By Rhian Martin
Fancy a fresh physical and mental challenge working as part of a team? Done a triathlon, maybe an ironman, a marathon and want to experience something different? Then swimrun would be a good place to start.
Swimrun races are a 2 man or 2 women or a man/woman partnership. This brings a completely new aspect to racing – as a lot of endurance sports are solo efforts. Also, there are few sports you can race as a male/female team. Occasionally you find swimrun races you can do as an individual but we recommend doing the team event.
The team dimension means it isn’t just about one person just running faster, as the rules state you can’t be more than 10 metres apart throughout the entire race. It continually motivates and inspires us to harness the collective speeds and efforts needed to work out what is the best overall pace, in various sectors of the race. This takes it from purely a physical race to more mental – and explains why woman only & mixed teams can regularly beat high-ranking male only teams.
The people and the atmosphere at races are very open and friendly – rules state that you not only look after your partner but other teams too. Which when you are going over some of the terrain of swimrun events then this is vitally important.
The origin of swimrun was from a drunken bet 10 years ago – when 4 friends challenged each other to swim and run over the Archipelago islands in Sweden. That’s 26 islands – covering 65K running and 10K swimming. Whilst this remains the pinnacle in the swimrun calendar and is now the World Championships – since then the swimrun movement has massively grown globally with over 400 races this year.
All of the events we have done have been in incredible locations, with beautiful scenery. Otillo organise unique races in unique places and they never fail to deliver. In the UK, aside from the UK Otillo World Series we have Brecca, Great Swimrun, LoveSwimrun and more are popping up.
Most races offer a short and long course, so don’t be put off by the distances. The shorter events tend to be c10K running, 3K swimming and long course from 30K+running and 5K+ swimming.
With different swim and run distances, across sea/lakes and over flat/hilly runs means that you can select a race that’s right for your team’s strengths. Or one where you’ll be further out of your comfort zone. Or even one where you fancy visiting the area!
Many say it must be hard racing as a husband and wife – we’ve seen many an incredulous shake of the head, accompanies with quotes such as “There’s no way I’d want to be tied to my wife/husband for 11 hours.”
But for us – the strength of the relationship makes us faster – and with 2 young children we get to spend some quality time together!
So find a likeminded partner, have a look at the different types of races and distances – then commit and go for it!
Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue #5 (December 2017)