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History of The Challenge

It was late 2018, and Danny Longman and Tom Elliott were sitting by a campfire in the Wadi Rum desert, miles from the nearest road or cell service. Having met only days earlier, the two were deep in conversation. The topic...



How quickly could they swim the full length

of every lake in the English Lake District?


Tom, having previously swum the full length of Windermere, England’s longest lake at 18km (11 miles), was well-placed to contemplate this deep and seemingly meaningful question. Danny, whose swimming experience was limited to 30 lengths of his local pool, was not.

They soon learnt that there were 13 publicly accessible lakes (see Lake Guides), totalling 71km in length. While each had been swum before, no-one had yet raced them back-to-back. Enthused by the thought of setting a new fastest time, the two decided to do just this. Preparations did not go well. In early 2019 Danny managed to detach his right pectoral muscle from his shoulder lifting weights in early 2019, and the subsequent reattachment surgery and lengthy rehabilitation period did little to improve his swimming. Having decided to crack on nonetheless, the two soon began their swim. For a bit of extra fun, they decided to cycle between the lakes rather than driving. Danny completed the 13 lakes in a time of 3 Days 6 hours (78 hours). Unfortunately, Tom developed hyperthermia on the final lake and had to withdraw. The bar had been set.

The following year George Taplin took up the challenge. Having sensibly decided to leave his bike at home and arranging to be driven lake to lake, he set a new record of 2 days 11 hours (59 hours). Impressed by George’s decision-making and speed, Danny decided to have another go in 2021. This time he managed to keep all major muscle groups attached during the build-up, and set a new fastest time of 41 hours 7 minutes.

In Lake Guides and Rules & Info we formalise the challenge and invite you to have a go!


Here, we throw down the challenge - how fast can you do it?

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