Entries open for first Breca Wanaka
Wanaka has been chosen as the location for New Zealand’s first Breca SwimRun.
It is a gnarly adventure race, but without the kayak or bike.
Athletes swim and run in pairs over a multiple stage course for either 17km or 42km and - here’s the catch - must wear wetsuits and shoes at all times.
The concept was launched in 2002 with Sweden’s OtillO (Island to Island), with a 75km swim and run course crossing 26 islands in the Stockholm archipelago.
Breca event organiser Ben de Rivaz, of Britain, did a reconnaissance of lakes Wanaka and Hawea in April.
‘‘Wanaka was the natural place for us to launch swimrun in New Zealand. It has everything we look for in a Breca course - it’s an extraordinary landscape, with beautiful swimming and outstanding trails.
‘‘I knew the area having visited in 2001; also I was recommended it by Kiwi swimrun friends. I couldn’t think of a better place to become the home of New Zealand swimrun,’’ de Rivaz said.
Breca Wanaka will be the first race in a New Zealand series. De Rivaz expects to announce other dates in early 2017.
De Rivaz and his business partner Hannah Graves run their event company in the United Kingdom and have founded other swimrun events, including Breca Buttermere and Breca Jersey.
Wanaka course details will be released as soon as resource consents have been finalised.
De Rivaz is based in Hackney Wick, London and there is no Wanaka-based contact for his company.
Swimrun races have rules for gear that must be carried and worn at all times, even during the swims.
Running in a wetsuit sounds hot and uncomfortable but doing it in togs or a race suit is not allowed.
‘‘You don’t change out of your stuff at all. I know why you are asking that question but as people get degraded over the course of the day, they need the extra warmth and having the extra buoyancy is really helpful, ’’ de Rivaz said.
Breca Wanaka is for teams of two. It is not open to individuals.
De Rivaz, 32, has worked in the finance industry and has a passion for ultramarathon and long distance triathlon.
Breca Wanaka SwimRun race organiser Ben de Rivaz, of the UK, tests a course on the Outlet Track in Wanaka.