Gravity Race 2016

Emmanuel Charpentier shares his experience of the Annecy Gravity race where he competed alongside Yves Louis. The race takes place in France around the lake d’Annecy. It’s a hilly race: 5km Swim – 34.5km Run with 2100m of ascent.

After 20 years of athletics (Track and Cross-country) and 10 years of triathlon (All distances), I found myself yearning for more authentic and natural courses more specific to my profile as a swim-runner. So, I decided in 2015 to try my hand at the Troll Enez Morbihan… It was love at first sight! I had found a new form of adventure in Swimrun.

On the Friday before the race, I meet up with Yves Louis, originally from Besancon, who is an experienced trail runner and triathlete of 2 years (He did 13hrs15 in Embrun in 2015). It’s raining and it’s hard to imagine that sunshine has been forecast for the day after next. We’re going to test out swimming roped together to decide whether to do it on race day. After a short time trying them out, we decide to go with the rope. We also discover that the water is not exactly what you would call warm. (14-15° with lows of 5° in the last 15 days).

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What is the best shoe for swimrun?

Among the pieces of equipment essential to swimrun, the shoes are fundamental. It’s our contact with the ground, it is what we spend most time in, and it suffers the most shocks. It is therefore important to choose the ideal shoe for your training and your next race. The answer is actually quite simple: there is no ideal shoe. If you are seeking peremptory guru-style advice telling you what THE best shoe of the moment is, you can save time: stop reading this article, and go to magazines paid by brand x or y to brag about their product.

If you’re still reading, then let’s try to define a method to navigate the jungle of the running shoe market and the use of shoes in swimrun.

23368732555_2498015d72_zThe first criterion: your stride

Your shoes have to suit your stride, your running technique. This is by far the most important point. For example if you land on the heel, then you should not believe that a minimalist shoe without cushioning will suit you. On the contrary: you will risk getting injured. It doesn’t help to look at what some champion or friend (the two are not mutually exclusive!) uses if your running technique is completely different from that of your hero. We can of course change our technique, but this is another debate and a longer-term approach issue we’ll address another time. So analyse your current technique (not the one you dream of) and eliminate the shoes that are incompatible with your stride. Another point which can sometimes be important: your weight. Not everybody weighs 40 kg… Take this into account when choosing your shoe. It should be noted that manufacturers are making progress on cushioning and stability, with for example the introduction of TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) foam. In summary, comfort, movement efficiency and injury prevention are far more important than fashion. Use the type of shoes you need for classic running before moving on to the other criteria.

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Triathlon Federation gets responsibility for swimrun in France

FFTRI-TYPO-NEWThe French have done it again! Often early adopters of new sports but also inventors of the word ‘bureaucratie’, the ‘Minister of city, youth and sport’ has given the delegation of the sport swimrun in France to the French Triathlon Federation (FFTri) until 2020 (Olympic cycle).

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Race report: Swimrun North Carolina

image-9Misty Becerra and Sophia Chadwick share with us their experience at the inaugural SwimRun North Carolina which took place on October 30th, 2016 in Hanging Rock State Park, USA. Third state to host a swimrun, North Carolina is a beautiful place, another nice sport for swimrunning. Photos © Brian Fancher Photography

I had just returned back to Victoria British Columbia after traveling to Sweden for ÖtillÖ when I received a message from Misty Becerra. She had received my name from a friend of a friend of an acquaintance (we still aren’t sure how it all transpired) who said I might be interested in teaming up with her for SwimRun NC. I quickly looked up who this Misty person was and saw that she had done ÖtillÖ in 2015 + 2016, was based out of Florida, and was a super endurance athlete. Feeling pretty accomplished after having finished ÖtillÖ ten days prior, I figured that this was a pretty awesome experience that I couldn’t really pass up. Within an hour I had responded to Misty, asked my boss for the weekend off (who said something along the lines of: “You can’t say no to this Sophia!” – it is SO helpful to have an avid endurance junkie as your boss!), bounced the idea off my boyfriend and mom (“I’m not totally crazy to race with a stranger am I?!”), and booked my flight. I had just under 6 weeks to dust off my paddles and pull-buoy, Icebugs, and burn off the delicious Swedish bread and salted butter (seriously – sooo good).

Unfortunately the lead up didn’t go exactly to plan (but when does it ever). I was working extremely long days, had a ton of commitments and was dealing with a dog that decided as soon as he turned one, he was going to turn into a rebellious teenager. Swims started to fall by the wayside, runs became short (but sweet), and fatigue quickly set in.

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Hell’s Hop 2016: A weaterh to remember

Mark Cohen is sharing with us his experience at the first edition of Hell’s Hop, a swimrun in the Hebrides off the north west coast of Scotland.

I registered for Hell’s Hop, then told my mate Alan Kennedy I had signed us up! The prospect of racing in Eriskay and Uist was very exciting. It’s wild and remote.

We realised how wild and remote as soon as we left Glasgow airport. The plane to Barra, lands on the beach, if the weather’s ok! We then caught the last ferry to Eriskay before the ferries were cancelled for the rest of the day due to the crazy wind and rain. Some competitors never made it to the start line as they couldn’t get to the island. Some arrived just in the nick of time on the morning of the race.

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