Come July, we knuckled down to the 'suck it and see' training approach in preparation for our first swimrun race. 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.
Today, the mantra “Light is right” has taken hold. There are still a few common items you see: hand paddles (for all but the most accomplished swimmers) for extra propulsion in the water, and pull-buoys to lift legs otherwise weighted down with trainers.
One of the biggest appeals to me about the Breca Swimrun series is that it is less about racing the clock and more so about a team of two overcoming what nature throws at you on the day, adding to the already physically and even emotionally demanding day.
Our #swimrunjourney began in 2012 at the ÖTILLÖ in Sweden. For those who don’t know ÖTILLÖ is an approx. 75KM swimrun race comprising 10km of swimming and 65km of running down a chunk of the Stockholm Archipelago conceived as a drinking contest between some yachties about 7 years ago.
Our swimrun event in July takes place around the coastline of the breathtaking Gower Peninsula – the UK’s first location to be denoted an official Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty. It’s a great place to spend the weekend, hiking, surfing or swimrunning. Here are our top pick of places to visit and things to do in Gower
Talking to the teams at the finish, it became clear that the final swim across Grasmere was seared most vividly into their memories. Wordsworth described Grasmere as “the loveliest spot that man hath found”. Clearly, Wordsworth was not at Breca Coniston 2017.
How to choose your swimrun race? How to choose your swimrun partner? How to train for swimrun? Alan Scott, and our resident beginner, Annie Ross, discuss these questions and more in episode two of our series on the key things to know about swimrun.
The Breca Jersey swimrun course has swimming stages on three sides of the island, and the sea state on each can vary dramatically. And so it was this year, as the benign waters on the first few swims rapidly gave way to swell, currents and churning eddies.
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.
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.
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.