Des­ti­na­tion Race

SwimRun, Vic­to­ria

Canadian Running - - CONTENTS -

This sum­mer, Hu­man Pow­ered Rac­ing is bring­ing the first large or­ga­nized SwimRun event that is open to the pub­lic to the Cana­dian West Coast. This sin­gle-day mul­ti­stage race will be tak­ing place on Aug. 12 at Thetis Lake Re­gional Park in Vic­to­ria.

SwimRun has been gain­ing pop­u­lar­ity in re­cent years thanks to in­di­vid­u­als on the look­out for new and ex­cit­ing ways to push their lim­its. SwimRun com­bines both el­e­ments of the tra­di­tional triathlon with ad­ven­ture rac­ing in a point-to-point race across a va­ri­ety of ter­rain. Ath­letes par­tak­ing in a SwimRun will re­peat­edly tran­si­tion from swim­ming to run­ning any­where from two to 52 times, de­pend­ing on the length of the race. For this in­au­gu­ral SwimRun in Vic­to­ria, race di­rec­tor Rob Dib­den ex­plains that par­tic­i­pants will be able to choose from two dis­tances: the short course, which will con­sist of two swims and two runs, to­tal­ing 12 kilo­me­tres, and the long course, which will con­sist of four swims and four runs to­tal­ing 28 kilo­me­tres. An added chal­lenge for those tak­ing part in the con­test is the “blind seg­ment,” mean­ing one of the run seg­ments will not be dis­closed un­til the morn­ing of the race.

Though peo­ple can sign up for this new race for­mat in­di­vid­u­ally, one of the main ap­peals of SwimRuns is the part­ner com­po­nent.

“The team as­pect cre­ates a dif­fer­ent dy­namic to the race be­cause part­ners must re­main within five me­tres of their team­mate at all times,” says Dib­den. “Check­points are set up through­out the course to see if ath­letes are close to their team­mate,” he adds. There­fore, it is com­mon for teams in SwimRuns to opt for teth­er­ing, which pre­vents com­peti­tors from get­ting dis­qual­i­fied for be­ing too far apart.

What also makes these com­pe­ti­tions dif­fer from other mul­ti­stage events is that par­tic­i­pants must be self-suf­fi­cient and are re­quired to carry all the equip­ment they will be need­ing for both swim­ming and run­ning through­out the en­tire race.

Dib­den ex­plains there’s noth­ing con­sis­tent about the equip­ment ath­letes select for SwimRuns. Although there are sev­eral rules par­tic­i­pants must fol­low, such as the length of f loata­tion as­sists and swim fins, it’s re­ally up to them to ap­proach their equip­ment strat­egy the way they want. In most cases, com­peti­tors will mod­ify swim train­ing equip­ment for the race.

The Thetis Lake Re­gional Park venue of the Aug. 12 con­test is a lo­ca­tion where Dib­den and his train­ing part­ner spend a lot of time train­ing at and know in­ti­mately. Ath­letes will be run­ning through di­verse trails with steep climbs and de­scents, nar­row sin­gle track, as well as open dou­ble-track trails. Dib­den has ad­vice for SwimRun newbs who want to sign up: “SwimRun does present some chal­lenges that are a lit­tle dif­fer­ent than sin­gle sport or mul­ti­sport events. Go­ing from swim­ming to run­ning over and over again, my big­gest ad­vice is for peo­ple to go through those tran­si­tions, get­ting used to run­ning in swim gear or vice versa.” As for where he sees the fu­ture of the sport, Dib­den thinks it’s go­ing to grow ex­po­nen­tially in the next cou­ple of years. “It seems like ev­ery­one that gets in­volved in it, gets cap­tured in it,” he says. Melissa Offner is a writer and run­ner from North Van­cou­ver.

By Melissa Offner

PHO­TOS The wildly pop­u­lar SwimRun Otillo se­ries in­cludes this race held in Uto Fin­land

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