Colby Wilson, 28, and her 67-year-old dad, Ken, live in different worlds. She’s a TV journalist working and living in Manhattan and he’s a self-employed Ironman triathlete originally from Columbus, Georgia.
Ken, who now lives on Jersey Shore, NJ, took up swimrun in 2016 but a bike crash would delay his debut at Casco Bay Swimrun until 2017, when he competed in the ÖTILLÖ Merit Race with his daughter as #TeamWilson.
With pure dedication, every weekend Colby makes the 280-km trek home to Jersey Shore to train with dad Ken “whether it’s for a tri, marathon or swimrun event”.
“We live near a few peninsulas with plenty of lakes, bays and the ocean, so we swimrun all the way from our door to the northern most point of Jersey Shore, Sandy Hook, a skinny little 10-km beach where you can swim on the Atlantic Ocean side or the river side, which has a more historic vibe with its old fort.” says Colby.
Colby and her dad, who create “some awesome courses for our training” are in the river as soon as it thaws. “When the water temp climbs to 12°C (53°F), we are in it training!”
All of their swims are tidal which adds a challenging current while the runs are mostly on trails loaded with hills.
“People see us running down the main road in our town at 4am in bright orange wetsuits, pullbuoy, paddles and swim caps and they think we are crazy!” she laughs.
We have recruited several friends that now join us for our 4 am swimrun Sunday training. Our crew is growing and we look forward to one day having a race in our backyard.”
Ken also organises a free weekly triathlon – 1.6k ocean swim, 34k bike, 5k run – on Sandy Hook called Hump Day Tri.
The “ultimate father-daughter duo” are participating in the Casco Bay Swimrun again this year and then Swimrun USA’s inaugural second event, San Juan Island Swimrun in Washington, on September 23.
“My favourite swimrun memory is from Casco Bay. During the long swim, I looked up and I was less than 2 metres away from a seal who’d popped her head up. I’d swam along dolphins a few times during our sunrise ocean swims but never a seal. It was so cool.”
Colby adds that training with her dad … “is awesome. He is my hero, my inspiration, my best friend and biggest fan, too. Family is everything to us. I love that we get to challenge ourselves and experience these beautiful courses together. My mom and brother and never too far away, always cheering us on.
“The best part is always the post-race or post-workout beers – because he’s my dad, so you know, he’s always going to pick up the tab!”