New "Marathon River Swim Series": A Triple Challenge in Europe's Most Picturesque Rivers

New “Marathon River Swim Series”: A Triple Challenge in Europe’s Most Picturesque Rivers

A thrilling new competition has emerged in the world of open water swimming with the announcement of the Marathon River Swim Series. Three of Europe’s most renowned open water marathons—the Flow des Gabarriers in France, the UltraEbre in Spain, and the Thames Marathon in the UK—have united to offer a remarkable swim series.

Swimmers are invited to participate in each of the events, to be crowned Marathon River Man or Woman. In order to qualify they must swim the 3 marathons within a 5-year time span, all swimmers that have completed one of these swims in 2022 or 2023, or are planning to swim in 2024 are currently eligible. The three swims operate as independent events, but with a shared passion of delivering a safe and unforgettable river swim experience to all participants.

Le Flow des Gabarriers – Cognac, France

Scheduled for June 1, 2024, Le Flow des Gabarriers beckons swimmers to the serene waters of the Charente River. Participants can choose from two distances: a 33km swim from Chateauneuf-sur-Charente to Cognac, or a 16km journey from Jarnac to Cognac. Known for its lush vineyard-lined landscapes, the region offers a stunning backdrop, combining the thrill of competition with the charm of rural France.

On June 1, 2024, the serene waters of the Charente River will host the Le Flow des Gabarriers. This event, set in the heart of the Cognac producing region, offers participants two swimming distances. The more formidable 33km marathon route descends from Chateauneuf-sur-Charente to Cognac, navigating through eight picturesque locks. For those looking for a shorter challenge, the 16km “Gabarrier Apprentice” swim stretches from Jarnac to Cognac, providing an equally beautiful but less demanding course.

Celebrated by French King Francis I as “one of the most beautiful streams in the kingdom,” the Charente River offers a breathtaking backdrop that blends the thrill of competition with the tranquil charm of rural France. It’s an opportunity to swim through vineyard-lined landscapes and connect with fellow swimmers from all over the world.

UltraEbre – Catalonia, Spain

On July 6, 2024, the UltraEbre presents the longest course of the series with a 30km trek along the iconic Ebro River. The swim capitalizes on the Ebro’s ideal conditions in July, with water temperatures around 24°C, providing a comfortable environment for long-distance challenges. The Ebro, notable as the mightiest river of the Iberian Peninsula and the only major river flowing into the Mediterranean, offers clean and transparent waters, making it a perfect venue for an open water marathon. Established in 2012, this swim both tests endurance. Participants are advised to prepare meticulously, encompassing physical training, nutrition, and mental health to be fully ready for the demands of the UltraEbre. Each swimmer is paired with a kayaker from Xerta, enhancing safety and support throughout the race. This unique arrangement provides essential assistance, from navigation to hydration, allowing athletes to focus on their performance in one of the most picturesque settings in Catalonia. Swimmers can also experience the diverse natural and cultural richness of the region, renowned for its historical landmarks and culinary delights.

Set for July 6, 2024, the UltraEbre Swim Marathon invites participants to conquer a 30,830-meter stretch of the Ebro River. From Tivenys to Amposta, swimmers will navigate Spain’s most significant river under the ideal conditions of warm, transparent waters. Each swimmer is paired with a kayaker from Xerta, enhancing safety and support throughout the race. This unique arrangement provides essential assistance, from navigation to hydration, allowing athletes to focus on their performance in one of the most picturesque settings in Catalonia. The UltraEbre is more than a race; it’s an opportunity to immerse oneself in a region rich with historical and cultural treasures, making every kilometer a discovery.

Thames Marathon – Oxfordshire, UK

The Thames Marathon is set to captivate swimmers on August 11, 2024. Taking place between Henley-on-Thames and Marlow, just about 25 miles outside of London, this event offers three distances—5.5km, 9km, and the official marathon distance of 13km. Known for its prestigious status within the open water community, the Thames Marathon provides a unique challenge divided into four distinct sections.

Swimmers will navigate through some of the most picturesque segments of the Thames, exiting the water at three historic locks: Hambleden, Hurley, and Temple. At each of these points, participants can enjoy a brief respite with refreshments, making the long distances more manageable and enjoyable. This setup not only aids in stamina management but also adds a layer of strategy and planning to the swim.

It’s a scenic journey through quintessentially British countryside, offering views and an atmosphere that can’t be found anywhere else. Its ability to cater to various skill levels, from amateur enthusiasts to seasoned marathon swimmers gives it its broad appeal, contributing to its vibrant community atmosphere. Celebrated as one of the top-rated swims with a 4.8/5 rating on the Racecheck review platform from its 2023 participants, the Thames Marathon stands as a top open water swimming event in the UK.

“We are thrilled to launch the Marathon River Swim Series” said Grégory Lécrevisse, organiser of Le Flow des Gabarriers. This series is part of our commitment to promote the joy of open water swimming and to foster a sense of community among swimmers worldwide. The individual swims have their own individual challenges and rewards, and we can’t wait to introduce new swimmers to each unique environment.”

The series is waiting to crown its first Marathon River Man or River Woman – there are currently 3 swimmers that have completed 2 of the 3 swims required. Each swimmer to complete one of the events will receive a woven Marathon River Swim Series badge to commemorate the swim. When 3 badges have been collected the swimmers will be given a unique gift from the event organizers.

Registrations for all three events is currently open.

For more information and to stay updated on the latest news and announcements, visit Marathon River Swim Series