Lake George Marathon Swim 2017
As most of you know, we cancelled the 2016 Lake George Marathon Swim five hours into it when wind gusts made conditions dangerous. With 84 swimmers and 33 boats involved, the size of the event made it difficult for us to alter the start-time or reverse the direction to avoid this weather. As we contemplate 2017, we realize that we must have the flexibility to be able to start over a two-day period. We have blocked out September 15-17, 2017, but frankly we have misgivings about trying to do this 32.2 mile swim as a group event, even with a smaller group. Feedback from 2016 participants indicates that those who want to try again are leaning toward doing it on their own, without the umbrella of an organized group. This obviously limits the resources they would have (police escorts, medical and EMT staff on the water and on shore), and the social aspects of a reunion of swimmers, but it gives more control to the swimmers and their crews.
As we contemplate holding the event again, I would appreciate some feedback on whether or not this community thinks it's a good idea or a bad idea to do it as a group event. If we do not hold the group event I do want to let people know that we will be around to help with local logistics.
I am very interested in what you learn, @Bob_Singer, as I live on Flathead Lake in Montana and face the same dilemma: The benefits of a large group swim weighed against uncontrollable weather conditions. I've been on all sides as a participant and and event organizer.
What I really appreciate is your offer, "we will be around to help with local logistics."
Hey Bob, I was going to email you about this. I am very interested in a solo crossing. I would be more likely to shy away from a group event just because the window would have to be really small and be able to swim would be like hitting the lottery.
While I've not done this swim, the logistics of meaningful police support would make me curious. If you have swimmers multiple hours apart, do the police have the ability to provide a meaningful enforcement presence?
I've done "mass" start 25k swims in Pensacola Bay, and there's no police support provided, we are asked to provide our own escorts. While I don't know anything about Lake George, I've swam unorganized in busy bodies of water with just kayak escorts, and not had any issues. Provided there is cell coverage, I would imagine this would probably suffice.
Have you thought of offering it up to smaller groups multiple times, like 20 Bridges?
We're all just carbon, water, starlight, oxygen and dreams
Having a choice of days for a group swim makes sense to me. I've started to do that with In Search of Memphre. As you know the difference between one day and another can be HUGE.
I like what I call "expedition" swims because of the camaraderie involved, but keeping them smaller (5 to 10 swimmers} makes them a bit more manageable. Having a mix of solo swims and one or more small group swims makes sense to me, Bob. I've started to offer support for solo (solitary) swims the length of the Lake Memphremagog in addition to the group swim. Some people prefer not to swim these kinds of distances in groups.
And, btw, thank you for introducing me to your beautiful lake, last September. An adventure to remember. Topped off with some flashing blue light disco on the way to shore at 3 in the morning.
When I get to the point where I can attempt a swim of this magnitude, one of my considerations would be whether a time window is offered. I would most likely select an event that does offer one. I prefer to dedicate my resources and training time to swims that have a high likelihood of actually occurring. From the cyber-spectator point of view, it saddened me to see that swimmers and crews were up against such bad weather. I kept thinking, why not start the next day?
I hope that you can find a model that works for swimmers and crews and falls within the spirit of what you want to offer to this community. Lake George would indeed be a gorgeous swim!
this was a massive undertaking as the combination of the volume of boats, the distance/time, and darkness i don't believe had been done anywhere before. I think the event needs to be smaller to be sustainable. If its open to individuals to pick their day(s) then it would become too big a burden on you the organizer. I think the 20 bridges model of say 3 different date ranges, each less than 10 boats (solo or relay), would be doable. If its on the weekend maybe swim it in the opposite direction, less boat traffic at the end of the swim where everyone is tired would be safer. Selfishly speaking i'm really hoping that we can find a way to make this swim an ongoing enterprise, i want to do it one day...i just need some more time to train...maybe 2 years . it's such beautiful water, thank you so much for introducing me to the lake!
We have made the difficult decision to not host the Lake George Marathon Swim in 2017. Feedback we received was that it's a great place to swim but the 32.2 mile challenge is not amenable to a group swim. Swimmers and teams generally prefer to make their own plans and not lose the flexibility that a big group swim with 240 volunteers and 84 swimmers necessitated.
We will continue to offer support to individuals and teams who want to take Lake George. If you want to come back, let us know and we will help you with planning.