Ma­jor mut­lisport event comes back to Bay

The Northland Age - - Sport -

The Bay of Is­lands has been named as one of two venues com­pris­ing the New Zealand stage of the 2019 Breca Na­tional Cham­pi­onships.

The an­nual com­pe­ti­tion is held in wild lo­ca­tions in New Zealand and the United King­dom with or­gan­is­ers chang­ing the venues every year, with the 2019 lo­ca­tions hav­ing just been re­cently an­nounced.

The Breca Na­tional Rank­ing is a points-based rank­ing sys­tem for teams com­pet­ing across the se­ries each year. Teams are awarded points for each race they com­plete, with ex­tra points avail­able at the Breca Na­tional Cham­pi­onship race. Fol­low­ing the fi­nal race of the cal­en­dar year, points will be ag­gre­gated to rank the men’s, women’s and mixed teams over full and sprint dis­tances.

Event founder Ben de Ri­vaz said the Breca Na­tional Cham­pi­onships and Breca Rank­ings al­low en­durance elites and mul­ti­sport en­thu­si­asts to com­pete along­side each other across our stun­ning race lo­ca­tions.

“Swim­run is rapidly be­com­ing the ‘A’ sport for many of our ath­letes. It’s go­ing to be a thrilling com­pet­i­tive arena,” he said, not­ing Swim­run in­volves teams of two travers­ing trail and open wa­ter, run­ning in their wet­suits and swim­ming in their shoes.

It is one of the fastest-grow­ing sports glob­ally, with Breca the first to es­tab­lish races in the United King­dom and New Zealand and the only swim­run se­ries across two con­ti­nents. Hav­ing started with just 14 teams at its in­au­gu­ral swim­run event in the Lake Dis­trict (UK) in 2015, 2018 saw 630 teams com­pet­ing at Breca events glob­ally.

“More and more elites are join­ing the field and swim­runs are quickly be­com­ing the A race for our ex­ist­ing ath­letes. The Breca Na­tional Cham­pi­onships caters for the in­creas­ing com­pet­i­tive­ness and pop­u­lar­ity of the sport,” said de Ri­vaz.

“Swim­run is all about team­mates work­ing to­gether to com­plete a unique en­durance chal­lenge in spec­tac­u­lar sur­round­ings. You learn a lot about your­self and your own phys­i­cal and men­tal ca­pa­bil­i­ties, as well as con­nect­ing with na­ture in a truly im­mer­sive way — it’s you and your part­ner work­ing with and, some­times, against the el­e­ments across land and wa­ter.”

The Breca of­fers two dis­tances to race over: full-dis­tance cour­ses cov­er­ing 37-54km with pro­jected fin­ish times of 6-10 hours, and 18-22km sprint cour­ses that take 2.5-4.5 hours to com­plete. A team en­try (two peo­ple) costs from NZ$480 for a sprint and NZ$720 for a full.

Events con­firmed on the 2019 se­ries in New Zealand are at Wanaka on March 16, and the Bay of Is­lands from April 13-14; and in the UK for the Breca events in Gower from July 13-14, But­ter­mere from Au­gust 10-11, Jersey from Septem­ber 7-8 and Con­is­ton from Oc­to­ber 5-6.

■ Breca Swim­run or­gan­ises world-class swim­run races in wild places in the UK and New Zealand. The name Breca is de­rived from the most dra­matic swim­ming con­test in lit­er­a­ture: the seven-day race be­tween Breca and Be­owulf across a stormy windswept sea. Breca emerges from the wa­ter vic­to­ri­ous; but Be­owulf claims the greater vic­tory as he stopped to fight sea mon­sters along the way.

PIC­TURE / IMAGE SUP­PLIED

Com­peti­tors in last year’s Breca Bay of Is­lands event.

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