Feel like strapping yourself to your best friend and swimming through icy cold fjords? SwimRun is for you!
What is SwimRun?
Participants in teams of two, run, swim and repeat over a set course, that varies according to the specific race. For example, the SwimRun World Championship course in Sweden covers a total of 6.2 miles of swimming and 40 miles of trail running, to complete the trek across 24 islands. Teams must complete the entire course together, tethered by a thin, loose elastic band, and stay within 10 meters of each other on the swim, and within 100 meters on the run.
What do I need?
Balls. Hard, steely balls. The water is cold, and the runs are long, so make sure you’re in tip-top Ironman-like shape before you even consider filling out the application. Otherwise, you’ll be sucking on a nice piece of Lutfisk in a warm blanket back at the hotel, while the rest of the field finishes the race.
As far as equipment, HEAD Swimming is the only manufacturer so far who makes a SwimRun specific suit, but competitors have been known to cut off their wetsuits to make a beefier ‘shorty’ for racing. You’ll also need some hand paddles and a pair of shoes you can swim with, since you’ll be wearing them throughout the race. There are races where people take off their shoes to swim, but the logistics of getting them to the next transition can be a nightmare.
The Baltic Sea is brackish water, so there are no predators of any kind to fear. The views are stunning, and you’ll be pushed to your breaking point again, and again, but you’ll be experiencing it with your best friend. What could be better?
How do I enter?
Step one is fly to Sweden. These brilliantly, crazy people have discovered something wonderful that can be pretty hard to duplicate in other parts of the world. You’ll be cursing yourself the moment your toes touch the frozen fjord, but you’ll never see anything as beautiful as you pass through parts of this gorgeous country.
One of the beautiful things about this new craze, is the relative obscurity of the sport, but don’t let the small field of 120 teams fool you, the events sell out very quickly. Entries are limited to preserve the ‘hometown’ feel of the sport, as well as the impact of spectators and racers on the local community. It’s unclear how long this sport can retain it’s obscurity, as of right now, there is no official federation to regulate anything in relation to the sport. However, even as more and more endurance athletes discover this little gem, we have our doubts that it will turn into something akin to the Ironman machine.
To get you started with some more information about SwimRun Races, go to: www.otillo.se