Getting the swimrun bug
By Lisa Sherman
In late April 2018, my husband Grant and I headed down to Woollahra Sailing Club to cheer on coach Greta and a couple of friends who were taking part in Swimrun Australia. We were in awe of these teams of two that were swimming and running around 17+ kms from the sailing club up through Vaucluse, Watson’s Bay, and Camp Cove before turning around at South Head and doing it all back again. Whatever you were wearing you had to swim in and run in (shoes, wetsuits, pull buoys etc) and we just thought there was no way we would be able to take on a challenge like that…
Fast forward to early October 2018 on our last day at the Rejoov Clare Valley camp, and along with Greta, I found myself frantically trying to register for this years event as it sells out quickly. The 2019 event sold out within five hours but we were able to secure our spot. Great - we were registered, but now we had to work out how we were going to actually do this! I’ve been a swimmer for awhile, using it as great cross training or when recovering from an injury, and had recently overcome my fear of swimming in open water, so I wasn’t too daunted by the swimming but Grant wasn’t into swimming - this was going to be a challenge for us, especially the constant transitioning from running to swimming to running and so on.
But like all challenges, if you have a plan you can make it work. We got to know the course over the summer months, spending our Saturday’s doing swimrun sessions around Vaucluse, Watson’s Bay and Camp Cove, similar to the event course. We trialled different options for carrying pull buoys or having them on a belt and worked out the best shoes to run and swim in. We sorted out our nutrition and what’s best to carry when you are going in and out of the water and did a couple of smaller events including 3 Bays Challenge with a big gang of fellow Rejoovers in mid November 2018 and then a SwimRun Splash event in Wollongong in early March. Grant got over his dislike of getting in the pool and upped his swim mileage, mainly in the harbour around Shark Bay, Nelson’s Park - but than, how can you not love swimming when you have the gorgeous Sydney Harbour as your backdrop?
As the event drew closer, it was great to find out there were going to be some other Rejoov teams taking on the Swimrun challenge - Michael and Nadine, Fran and Cathy, Claire and Susan, and of course coach Greta trying the mixed teams with young speedster Jack McPhee. Some of us trained together which was awesome and that’s one of the best things about event’s like these and being part of a fantastic group like Rejoov - it’s the people you get to meet, train with and help each other to achieve these goals we set for ourselves.
This year’s SwimRun event was held on 27 April 2019 and what a cracker of a day! The buzz before the event was evident and the time flew by, before we knew it we were off, racing over sand and into the water. The first ‘swim’ ended up mainly being a “dolpining” wade as the tide was so low but this is what makes Swimrun so enjoyable - you really don’t know what the course will be like as it’s so dependent on conditions. The banter on the course was great, and being a team event (teams of two and you must stay within 10m of each other at all times), there was always someone to chat with. With so many transitions in/out of the water (there are 27 transitions for this event in total), the time flies with swumrun - before you know it you’re at the half way turning point, a run for the same length of time never seems to go as quick LOL.
A massive high during the event was seeing so many fellow Rejoovers out cheering us on - Emma and Mila at Nelson Park, Saorla at Watson’s Bay, coach Chris at various points - there really is nothing like having people on the course cheering you on. And they took some cracking photos too which is always good!