In 2002, Simon Osborn circumnavigated Great Britain by sea kayak in memory of his brother Mark. Osborn raised £30,000 ($44,500) for Leukemia research on the paddle but wanted a way to get more people out on the water. He came back with an idea: marathon-long paddles for charity on the same day as major marathon races in cities. He called it a Kayakathon.
After years of planning and struggling to gain the necessary permission, the inaugural London Kayakathon took place on April 25, 2010, on the River Thames alongside the London Marathon. The event has grown over the last four years and has so far raised over £90,000 ($133,000) for charities.
Now Osborne is looking to expand the concept by starting three new Kayakathons in the U.K., and three more overseas. “I am very keen to create an event in New York on the same day as the New York Marathon as a headline event for the U.S.,” he said.