On Tuesday we feature the World's 10 Interesting & Unusual Swims:
Our goal is to travel the world with you in search of the most unusual, fun, and interesting races from Peoria to Peking.
Today we travel to the Island of Manhattan and the city of New York for what the race organizer calls, "one of the largest long-distance swims" anywhere.
The annual Manhattan Island Marathon Swim will take place on June 6, 2009 and it entails a full counter-clockwise circumnavigation of the island of Manhattan
The circumference of Manhattan is 28.5 miles and the winning swimmer will do it in about seven and a half hours but it recently took an Australia 8.5 hours to finish the race.
James Pittar is blind. He is also a long distance swimmer. In his amazing career he has swum across the English Channel and taken on sharks and oil tankers. He is about to embark on a 48 kilometer swim around Manhattan Island. James will be the first blind person ever to complete the 8.5 hour marathon. An uplifting and hopeful story of one man’s dreams fulfilled.
You can watch much more of this fascinating documentary HERE.
Another view of Manhattan
"The circumference of Manhattan is 28.5 miles. On Saturday at 9:15 a.m. sharp, 23 solo swimmers and members of 10 relay teams jumped into the Hudson River at South Cove and started swimming south toward Battery Park. Their journey would take them up the East River, across the Harlem River and back down the Hudson.
Seven hours, 30 minutes and 15 seconds later, John Van Wisse, 35, of Australia crossed the finish line followed by Penny Palfrey, a 45-year-old grandmother, also from Australia and Rondi Davies, 38, who hails from Australia and New York.
The ViceLords, a six-member team was the first relay team to finish. They were swimming as a fundraiser for charity, with members from Ohio, Colorado, New York and Delta, Canada.
According to Drury Gallagher, who co-founded the Manhattan marathon swim in 1981, "this is one of the largest long-distance swims" anywhere. To qualify, competitors must have completed long-distance swims elsewhere. Many of them have swum the English Channel, for instance, and have done it several times.
In addition to Australia and the United States, competitors came from Canada, Great Britain, Italy, Mexico and the Republic of Ireland.
Ms. Palfrey came to New York with her husband, Chris, just for the swim. "We feel extremely privileged to be involved in this event," she said. "It's so amazing to see the three rivers and go under all the bridges and past the absolutely magnificent landmarks in New York City."
Ms. Palfrey has swum the Manhattan marathon before, but for Selwyn Jellie, 51, another Australian, this was the first time. He started competitive, long-distance swimming only four years ago. "When you feel you can't swim another stroke, it's in the mind," he remarked. "If you can overcome it in the mind, you can keep going. The older you get, I think the more mentally tough you become."
The oldest competitor on Saturday was 77-year-old Arthur Figur of New Rochelle, N.Y. The youngest were Rendy Opdycke of Mercer Island, Washington and Eliot Rushton of Gambier, Ohio, both 24.
The event was organized by the non-profit Manhattan Island Foundation, which uses the money it raises to put on swimming events in New York City and to teach at-risk youth to swim. In the last 12 years, around 40,000 young New Yorkers have learned to swim through their program."
* Click HERE to explore and travel to the rest of the World's 10 most Interesting & Unusual races.