“The forecast is for gale force 8 at Mumbles head, with winds gusting to 58mph and 5-8ft swell”. This was the autumnal announcement that greeted the teams assembled in Swansea the evening before the inaugural Breca Gower.
It’s a difficult course, even in benign weather. The running stages are tough. The early route over the Worm’s Head promontory is extremely technical – a challenge even for experienced skyrunners – and is a fitting precursor for the trails, dunes, and ascents that follow.
But it was the swimming that will be most memorable for the teams that fought their way around the course. As one experienced Breca competitor said to me at the finish line, this was a true swimmers event. The athletes had to contend with big swells, shifting tides and currents – it turned relatively short swim stages into epic battles against the elements.
Such is the nature and beauty of swimrun. Immersing yourself in these stunning, wild landscapes is an experience you cannot find anywhere else; it can also be a salutary reminder of the power nature has over us. In most endurance sports, the outcome is a product of your training and commitment; in swimrun, we give up some of that control for the experience of competing in these amazing locations. I wouldn’t change it for anything.
The day saw both fantastic performances and demonstrations of the swimrun spirit. Andrew Jones and Nathan Edwards of team Maverick and Goose sacrificed their race to come to the aid of an injured competitor, an action I’d like to again thank and applaud them for. Congratulations are also due to Pas Blackwell and Fieke Reijntjes of team Taylifters, who became engaged whilst out on the course – a Breca Swimrun first!
A huge thank you to everyone that helped make the event happen – the volunteers, the medical team and our water safety team – who all did a fantastic job supporting the athletes throughout the course. Thanks too to Mumbles Pier for hosting us at the finish.
1st Swansea Massive - Marc Davies & Wilf Lewis, 06:05
2nd Jack and Jill - Caroline Higgins & Jamie Davis, 06:15
3rd Cronkwell's - Laura Cronk & Lawrence Cronk, 06:21
1st: Swansea Massive - Marc Davies & Wilf Lewis, 06:05
2nd: Team Intrinsic - Chris Roberts & Matt Cox, 06:39
3rd: CoJo - Paul Jones & Martin Cole, 06:47
1st: Worst Pace Scenario - Ffion Davies & Holly Willis, 07:07
2nd: Dublin Divas - Ciara Murphy & Linda Clarke, 08:17
1st: Jack and Jill - Caroline Higgins & Jamie Davis, 06:15
2nd: Cronkwell's - Laura Cronk & Lawrence Cronk, 06:21
3rd: Wuusss-Tcw Tri - Paul Thomas & Anne Marie Hutchison, 06:52