Saturday 19 October 2019

Olympic swimmer completes 196 km tour of Friesland’s 11 cities

Maarten van der Weijden finishes his marathon swim. Photo: Raymond van Olphen via HH

Olympic swimmer Maarten van der Weijden completed his Elfstedentocht marathon in Friesland on Monday evening, reaching the finishing line in Leeuwarden at around 7.30pm, and raising €3.9m for cancer research.

It was the 38-year-old second attempt to complete the 196km tour of Friesland’s 11 historic cities, a year after he had to pull out after 55 hours on medical advice.

Crowds lined the canals of Frisian towns along the route and Dutch media outlets provided round-the-clock coverage of Van der Weijden’s marathon swim since he set out from Leeuwaarden on Friday.

The Elfstedentocht, a traditional long-distance skating race held whenever Friesland’s canals and rivers freeze over, has not taken place since 1997.

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