Van der Weijden’s Elfstedentocht swim raises €2.5m for cancer charity

Maarten van der Weijden is welcomed in Leeuwarden. Photo: Maarten Hartman via HH

Swimmer Maarten van der Weijden has raised €2.5m for cancer research with his attempt to swim the 200 kilometre Elftstedentocht route, despite being unable to finish.

The former Olympic open water champion pulled out of the swim on Monday on doctors orders after completing 163 kilometres in 55 hours.

Despite not managing to complete the ‘race of all races’, Ven der Weijden was presented with a special version of the Elfstedentocht medal by the prime minister. The medal is traditionally awarded to everyone who completes the race on ice.

Speaking to the crowd waiting for him in Leeuwarden on Monday evening, the swimmer said: ‘I gave all I had, I am completely finished. But it is wonderful to see you all here.’ has been free for 12 years, but now we are asking our readers to help. Your donation will enable us to keep providing you with fair and accurate news and features about all things Dutch.
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