Participants of World Aquathon Day in 2014 at a South African facility.
Rose Hartzenberg Participants of World Aquathon Day in 2014 at a South African facility.

On November 11, participating aquatics venues from around the world will host a three-hour aqua aerobics marathon for Worldwide Aquathon Day. The event, which began in South Africa in 2013, has grown in the five years since it started.

Each venue chooses its own instructors and programming, and they all run the aquathon at the same local time -- from 9 am to 12 pm. In order to qualify as an official participant, facilities must designate a charity for which to raise funds during the aquathon, display the country’s flag, ask local businesses to sponsor the event, and advertise it through social media and local media.

Rose Hartzenberg, an aquatics fitness instructor in South Africa, founded Worldwide Aquathon Day as a way to promote aquatic fitness in communities around the world.

"I realized so many were like me, not sure what aqua fitness was or where they could join a class, and thought it was only for the older generation or to heal injuries."

There are currently 157 confirmed venues participating, says Hartzenberg, who expects it to reach 200. She believes Worldwide Aquathon Day has an impact when it comes to raising awareness about water fitness benefits in local communities.

"I was only teaching eight classes when I started this event, which now have increased to a whopping 41 classes a week. It definitely has increased awareness in my community."