By Sylvain Rousselat and Olivier Serrat
The first SwimRun in France
In 2015, Sylvain Rousselat and Olivier Serrat, two friends passionate about outdoors sports and their hometown, came up with the Côte Vermeille Swimrun. This exceptional race takes place between the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean, in the beautiful landscape of the Pyrénées-Orientales and the heart of the well known Banyuls and Collioure vineyards.
For Sylvain and Olivier, the key objective when designing one of the most beautiful yet challenging courses in the world was to keep it ecofriendly. As the Côte Vermeille Swimrun crosses many protected areas, respecting the natural environment, as well as the local culture and people, was a priority.
The duo have assembled a concept of four races: Ultra 63.9km, Longue 45.8km, Moyenne 26.2km and Courte 12.8km. The first edition of June 25, 2016, saw 500 swimrunners at the starting line and involved more than 160 volunteers.
The SwimRun Côte Vermeille created a real buzz not just locally, but also worldwide, with more than 51 countries sharing the story online.
2017: bigger and better
The second edition looks like it will be a key event in the swimrun world. Already 900 swimrunners have signed up for the race, with only a few places left for registration. New for this 2017 edition are two kids’ races, the “best hiker challenge”, and an even stronger human and environmental commitment.
A trail that’ll take your breath away … figuratively and literally
The Côte Vermeille Ultra is the first ÖTILLÖ Merit Race in France, and also the biggest one in the country with +2498m of positive altitude change on 63.9km.
Following a trail along the coast, through the vineyards and up to the Albères massif, swimrunners will discover the wonderful and unique landscape of the Côte Vermeille. Starting from the lighthouse of Cap Cerbère, on the Spanish border, the race will lead the bravest of swimrunners through 5 towns characteristic of the region – Cerbère, Banyuls-sur-Mer, Port-Vendres, Collioure and Argelès-sur-Mer – each with its own strong heritage and cultural identity.
Midway through the race, teams will face a 17.06 km running section up to the Tour Madeloc, an ancient 13th-century watchtower, 670m above the sea. The view up there is breathtaking.
The coveted black and orange Tee
Strong motivation, great physical condition and unfailing team spirit is what’s in store to arrive at the finish line and claim your black and orange Ultra finisher T-shirt … The “Holy Grail” for the swimrunner.
Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue # 2 (Apr/May 2017)