Maarten van der Weijden became the first person to swim the 11 Cities Tour, a route typically reserved for the famous speed skating race in the Netherlands. Maarten completed the 200km route wearing a custom designed deboer wetsuits, along with a special neoprene hood, boots, and gloves to keep his body warm in the frigid water. This was Maarten’s second attempt after being stopped at 160k due to illness in 2018. Maarten began swimming at 5:30PM on Friday June 21, and finished at 7:00PM on Monday June 24. While swimming Maarten only took brief stops to take on fuel, and a few brief 20-30 minute naps.
Maarten had to overcome incredible physical fatigue, mental exhaustion, and frigid water temperatures to complete this incredible challenge, but he was rarely alone. Hundreds of thousands of spectators lined the route, 4.4-million people tuned into the live stream on YouTube, and millions more watched Maarten on TV. Maarten’s swim has raised over €3.9-million for cancer research.
Maarten van der Weijden was the gold medalist at the 2008 Summer Olympics in the Swim Marathon. In preparation for the 11 Cities Tour Maarten swam up to 200km per week. His most challenging workout was a 40km continuous swim at night in 11*C water. Maarten decided to take on this challenge to raise money for cancer research after beating the disease as a 19-year old when he was diagnosed with leukemia. If you want to learn more about Maarten or donate you can do so at the Maarten van der Weijden Foundation website.