Merit Race #11: Troll Enez Morbihan
By Oliver Suffice
In October 2015, Francis Cadène and Stéphane Ohlmann, two founding members of the association Loc’h Nature, decided to launch the first long-distance swimrun in the Gulf of Morbihan.
Following the values of the ÖTILLÖ swimrun in Sweden, Loc’h Nature aimed to create a French version of the race allowing participants to progress from island-to-island against the scenery the Gulf of Morbihan, which is ranked amongst one of the most beautiful bay’s in the world.
The Troll Enez Morbihan “swim and run” – 48km total, including 6km of swimming and 42km of running – is professionally organised with local authorities and respect of the environment, as it crosses the Morbihan Natural Regional Park and private islands.
The race follows the coastal paths with swim sections vary from 100m to 1500m while the running parts range from 100m to 17km.
Competitors will be transported by bus and boat to the start and more than a hundred volunteers on the ground will guide and refuel participants, while out on the water more than 15 boats, 40 kayaks, jet-skiing, firefighting vessels and civil protection will offer medical security.
After a year of hiatus in 2016, the 2017 edition on September 3 came back strongly and has been ranked an ÖTILLÖ Merit Race. All finishers of this revived edition were rewarded with an exceptional participation gift, a thank you for being global ambassadors of the sport.
About the Gulf of Morbihan
According to legend, Merlin the Magician and the Fairy Viviane were driven out of the forest of Brocéliande and they shed so many tears that the Gulf of Morbihan (mor bihan meaning “small sea” in Breton) was formed. They threw there their crowns of flowers, which gave birth to the three hundred and sixty-five islands of the gulf.
It’s a swimrunner’s paradise, crossing islands closed to the public in normal weather while the landscapes vary due to the tidal margin of a wide and varied foreshore, characterised by the presence of numerous mud flats, coves, spikes, rocks, islands and islets.
The Gulf is one of the richest spots in France for migratory species, where it receives between 60,000 and 130,000 individuals during the winter season, and has the second largest presence of a herbarium of eelgrass in France, which helps stabilise the soil, promote oxygenation, phytoplankton production and provide a natural breeding shelter.
Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issuze #4 (October 2017)