Why is marathon swimming not popular at all in my place.
We have all the perfect environment for open water swimming: beaches within 15 minutes from city centre, great water temperature (16°C - 28°C) throughout the year, both calm and choppy water, and a large numbers of 50 m pools for training.
However, marathon swimming is not popular at all, when compared to other endurance sports, and also when compared to the general swimming population. Marathon running races here sell out every year, ultra-endurance trail running races also have lots of participants too. However, except the national championship, the marathon swimming races normally have only 10 participants doing solo every year, and less than 5 doing unassisted.
Although all public swimming pools are full of people all year around, the number does not seem to translate to open water swimming. The guarded beaches in the city are mostly empty, even in weekends, and most of the swimming clubs here seem to focus on children (as seen from their promotional materials) for their competitive interschool (short distances only), only very very few specifically focus on open water / triathlon swimming, even counting triathlon clubs in.
Actually why is that? What can we do to leverage our natural environment to increase the popularity of marathon swimming?