrictions. We hope to launch this challenge distance in future, possibly next year.




Once entered, can I change my Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge?


You can change challenge distances if you wish. This can be done by logging back into your Active account and choosing a transfer. The transfer will cost £5. Changes to the distance are only possible until midnight 20 December 2020. After this time no further distance changes are possible




Where can I swim my Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge?


You can swim in a pool or any swimming venue you wish. And you can mix it up.

It may help your to book your swims in advance, as the venue requires and that you follow all of their social distancing and safety measures. You will need to pay for each swim - our challenge is FREE but your will need to pay for your swims in the normal way.

You could swim your virtual challenge in open water, however we do not recommend this unless you are a very experienced cold water swimmer and swimming at a managed location with the necessary safety provisions in place. Each open water swim would also need to be very shorter than a typical pool swim due to the temperature of the water.




When do I receive my Marathon Swims merchandise?


Thank you for your Marathon Swims merchandise purchases. All purchases include the cost of postage. All merchandise, including medals will be sent to you following your submission of your results for your challenge. International participants will need to cover some additional costs of postage by paying the additional fee in additional purchases - please log back into your Active account to pay this. Please note - Medals cannot be sent until your results have been submitted and other merchandise purchsed will only be sent when we know the outcome of your swim challenge. Results can be submitted anytime between 1 November and 11 May 2021. These date have been extended due to the various lockdowns and Tier 4 restrictions. After the closing date - all participants (who purchased a medal) but did not submit their result will be sent a generic Marathon Swims medal (not including the distance) if they email us to request a generic medal.




What happens if I can't start or continue my Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge due to local restrictions?


The Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge was originally from 1 - 30 Nov 2020. However, following the announcement (31 Oct) that all pools would need to close for 4 weeks, we extended this timescale to 31 Dec 2020 and then again to 11 May 2021. The new time period (1 Nov - 11 May 2021) enables you to complete the challenge over 30 days, finishing any time but it must be before midnight 11 May 2021.




When do I upload my results?


Results can be uploaded any time between 1 November and midnight 11 May 2021. This timescale has been extended due to the various lockdowns and Tier 4 restrictions. You will need your registration number (starting with 'R') and one image/screengrab of your results to submit. Only submit your results when you have completed your challenge in full. Please see the 'How do I upload my results?' question above.




Can I opt out of the free prize draw?


Our partners have kindly given us some of their products and services to give to lucky participants in the Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge. All particiants who have submitted their result before midnight 31 Jan 2020 will be entered into the free prize draw. And a subsequent free prize draw on 12 May 2021. To opt out of the prize draw, please email us - info@marathonswims.com




How does the free prize draw work?


Our partners KitBrix, Outdoor Swimmer, Swim for Tri, Swm Quest and Soul Cap have all kindly donated some amazing prizes for the Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge. All participants in the Marathon Swims Virtual Challenge who submit their result successfully before midnight 31 December 2020 were entered into the free prize draw for each of the prizes. The winners will be notified by email and their postal address will be shared with some partners to enable them to send the prize directly to the winners. The draw was due to take place on or around the 2nd January 2021. However, due to the lockdown and Tier 4 restrictions and subsequent closure of many pools, we have decided to hold some prizes back for when all participants have completed their challenge. The date for the new prize draw will be 12 May 2021. The prizes held back for a future draw for all participants with submitted results before the new closing date (date tbc): KitBrix CityBrix River Arun Swim with Swim Quest 5 x Swim For Tri sessions in a bottle The free prizes draw for the following items was held on 1 January 2021 for all those who have submitted their times before 31 December 2020: KitBrix bag Dobi bag and towel 5 x Swim For Tri sessions in a bottle Soul Cap - micro fibre towel Outdoor Swimmer mag 12 months subscription Participants can opt out of participating in the free prize draw - see below




When are the results published?


We will publish results (distances completed and name) regularly throughout the challenge. Results can be found here - https://resultscui.active.com/events/MarathonSwims2020VirtualChallenge Please let us know if you do not want to be included in the results by emailing us info@marathonswims.com




I don't want my results to be publicly available


No problem at all. Please submit your time in the normal way as 59:59:59 and we will not publish it.




I have paid for a medal, but I can't complete my challenge?


If you bought a medal but do not complete your challenge - you will be sent a 'generic' medal (without the distance of Marathon 10k or Ultra Marathon 25k) on it. However, you will need to email us to let us know that you have not completed your challenge for us to know to send it to you. You can email us up to 14 days after the official end of the challenge to qualify for a 'generic' medal.




What happens if I am not able to complete my challenge?


If you are not able to complete your challenge, please drop us a line (info@marathonswims.com), so we can post to you any merchandise you have paid for. If you ordered a medal and did not comlete your challenge or submit your result before the closing date (date tbc), we will send you a generic Marathon Swims medal (without the distance stated on the ribbon) when you have emailed us (before 11 May 2021).




How do I purchase more merchandise or add international postage?


Click this link to take you to your Active Account: Click on Purchase Merchandise and select International Postage




I ordered a medal, but I cannot complete my challenge in time


If you ordered a medal but are unable to complete your challenge distance and submit your results before the closing date (date tbc), we will send you a generic medal (without the distance on the ribbon), if yo email us before 11 May 2021.




Where can I find my R-number?


Your R-number is on your confirmation email from when you registered. You'll need your R-number to submit your results. We can re-send you your confirmation email, so please email us info@marathonswims.com if you want us to resend it.




When is the deadline for completing the challenge and submitting results?


The deadline for completion of the challenge and submitting your resuts is now midnight 11 May 2021. This deadline has been set following the PM's announcement that outdoor swimming venues can open from 29 March 2021 and indoor venues from 12 April 2021. These dates are subject to change. If the dates are moved later, then the completion and submission dates will also be changed. The various lockdowns and tier restrictions that have been in place since 4 November 2020 have affected the event completion timeframes. The original deadline for completion and submitting results was midnight 30 November 2020, this was moved to 31 December and now to 11 May 2021. Congrats to all participants who have been able to complete their swims and submit their results.




Can I still purchase merchandise?


You can purchase merchandise until 11 May 2021. Please follow the steps below: Log in to your Active account here. Select 'Purchase merchandise' and you can then add Marathon Swims swim caps or Marathon Swims t shirts to your order. This is subject to availability. If a size or type of merchandie is not available, that range will be sold out. Furture Marathon Swims events will have other merchandise for sale on entry. If you're having trouble logging in - please see this guide. When you have purchased additional merchanide, please also email us at info@marathonswims.com to state that you have done this, just in case your order has already been processed.