Outdoor Swimmer caught up with Ben de Rivaz, founder of Breca Swimrun, to find out more about the sport of swimrun: what it is, the growth of the sport, it's appeal to outdoor swimmers, favourite races and racing recommendations.
What is swimrun? Who is it is for? What is the race format like? Experienced swimrunner, Alan Scott, and our resident beginner, Annie Ross, discuss these questions and more in episode one of our series on the key things to know about swimrun.
The Cumbrian fells are a special place. They are in equal parts beautiful, mysterious, ominous and exhilarating. The traditional Breca Buttermere summer hailstorms aside, the experience of the hills is inherently unpredictable - the going can change in a moment and without warning.
B.Effects philosophy is derived from the Edward Lorenz's Butterfly Effect, and it is built on highlighting small changes in the brewing process that have large effects on the final product. Series of craft beers with small changes in one variable like the hops, yeast, grain and non- traditional adjunct's display how small changes have a great effect on the beer.
There is nothing like taking a path less trodden and seeing it through to completion. Along the way you’ll see things you never imagined and put yourself to the test, particularly if you’re navigating tough conditions.
The journey for me started quite late. An innocent conversation with a long time old time swim buddy in Jan 17 (the event was March 17), “Shall we try something different – Breca Wanaka Sprint”. And so it was that Olympic swimmer Murray Burdan and I came to this new world of swimrun.
Swimrun places unique demands on your shoes. They need to perform across craggy hilltops, mountain tarns, rugged trails and glittering lakes. The athletes’ interaction with these landscapes is central to the Breca Swimrun experience, and in inov-8 we found a partner that shared this ethos.
For me, swimrun offers the chance to combine running over the rugged mountain terrain that I’d expect to find fell running with adventure swimming...
Coming ashore from Stevenson’s island on the west side of the inlet we climbed up to a balcony track with views over the portage at the north end and back down over the island to Dublin Bay. I’ve never been anywhere near here before and we got there unaided wearing wetsuits. What a wonderful sport.
The first part of the race was great, we were both feeling good and we were relaxed. We took a bit of a detour allowing the team behind to nearly catch us, this was when panic stations hit and we really pushed the long swim and long run to get back out of sight.
By any measure Breca Wanaka 2017 exceeded our expectations: both the outstanding performances throughout the field and the warmth and generosity of the local community and the volunteers who supported the event.
At a swimrun event we are not talking about waste on the scale of the coffee cup, but we felt it was important to do what we could to reduce our impact. So Breca Wanaka, on March 25th in New Zealand’s South Island, will be the first swimrun event to send not a single cup to waste.
"The team aspect is the defining element of swimrun. This rubs off on the whole race day environment, where you have not only a teammate but rival teams to share the pre-race banter and post-race endorphins."
“Do not attempt to train using the swim to Worm’s Head. There is a real risk to life if the route is used at the wrong time due to the dangerous currents and tidal flows in this area”. So began a safety warning I sent recently to our Breca Gower competitors...
You can strengthen your muscles to cope with these demands and avoid picking up problems with your calf muscles, Achilles tendons, plantar fascia and toes. These only need to be performed a couple of times a week...
We have three pieces of equipment advice for new Swimrunners: 1. Find a wetsuit that fits you well and feels comfortable. One wetsuit won't fit all swimrunners; some like more buoyancy, some need more flexibility for easier running.
One of the most common questions amongst those new to swimrun, and even those not so new to the sport, is whether or not to use paddles. Do they give you an advantage in open water? Will they make you swim faster?Aileen Sullivan from Victory Health & Performance investigates.
Pioneer events are always special...
Course changes, logistics and a chance to get involved...