How long does The Swimmer take?
The Swimmer is just over a half-marathon in distance – so that's 13 miles of running. It takes a morning. We meet at around 7am at Hampstead Tube environs. We set off promptly as it get's light - usually around 7.15to 7:30am. We finish at Brockwell Lido at around mid day after bacon butties and coffee. The route is available here.
Cost and refunds
£20- 40 plus booking fee depending on whether we are adding in fancy new things like film screenings, new swims or massive bacon butties at the end.
This includes the four swims and support van to carry your kit to the end and quite a bit of cake if some of us have been baking.
Unfortunately there are no refunds if you cannot make it on the day, sorry about that.
Do I need to carry all my stuff?
No, our support car will transport your bags from the start to the finish. You will need to run with your swim kit for the first two swims so a little rucksack to run with is a good idea. The support car will also meet us at each of the pools to carry your full change of clothes at the end. So bring plenty of warm clothes in the cold winter months.
Meeting time and schedule
We meet at around 7am at Hampstead Tube environs, usually just down from the Tube opposite Gail's bakery. We set off promptly as it get's light - usually around 7.15to 7:30am We jog across to the Highgate Ponds (20 minutes) for a 8am swim. Then it's around 9.30am at The Serpentine and finish at Brockwell at 11.30am ish.
How fit do I need to be? Are there any shortcuts
You need a sufficient level of fitness to comfortably complete the 13-mile run distance. We split into two speed groups so you can choose the right pace for you. If you are really struggling you can stop at the Serpentine (4.5miles) and walk, jog 1 mile to Victoria for a train. Or jump on a Boris Bike.
No Swimmer is left behind and we always have someone designated run at the back with anyone who is struggling.
How long are the swims?
The swims are as long or short as you like, but they are definitely dips. We jump in, jump out, and warm up on the run.
What are the distances between each swim?
Start to Ponds 1 and a bit miles, Ponds to Parliament Hill 1 mile, Parliament Hill to Serpentine 5 miles, Serpentine to Brockwell 6 miles. The route can be found here.
What do I need to bring?
You will need to run with your swimming kit in a small rucksack for the first two swims. Our support car will take the rest of your stuff from pool to pool.
Our recommended kit list is:
Tried and tested running shoes.
Your running gear (waterproofs if the weather looks inclement).
Hat and gloves to keep you warm up after a chilly dip.
Your Oyster card, just in case you are struggling and need to hop on public transport for a bit.
In your small rucksack:
Swimming costume (or two, some like to have dry swimmers for each swim).
A swimming cap (or two) for the chilly water.
Towel (lightweight trekking towels are much easier to run with).
Your wallet or purse with some money.
To leave in your bag in the support car:
A change of warm clothes for when you’ve finished.
Spare swimming costume (maybe a few if you don't like changing in and out of wet ones).
Towels – likewise, you may want to bring a few.
A change of socks. If you run through a puddle on Hampstead Heath, it’s a long way to south London with wet feet.
Will there be refreshments?
Water, bananas and Tunnock's caramel wafers are provided and every now and then there is a Swimmer 'Bake Off' and people bring cake. The Lido Café at Brockwell does a mean Full English and we usually lay on coffee and a bacon butty at the end.
Where are the closest transport links to Brockwell Lido?
Brockwell is a 2-minute walk to Herne Hill or 5 minutes on a bus to Brixton tube.
Any tips on cold water swimming?
Yes. Here's two good links from London's experts at South London Swimming Club and one more from adventurer Tim Moss.
Is there parking en route or at the start?
There is no free parking near to Hampstead Tube.
If driving, the best option is to park near the Highgate Men's pond (our first swim). The parking on Millfield and Merton Lanes right next to the East side of the Heath are free at the weekends. But it’s probably best to use public transport.
What kind of people will I meet on The Swimmer?
Running and swimming across London seems to attract a like-minded bunch of pretty cool folk: you’ll meet swimmers, runners, poets, scientists, cake-bakers, celebrities, Ironmen, clergymen, joggers, piano tuners, triathletes, dippers, dreamers, weekend warriors, urbanites, nature lovers, adventurers… If you're nice, you’ll fit in.
Any more questions?
Drop us a line at firstname.lastname@example.org