Setting the Scene
Like many good things in life my swimrun journey was born out of a tough time. Following a break-up, I decided that a bit of a hiatus from London was needed and so joined a couple of good friends out in Lagos, Portugal; helping them run their Sports Holiday business: Embrace Sports. I had an amazing few months - I learnt loads, became the fittest I had ever been and went onto nail my target time later that year at Challenge Roth. I still to this day head out and help on these holidays as they are great fun and the guests get so much out of it which makes it tremendously rewarding.
The Bromance Begins
My Challenge Roth success caught the eye of Hamish Cropper - an acquaintance at my club the Clapham Chasers. He suggested that being a strong swimmer and runner like himself, I might like to try this crazy race they do in pairs in Sweden. It was called the Otillo and was totally bat shit crazy!! Consisting of 60k of running and 10k of open water swimming, navigating through an archipelago of Islands in the Baltic sea. Never one to turn down a challenge I agreed, and we entered in January 2014. Thankfully we managed to bag ourselves a merit spot thanks to our palmarés of long distance races already amassed.
The summer then unfolded - first we both got our Ironman races out of the way and then come July, we knuckled down to the 'suck it and see' training approach in preparation for the first Monday in September. I still have memories of the strange looks we got at the lakes around London; both of us in our hand paddles, bungee roped pool buoys, trainers & chopped up wetsuits. We even got slightly scared looks from people as we ran around Richmond Park in our full swimrun race kit - swimrun at this point was very niche and no one had an idea what these two clowns were up too!!
Racing the Otillo
What a day and what a wonderful experience it all turned out to be. Whilst on the boat out to the Islands we met a couple of absolute legends - Markus and Fabian from Germany. The duo made up the infamous German Sparkle Party and both are still great mates to this day. As for the race itself - wow what a tough but rewarding experience. This cemented the idea I was already cottoning onto.... what better way to traverse through some of natures most stunning locations than by swimming and running through it all. All the time pushing yourself physically and mentally and sharing the experiences side by side with a great mate.
As we laboured on through the day it dawned on us that a top ten finish was going to be on the cards. This spurned us on - especially on the gruelling 13 mile run section where we managed to run down a couple of teams. We ended up sixth, finishing in 9 hrs 23 mins and first non-Swedish finishers. This performance earnt us a celebration with plenty of Otillo home brewed beers!
Off the back of this result Hamish and myself raced a fair few times over the next few years and were honoured to win the inaugural UK swimrun race, The Breca Buttermere. I still race some triathlons and have even managed to sneak under 9hrs on an Ironman - however I think it's safe to say that my heart has been stolen by swimrun - these are the races that I really look forward to!
All Change in 2017
At the beginning of 2017 Hamish made the decision to move back to his homeland of Australia with his wife and young son. This was always on the cards and it was sad to see such a great mate go. Luckily I had befriended a swimrun uber-athlete, Knut Baadshaug - a Norwegian 'unit' living and working in Germany. We tested the water this year and after successfully defending the Breca Buttermere title for the third year running and decided to create a team for 2018. We recruited one more chap - Max Wolke (another Clapham Chaser and friend) and Die Bruder Wunderz Race Team was born.
A New Swimrun Camp for 2018
Along with putting together a promising race team for 2018 I am really proud to say that Embrace Sports with the backing of Breca will be putting on a swimrun camp running from March 17th 2018. This has been a dream of mine for the last couple of years and I am really excited about it! We have a number of top coaches lined up to help run the camp in the tried and tested Embrace Training Holiday environment.
This feels like a culmination of a few great years in my sporting life and I am really looking forward to being part of a coaching team that can introduce new swimrunners to the amazing training environment that Lagos provides.
Follow Alan Scott on Instagram @alanscott.uk & @bruderwunderz and check out his team's swimrun blog at www.diebruderwunderz.com