Tempted to try your hand at the emerging new endurance sport taking the world by storm? Here are 7 reasons why you won't regret it.
1. A brand new challenge
Once you've run a marathon or two, scaled the odd mountain, nailed an Ironman and swam across the Atlantic, what's next? If you're hungry for a completely new challenge that will put you out of your comfort zone and leave you at the mercy of mother nature, swimrun is the sport for you.
2. Back to nature
Perhaps the most appealing aspect of the arrival of swimrun is the locations. From verdant forests and freezing lakes to nail-biting mountain passes, swimrun is all about the incredible landscape. Competing in wild and inaccessible locations leaves competitors in synergy with the great outdoors, at the whim of mother nature and enslaved to the majestic scenery. Cast aside the concrete, say goodbye to urbanisation and step into the natural world for the challenge of a lifetime.
'Swimrun events take you to some of the most beautiful corners of the world, primarily chosen for their scenery and combination of water (be it lakes, sea or rivers) and land (mountains, islands or coast paths),' says Breca Buttermere 2015 Womens Champion and Graphic Designer Jenny Rice: 'You get to immerse yourself in both landscapes in such a unique way - it’s about the experience, rather than a competition or race.'
3. Less faff
Triathlon may be one of the fastest growing sports in the world, but it's also one of the fiddliest. Not only do you have to excel at three separate sports to succeed, but you also have to invest in three sets of equipment to boot. Come race day, lugging all that kit to the start line can feel like an event in itself. The beauty of swimrun lies in its simplicity: you simply put your kit on, cross the start line and embrace the beauty of the world.
4. Seamless transitions
During a swimrun event you never change your kit, so you swim in your trainers and run in your wetsuit. This may sound like a challenge in itself, but once you've hit the water you'll realise that precious competition time can be saved by simply soldiering on in the same attire. Unlike busy transitions associated with triathlon, swimrun is a more fluid affair. All you need is your buddy in tow and a sense of adventure. And with multiple transitions in and out of icy bodies of water, you will soon cast aside your kit concerns and focus on the job at hand: survival and total submission to the wilds of nature.
5. Guaranteed adventure
If you're looking for adventure and keen to try something new, from the craggy shores of Jersey to the wild and rambling fells of the Lake District, swimrun is the sport for you. You'll never find a swimrun in a concrete pool or within spitting distance of man-made tarmac. Swimrun emerged from a passion for physical and mental challenges in the wilderness and with this sport adventure is guaranteed.
'For me competing in swimrun competitions transports an entirely fresh perception to endurance sports. I transformed from team sports to triathlon more than 10 years ago and haven’t looked back since,' says experienced swim-runner Markus Rössel. 'Adding the splendour of a dynamic team to the magnificence of endurance racing is a very motivating recipe. Mixing all of that round striking surroundings and a harsh course and stirring it together with your finest friend is just something that is pretty unique. Swimrun is not only a challenging mishmash of two disciplines. Equally this game involves much more than fitness and stamina as you need to function as an unit while you travel through water and across landmass.'
6. We come in twos
To add an extra twist to the proceedings, swim-runners compete in pairs. While the concept of doubling the workload may sound daunting, having a teammate to share in your successes, urge you on when times get tough and check up on you when you start to flag adds to the exhilaration of the day. This also means you need to find someone at a similar level to you, or be prepared to adjust your speed accordingly. But swimrun is a sport to be shared, and competing as a pair only adds to the magic of the day.
'Taking part in pairs makes all the difference. It's no longer you vs the world. In swimrun you are part of a team, meaning the whole experience is shared, from training through to the finish line - and beyond,' says Findarace founder David Wearn. 'This makes for a much more enjoyable and sociable experience. It also makes the atmosphere on race day more friendly and relaxed. Walk into the event HQ on the morning of the race and instead of the usual mix of pensive stretching exercises and silent eyeing-up of the opposition, you’ll be met with a buzz of nervous chatter and smiling faces.'
7. You can't fake it
With some sports investing in newfangled gadgets can give you the edge, but swimrun is the real deal. You can't buy your way over those winding mountain passes or cheat yourself through icy bodies of water. It's just you and your sidekick against the world, and all you have to rely on is your limbs and a healthy dose of true grit. Running and swimming over alternate legs in the wilderness is the ultimate test of mental and physical strength and moments like those just can't be bought.