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Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Does A Marathon Run Compare To A Marathon Swim?
Stroke after stroke in the cold, rough water or step after step under the hot sun, which is harder? Which kind of marathon requires a greater effort? Which is a greater accomplishment?
For the elite athletes, the top male marathon runners finish in less than 2:10 while the top male marathon swimmers can swim 10K in under 1:55 under ideal conditions. The top female marathon runners finish 42K in less than 2:25 while the top female marathon swimmers finish close to 2:00 - relatively close in time, but these elite athletes are not representative of the human population.
At the mass participation level, it is estimate that 1.8% of Americans can swim 500 meters non-stop. Of this 1.8% of the American population (approximately 5,526,118 people), it can be assumed that 420,000 individuals could swim 10 miles non-stop (approximately equal to the total number of registered USA Swimming + US Masters Swimming members + NCAA Division I, II and III athletes + junior/community college athletes).
If 10% of those 420,000 individuals are motivated to complete a 10K swim, those 42,000 people equal about 0.013% of the American population. Because an estimated 467,000 individuals finished a certified marathon run in America in 2009, more people seem to be able to finish a marathon run than a marathon swim. However, this may be based on the fact that there are more opportunities to do a marathon run than a marathon swim.
What are your thoughts and opinions? Which is more difficult or a greater accomplishment - a marathon run or a marathon swim. This is something to consider while you are swimming 10K in rough conditions against the current or running uphill under the hot sun.
Copyright © 2011 by World Open Water Swimming Association
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