Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Racereport 2016-05: SwimRun Costabrava

Currently it seems like SwimRun competitions are cracking scenes all over the place. Already last year was a pretty hectic year for this diverse endurance sport combination, 2016 looks like the year that shoots this sport more than one step into the future. Up until now my cherished GSP-troop and I competed in the maiden SwimRun races in the UK (2015 Breca Buttermere) & Switzerland (2014 Engadin).

Honestly, it feels special to be in the midst of a growing scene and surrounded by a sound bunch of driven pioneers in our country and across mainland Europe. SwimRun fetched back a lot of vanished inspiration, not only to for myself but also to both of my associates Fabian and Knut. The simple base of the sport is something that we started to adore straight away. I still reminisce the first time Fabian and I doubtfully hopped into the cold waters of the French Rivera to exam what it feels to swim with shoes, paddles and pullbuoy. Also the first strides in wet soaked shoes are still evident. Seeing our friends, that were comically entertained by our actions, enjoying their first experiences with the sport is a great sentiment. Once we realised how much fun it is to race as pair of twos there was no stopping. Thankfully we are infected by Sweden’s prime endurance export.

Our superb friends at Swimrunshop.com made a start at yet another initial race realism. Convoyed by former SwimRun criticisers and friends Felix and Tim, the Über-Hobbit and yours truly ventured down to Spain as the Costa Brava region was home to Spain’s first ever SwimRun contest. Knut engraved an superb description on our team website. If you do not check it out you have the chance to win a date with Lil Kim. You better think twice valued reader!

There is only one thing I would like to add to everything that has been written and stated about Spain’s maiden SwimRun meeting. Although the organisers of the SwimRun Costabrava did an excellent job scouting and arranging the scenic course, I feel the must to reassure all participants, organisers and Marshalls to stay true to the fundamental procedures this sport laid out. Of course, I’m German and I might be regulation driven but when it comes to competing and particularly team racing in the nature, some things need to be understood and adhered to.
Stay with your partner all the time.
SwimRun is a crew game! There is a simple intention for that. It is not that you won’t get bored or lonesome out there, it is pretty much down to security. Simple. While we were roaming along the shoreline we came past more than a few teams from the shorter competitions. Prior I laid out that for us a big share of the splendour lies inside the team characteristic. That’s why I get bothered when teams split up. It absolutely makes no sense and it does not provoke your companion if you run away from him and leave him in the dust. Stay within the definite radius and support your partner. At all times. From my own knowledge I can tell you that coming back from a low is harsh. Occasionally you might never ever come back out of this nasty dark neighbourhood. Racing SwimRun races with great partner I ALWAYS came back and I ALWAYS came back tougher and more focussed. So do not leave your partner back and stay by his side. At all times. Watch him and share as much positivity as possible. Honestly, it is so simple. During the Costabrava race we passed some bizarre teams that clearly did not know what the goal of this sport is. I encourage all organisers to eliminate crews like this straight away. Talking about soul and integrity of such a young sport, a clear announcement has to be made early on. Competitors must respect and recognise this basic rule.

While it is not really life threatening to leave your partner behind on the run, there is a major risk of leaving your partner behind in the H2O. This was an matter that happened through the race and wasn’t highlighted. As the sea was rough and even for experienced open water swimmers like us a test, some fellow contenders were shipwrecked. This is an issue I cannot understand and a rule that has been set up by the ÖtillÖ originators for a cause. Pure security for yourself and your companion. The logistics are challenging enough so the co-ordinators simply cannot offer a boat for every team at every swim section. This is where a team comes into place as its own personal safety boat. In my opinion this is essential and, again, needs to be executed with race-exclusion by the organisers straight away.

Please don’t get me wrong by being negative on an issue like this, but this theme has been discussed during the aftermath of the Costa Brava race by our group of friends and I feel the requirement to write it down. The Costa Brava competition was a great start for SwimRun in Spain and the vast majority of the line-ups that competed did a great job guarding themselves and their partner but there were some incidents that made me think. Better get it right early on.

Stay safe and watch your partner. At all times.

Appreciate SwimRun and enjoy your season!

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