The Olympic marathon swim and the Olympic marathon swim both showcase some of the best and fastest endurance athletes in the world.

While the marathon run has a long history and (the men’s race) is featured on last day of the Olympic Games, the marathon swim was introduced at the 2008 Beijing Olympics in a rowing basin and will be featured in the Serpentine in London.

How do these two marathon extravaganzas compare?

Marathon Run: 42.195 kilometers
Marathon Swim: 10 kilometers

Predicted Winning Times:
Marathon Run: 2:05 – 2:10 for men; 2:20 – 2:25 for women
Marathon Swim: 1:50-1:55 for men; 1:58 – 2:05 for women

Marathon Run: Passes many of London’s most famous landmarks (Mall, Tower of London and Buckingham Palace)
Marathon Swim: Held in the Serpentine in Hyde Park

Sample Rules:
Marathon Run: Water shall be provided at intervals of no more than 5km. Runners who collect refreshment from a place other than a water station is liable to disqualification.
Marathon Swim: Impeding another swimmer is grounds for a warning, a yellow flag or a red flag (immediate disqualification). Two yellow flags equals a red flag. Swimmers can carry refreshment in their swimsuits.

Split Timing:
Marathon Run: Split times are recorded at the midway point and at 5km intervals
Marathon Swim: Split times are recorded after each loop

Marathon Run: Altitude differential between the start and end of the marathon cannot be greater than 0.1% of 42.195 km
Marathon Swim: 6 loops near the perimeter of the Serpentine

Marathon Run: Each runner is allowed 1 false start. A second false start leads to a disqualification. Runners must stand and cannot touch the ground at the start.
Marathon Swim: A false start can be yellow carded. Swimmers must stand at the floating pontoon at the start without a running start.

Marathon Run: Runners must be a bid with their country code and race number
Marathon Swim: Swimmers must wear a swim cap with their country code

Marathon Run: Runners can wear a variety of shoes, socks, hats, glasses, watches and running gear
Marathon Swim: Swimmers cannot wear anything beyond their shoulders or that provides them with insulation or buoyancy

Marathon Run: Runners finish by crossing the plane of the finish
Marathon Swim: Swimmers finish by touching the finish pads with their hands

Marathon Run: August 5th (women) and August 12th (men)
Marathon Swim: August 9th (women) and August 10th (men)


Copyright © 2012 by Open Water Source


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North side beach at Marine Stadium in Long Beach starting at 9:00 AM

  • 100-meter newcomer swim
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  • 6 loops of the Olympic 10 km Marathon Swim course (10 kilometers)


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Open Water Swimming Race Calendar

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