Swimmers who believe they have the skills to go the distance will have the chance to prove it October 16th in a competition featuring a 12.6-mile course from the Manhattan Beach Pier to the Santa Monica Pier.

OptimisSport and Santa Monica-based Heal the Bay, which announced the event earlier this month, said the Distance Swim Challenge has been designed to test the limits of some of the best endurance athletes in the world.

Competitions at 4.8, 2.4 and 1.2 miles will additionally be held to challenge athletes of varying skill levels, from race-experienced open water swimmers to first-timers.

Participants will also be able to assemble teams to compete in two relay options: an eight-person team at the full 12.6-mile distance, or a four-person team to swim the final 4.8 miles of the course. There will be multiple relay divisions, including elite, celebrity, collegiate, military and challenged-athlete categories.

According to Heal the Bay, the competition has been organized to promote active and healthy lifestyles and to raise awareness about protecting water quality in the oceans.

“We hope this event will inspire people to challenge themselves,” said Alan Morelli, CEO of OptimisCorp, a company dedicated to using evidence-based, clinically proven approaches to physical therapy, athletic training and weight management.

“We wanted to try to capture people’s imagination as to what an athlete can achieve using science and evidence-based approaches to training,” Morelli added of the 12.6-mile distance, which is five times greater than that of the iconic Ironman swim.

The company expects top open water swimmers from all over the globe, including Australia and the United Kingdom to compete in the Santa Monica Bay challenge.

In addition to Heal the Bay, all net proceeds from this event will be going to Exceeding Expectations Foundation, a nonprofit organization that works with at-risk children.

OptimisSport, a division of OptimisCorp, is working closely on the event with Heal the Bay.

“We are excited to be a part of such an inspiring event,” said Heal the Bay President Mark Gold. “Beyond raising critical funds to support the fight for clean waters, the challenge is a great showcase for how far the health of our coasts has come since Heal the Bay began its work 25 years ago.”

Sponsorship and volunteer opportunities are also available.

For registration information and other event details,