SwimRun: The Urban Version
Any cursory look at the major swimrun events in Europe will clearly demonstrate how challenging these races are. From the 75 K long Ötillö Championship Swimrun in the Stockholm Archipelago, to the 40+K "merit" (qualifying) races in the rest of Europe, all of them feature very challenging running terrain that include shoreline boulders, steep climbs, and slippery conditions, along with cold (10-15°C) and rough, open water swims. These events are often held in beautiful, relatively untouched, even remote environments, and are certainly not for beginner endurance racers. So just how does one level up to such endurance demands? Is it only elite and/or professional athletes with a proven pedigree of endurance racing that are able to participate?
Fortunately, swimrun race organizers have seen the value of holding shorter events, although most are still in challenging terrain in the shoulder seasons, and many are still remote. Most recently, though "urban" versions of swimrun have started to appear in several countries such as Germany, France (also here), and in the UK. Many of these are completely within city settings, with less challenging terrain, warmer water (several even use swimming pools!), and shorter distances--between 10 and 20K.
As far as we know, the "urban" swim run concept has not yet been offered anywhere in North America until now--right here in Kelowna. The city has an expansive body of clean, fresh water next to it, and its shoreline has multiple access points through beautiful and quiet residential areas to Okanagan Lake, a natural set up for easy entries and exits for running and swimming. An event that follows the lakeshore would not require any road closures, would easily support a series of very safe swims in relatively shallow water near the shoreline, and can be hosted in the early fall, when there is very little boat traffic to contend with, and fewer events competing for local athletes' interests. Such a lakeside setting could easily be set up to offer more than one distance, so as to appeal to a wider range of abilities and fitness levels.
Urban SwimRun Kelowna 2019? Hell, ya! Interest in it is growing every year already ...after a test event in the fall of 2017, we doubled our registration in 2018, and now we are getting ready to host the 3rd annual race, on Sunday, September 29, 2019. Will have room for only 50 teams, and all previous participants will be given a preferred registration "founders" entry fee (even less than the early bird rate) to entice them back--every year! So register now, and be one of the first to try swimrun in BC--and get the preferred rate every year after that!