Swimrun race reports
it’s time to get into the mind of a Breca Jersey competitor. Dave Shiels raced the 53km Channel Islands course this year.
Last weekend, over 450 competitors came together for very last edition of Breca Buttermere and the inaugural Breca UK National Championships.
It was an extraordinary experience to stand on the finish line of the Breca Bay of Islands swimrun and share the excitement and elation of the athletes racing at the inaugural Breca Swimrun National Championships.
The weather forecast wasn’t looking fantastic in the lead up to the first Breca race of the year. Cloud, wind and rain were all on the menu.
This was an excellent race for us, as we:
Nailed our kit selection
Had the perfect nutrition plan
Were well hydrated pre and during the race
Had the fitness to push when need
We were injury free.
Historically calm seas saw records set throughout the field.
Breca Swimrunners feel the heat in Gower…
My partner Steve and I have never done a swimrun event, but we can safely say that our swimrun journey has well and truly started...
I began reading in more detail what a swimrun entails and I must admit I was quite intimidated by the magnitude of the challenge. It was obvious that proper preparation and training was required to have a shot at completing the event…
When I signed up with Tom for Breca Swimrun in the Gower, Wales, I had no idea what I was in for! I saw the route card with a marathon run and 6k of swimming and thought it was doable, but what I didn’t take into account was a shed load of climbing, sand dunes, beaches, pebbles, rocks and cliffs…
As I sit down to write this report, four days after the race, I am still fizzing with excitement about the whole experience. I know I am going to struggle to articulate the sheer beauty of the landscapes, the peaceful joy of the swims, and the total destructive power of the hills. I will give it my best shot…
The 2018 swimrun season has begun
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Pioneer events are always special...
Leaden skies loomed over the 94 teams assembled on the start line...