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Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Does A Marathon Run Compare To A Marathon Swim?

In the Olympics, the marathon swim is 10K. How can or does this accomplishment compare with the traditional marathon run of 42.195K?

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 Open Water Source

4 comments:

  1. While both are hard I think swimming is more difficult. Conditions in OW vary more making it harder to finish. When running you can walk if you get tiered when your swimming sometimes you can't stop due to conditions or you won't make it to the finish. So runners have a better chance of finishing when fatigued due to the fact that they can walk to the finish.

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  2. Comparing a marathon run to a marathon swim is probably alot like comparing apples and oranges. They're both so different. For me, I'd much rather swim 10K in rough conditions than run even a half marathon in those same conditions. Everyone is so different with various weakness/strengths you can't really compare running and swimming and say that one is tougher than the other. Even if the numbers show that there are much more marathon runners than swimmers.

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  3. I would love to do a marathon swim and I could do it, but I would probably be in last place by quite a bit... because there would be so few others in the water. In my local town the longest open water swim is a 5K, and last year only 40 people swam it. I'm less likely to sign up because of the pure embarrassment factor of being 1/2 mile behind everyone at the finish (as all the safety kayakers patiently follow me in). A lot of "amateurs" run marathons and walk significant pieces and don't care if they take 6 hours to complete. Very few swimmers swim an open water unless they're really good/fast to begin with.

    ReplyDelete
  4. Well, I have done a few marathon runs. 6 to be exact. And it's certainly tough. I'm a runner, not a swimmer, really. I've been doing Masters swim for the past 8 months and triathlon training with ocean swims for the past 2 triathlon seasons, and have swum in the ocean as far as 1.5 miles. Swimming 6 miles (10K) seems kind of scary to me. It would certainly be tough. I think contending with the open water conditions certainly throws something extra in there that runners don't really have to deal with. I love open water swimming, but 6 miles of swimming would probably take me 3-4 hours (my marathons take me almost 4 hours to run, so it's similar time-wise). Well, at this time the swim sounds tougher to me, but that's probably because I come from a running backrground. Someone who comes from a swimming background might feel the opposite.

    ReplyDelete

Thank you very much for your interest in the world of open water swimming.

The Staff of the World Open Water Swimming Association

2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference

Learn more...
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE

The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.

The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.

The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.

Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.

The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.

"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."

Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.

"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."

The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme

Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]

Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland

Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance

Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony

Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute

The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:

* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year

For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:

* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference

Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association

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