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Great Swim, Europe's biggest open water swimming series, has announced the launch of their inaugural Great SwimRun event which will take place on Saturday 10 June.
Inspired by the ÖTILLÖ challenges that originated in the dramatic Scandinavian wilderness, Great SwimRun Windermere is the latest addition to their flagship Great North Swim in the Lake District National Park.
The picturesque course will contain a mixture of multi-terrain runs and short swims. The idea is simple - complete your chosen distance carrying everything you need from start to finish.
Participants must complete the event in pairs and teamwork is an essential part of the experience. Teammates look out for one another's safety, support each other around the course and share in their joint success when they cross the line.
Alex Jackson, Director of the Great Swim Series said, “SwimRun originated in Sweden and it's a fantastic example of how Scandinavians make the most of the incredible rural areas and wild swimming spots their countries have to offer.
“The Lake District National Park is one of the most awe-inspiring locations in the world. We're hoping this event will encourage people from around the UK to see it from a new perspective and experience an exhilarating and challenging activity in their own backyard.”
Great SwimRun Windermere will accommodate everyone from beginners to experienced competitors with a choice of challenges; the Short distance, which is just over 10km, the 21.3k Middle distance, which is around the length of a half marathon and the testing 36.5k Endurance distance.
If you're looking for a new and exciting challenge in 2017 here are our top tips for taking on your first SwimRun:
All the gear … no idea
You will need some specific kit, but don't invest in the expensive stuff until you've decided if the sport is for you. If you're an open water swimmer, consider modifying an old wetsuit by cutting it at the knees to allow you to run more easily. Old running shoes will drain faster with a few strategically drilled holes. Search online for tried and tested kit hacks from experienced SwimRunners for more ideas.
Train for the terrain and learn the course
If you're used to running on the road, rural trails will be a whole different experience. There will be hills … but if you know you can conquer them in training they won't seem so daunting on the day. The swimming sections may be shorter than you're used to, but learning how to swim in shoes, or using a pull buoy and paddles is a skill in itself, so make sure you have a couple of practice sessions before event day.
Memorising the course and lengths of each individual section is very helpful; it will allow you to mentally prepare for tackling the different distances and know when is best to make adjustments in your kit between disciplines.
Feel the love
Embrace the team aspect of the challenge. Being accountable to someone else can make it easier to stick to a training schedule but also lead to a much more fun and sociable experience in the build-up to and on event day.
Your partner will be instrumental in assisting your transitions, encouraging you when you're flagging, celebrating your progress and vice versa. These events are all about working together to cross the finish line – so buddy up and get training!
The Great SwimRun Windermere will take place on Saturday 10 June; entries are priced from £150 per team and are now open for entry at greatswim.org/swimrun.