The first ever 10K wave at the Great North Swim sold out in less than two weeks, and since then we’ve had over 450 people sign up to take on the ultimate open water challenge, the marathon swim!

Someone who knows more about conquering this distance than most, is our very own ambassador, and 10K open water Olympic silver medallist, Keri-anne Payne.

If this is the first time you’re attempting a swim of this distance, we’ve teamed up with Keri-anne to bring you some top tips ahead of the event:

  1. Know the course

Keri-anne recommends that you take some time to get to know the course so you have a good idea of what you’re doing when you get in the water.

The 10k course will be six laps of the mile course that starts and finishes in front of the Low Wood Bay Hotel.

The course map is available on line here, but take some time on event day to view the course, you will also be fully briefed by the Great Swim team at the start line before you get into the water.


  1. Get the right kit

If you’re taking on this challenge you will be in the water for a very long time, Keri-anne’s 10k time is around two hours and we’re expecting that some participants will take up to four hours to finish the distance.

It’s essential that your kit is up to the challenge and that it will keep you warm and comfortable throughout the 10K.

Keri-anne advises that the key to a well fitting wetsuit is ensuring it is nice and tight and you need to ensure your goggles are comfortable and well fitting. Check out our online store for a selection of Aqua Sphere wetsuits and accessories that are up to the job!

Finally at this distance, you can expect some chafe if you’re not well prepared – open water swimmers all have their own favourite trick to limit wetsuit rub on the back of the neck. There are lots of options out there so find one that works for you and make sure you try it out before event day.

  1. Fuelling 

The 10K isn’t known as the marathon of open water swim for nothing! You are going to burn a LOT of energy. With this in mind its essential that fuel yourself properly for the challenge ahead.

Keri-anne recommends that this process should begin in the build up to the event, with plenty of nutritious meals in the days leading up to your swim.

At least three days prior to your event start adding some slow burning carbohydrates to your diet, and make sure you are properly hydrated.

On the morning of the race have a plain, energy dense, breakfast an hour and a half to two hours before you swim and again ensure you are properly hydrated.

There will be a small pontoon reserved for 10k swimmers at the end of each lap. You can stop on any or all of your laps to have a drink of Aqua Pura or take on some Jelly Babies. We recommend you practice taking these on board in your training.