Thank you too to the marshals who helped - your smiling encouragement was very welcome and much appreciated.
SwimRun is a fast growing endurance sport first conceived in Sweden, in which you run and swim between two predefined points along a set course of runs and swims without stopping in between. Similar to an aquathlon except that participants switch between running and swimming many times during a single race, running in their wetsuits and swimming in their trainers – no transition.
You will get the opportunity to test yourself over four runs and four swims as SLSC and Total Motion Events host their SwimRun events at Tooting Bec Lido.
Entry: £25 for each person taking part (£20 for SLSC members).
Four runs totalling 8.8km and four swims totalling 1km. Competitors will alternate between swimming and running completing a total of 1km in Tooting Bec Lido and 8.8km around Tooting Common. A map of the course can be found here. This will all be professionally chip timed, giving you your time print outs as soon as you’ve crossed the line, along with your swim and run splits.
Mandatory equipment for team and solo competitors; there will be a mandatory equipment check at registration.
Swimming in your trainers can seem like a challenge but it doesn’t take long to get used to it. Shoes that are light weight, buoyant and that drain well are the best for SwimRun. They’ll need to be a good tight fit to stop them coming off when you swim. Wear quick drying synthetic ankle socks to help prevent blisters.
Wetsuits are optional, but recommended if the water is under 15C and you are not acclimatised to cold water. There are now SwimRun specific wetsuits available but if you are new to SwimRun there is no reason why you can’t give it a go in the wetsuit you already own. A regular full swimming wetsuit will certainly do a perfectly good job for you in the swimming stages, it will just take a bit more getting used to when you find yourself out running on dry land. Some people take a pair of scissors to a standard wetsuit cutting just above the knees and the elbows, allowing better freedom of movement when running.
SwimRun rules state that you can use any flotation aids so long as they are no bigger than 100 cm x 60 cm – imagination is your only other limit! Most people just use a pull buoy. If you decide to swim wearing your trainers rather than carry them you might want to consider using a pull buoy. The float, which you hold between your legs instead of kicking, gives you extra buoyancy and allows you to save your legs during the swims. You’ll appreciate this when it is time to run!
Many people use hand paddles for SwimRun. These add some extra power to your stroke. There are loads of different paddles on the market, but you’ll need some that have straps to hold it on your hand or they can easily come off and be lost in open water. You’ll also need to think about how you are going to carry them on your runs.
Team members will be required to complete the full distance and stay within five metres of each other throughout the race. However, they will not be tethered as in open water races, so will not be using towlines, but will remain close through the race to help and support each other.
You may enter solo or in teams of two. The original concept of SwimRun was always to race in pairs. Teams will be required to swim and run together throughout the event, offering support throughout along with a camaraderie rarely found in other events. SwimRunning with a team mate can be a really fun and sociable experience and supporting each other and sharing in your successes adds a fantastic dimension to the event. You do need to find someone at a similar level to you in both running and swimming, or be prepared to adjust your speed accordingly. Training together is really important so it helps if you live close by!