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We have made the difficult decision to cancel the Great East Swim that was due to take place on Saturday 25 Sept. We know our swimmers will be disappointed and we are too. Unfortunately, following the event’s postponement from its original date in June due to blue green algae, the situation has not improved and the water quality remains too poor for the event to take place. 

We have therefore been left with no alternative but to cancel this year’s event. We’re sorry that we have to do this, but we hope everyone understands our priority has to be ensuring the safety of our swimmers at the event.

Next year's Great East Swim will take place on Saturday 18 June 2022. All swimmers who have already purchased a place in the event will be automatically rolled over to 2022 and anyone who can’t make the 2022 date can apply for a refund. All participants will be contacted by email. 

The deadline for refunds is 10am on 28 Sept 2021 and refunds will be processed after this date.

Thank you for your understanding. 
The Great Swim Team 

John West Great East SwimRun


18 June 2022

The John West Great East Swim will now return to Alton Water on Saturday 25 September 2021.

The event will follow strict covid-secure procedures, ensuring the safety of participants, spectators and Great Swim crew. As such we will be operating to a reduced capacity and a slightly different timetable to previous years. It will be a fantastic day out in a truly stunning setting. The event will see the return of the popular event village, complete with farmers’ market, exhibitor stands, pop-up food stalls and music. You can view the event timetable here.

Since its inception in 2006, SwimRun has become a popular choice around the World for endurance athletes and is now the fastest growing endurance sport in the UK. The concept was born in Sweden, following a drunken bet among friends as to who could better navigate 20 islands and 75k of the Stockholm archipelago.

Runners and swimmers from across the UK, and triathletes seeking a change from the traditional triathlon format will enjoy stepping up to a new challenge. Embarking on a seamless journey across the landscape, taking on land and water, as you navigate your way around the course as either an individual participant or in teams of two.

This outdoor running and swimming challenge is the new benchmark in adventure races. Not just for endurance athletes, the most important things you need are a sense of adventure, some determination and a lot of fun!

Event Location

Alton Water

The Great East SwimRun takes place in and around the picturesque Alton Water reservoir near Ipswich, Suffolk. The reservoir provides the main source of drinking water for Ipswich and the southern part of Suffolk.

Alton Water offers the opportunity to do far more than swim – it’s the perfect location for walks, cycle rides, wildlife spotting and family picnics. With miles of unspoilt countryside, numerous award winning beaches and scores of enchanting towns and villages within reach of Alton Water, Suffolk makes an ideal choice for a short break. Only an hour’s train journey away from London Liverpool Street station. 

Event location

How it works

For the Short distance single participants, as well as teams are permitted to take part.

SwimRun rules are simple - complete your chosen distance carrying everything you need from start to finish; this means wearing your trainers and wetsuit for both the land and water sections of the course.

Please note: There will be a mandatory briefing prior to the event (details tbc.)

Click below for more information about the John West Great East SwimRun:

SwimRun Rules 

Course Map

Download the course map in PDF format (Please note the course may be subject to change):





We've put together a comprehensive list of questions and answers around the Great East Swim.

Priority Car Parking will go on sale closer to the time, with a variety of other transport options also available. We are working with the local transport partners to ensure there are a range of options to get to the event site. We will communicate with all entrants when the priority car parking goes on sale.

Whilst plans are still to be finalised it is not anticipated that face masks will be compulsory around the general site, due to the open air nature of it. This will be confirmed closer to the event date based on wider Covid restrictions, as well as any areas where masks may be compulsory (such as public transport, etc).

Hand sanitizer will be available around the event site.

There are no specific plans to limit spectators coming to the event at present, however there will be areas within the event site itself that are reserved for swimmers only. At this stage we are not able to guarantee that friends and family will be able to view swimmers in the water, due to the nature of the event site.

We are hoping to deliver an exciting event village, including sponsors and partners, as well as food and activities for all.

The exact format of the warm up is yet to be confirmed, and will be communicated nearer the event date. We will of course be holding our usual safety briefings prior to each swim.

At this stage we are unable to provide exact details of what viewing will be available for spectators and supporters.

All waves will have sufficient time and space to assemble in a socially distanced manner, with 1m+ space for all. In addition swimmers will be slowly released over the start line to ensure distancing can continue in the water.

Our safety systems will undergo a full review to ensure they are in line with current Covid-19 guidelines. Safety of swimmers, spectators, volunteers and staff will be at the centre of any decisions.

Our safety systems will undergo a full review to ensure they are in line with current Covid-19 guidelines. Safety of swimmers, spectators, volunteers and staff will be at the centre of any decisions.

If the 2021 event is cancelled we will automatically roll your place over into the subsequent staging of the event.