The world’s first Mermaid Marathon will be coming to Tooting later this year, as participants raise money for UK Sepsis Trust.

The event will be held at Tooting Leisure Centre on October 13. Swimmers will don a mono fin and/or a tail and complete 26.2-mile swim.

The event, whose corporate sponsor is Irwin Mitchell Solicitors LLP, was the idea of Sarah Kettel, who took up Mermaid Swimming after the sudden death of a close friend to sepsis in 2017.

Sarah said: “I realise that while I bought my tail on a whim because it looked like fun, I was actually looking for some escapism.

“Last October I lost a close friend very suddenly to Sepsis and learning to mermaid swim has really helped with my grieving process.

As I got to know more mermaids, they were refreshingly open about how it has helped some of them with their mental health issues, and I totally get that. In memory of the friend that we lost, all my friends decided to raise money for UK Sepsis Trust.

Lots of them did a ‘Tough Mudder’ run but I could never do something like that, and I could never run a normal marathon, so I decided to organise a Mermaid Marathon instead.

It’s a team swimming event with merpeople wearing a mono fin and completing 26.2 miles in the pool. It’s never been done before and I’ve never organised a fundraising event before so it’s been a challenge, but everyone involved has been really supportive and it’s all coming together.”

The even seeks to raise money and awareness of the illness, which in the UK alone, kill 44,000 people every year.

This is more than breast, bowel and prostate cancer combines. Globally sepsis claims six million lives a year.

Swimmers must be over 14 years of age and can sign up through the event’s facebook page

Entry costs £10 and includes: all pool fees, a medal on completion of your swim, a marathon goodie bag containing a drink and a snack. If you do not have your own fin/tail, hire is an additional £5.

There is a spectator gallery for supporters, there will be face painting and photo opportunities for those coming to cheer on the swimmers.