Yes, we here in the Okanagan were the first in BC to host a "swimrun"--we had our introductory event in September 2017. No, this was not an Aquathon. SwimRun is the newest and fastest growing endurance sport since triathlon was introduced in the late 1970s. And while it seems simpler, with just swimming and running, it has different challenges for the endurance athlete, especially with the many transitions from running to swimming and back to running. And there are a couple of catches: you swim in your runners, and you run in your wetsuit. Oh, and you enter as pairs, whether men’s, women’s, or mixed--this is a team sport--it's no longer just about you!
The big swimrun events in Europe today are all about off-road and open water adventure racing, with as many as 25 transitions between water and land, a decidedly primal way of enjoying big country. Part of the attraction seems to be the lack of need for high tech, expensive equipment and a return to raw abilities—you let the environment dictate your day with unpredictable and often rocky, steep trail runs, unsettled weather, and usually cold, active open water. Those who improvise and support each other as a team, and adapt best, prevail. To get a flavor of the essence of swimrun, check out the race summary either of the 2017 or 2018 Ötillö World Championships--humbling, indeed.
Here in Kelowna, we have created an "urban" version to introduce this new sport--with flat runs and shoreline swims, perhaps we should call it swimrun "lite"--more on that here. So check out the courses here and here.
Swim in Your Runners
There's many swim and run legs, so no time to take your shoes on and off, nor would you want to carry them while swimming. Just keep them on for the entire race--you will be surprised how easy it is!
Run in Your Wetsuit
Taking your wetsuit off to run is time-consuming and difficult to put back on, so just get out of the water and run with it on--just unzip it if you get too hot.
TEAMS TIED TOGETHER
Although not mandatory for this event, many teams elect to tether themselves together to enhance drafting and safety in the water.