Why I am taking on Torpedo SwimRun Wild in September
By Ryan Stramrood, Cape Town, 3 August 2018
Torpedo SwimRun Cape in November 2017 was an epic experience for Mark de Klerk and I as open water swimmers. We were not runners at all, but since SwimRun I have kept up the running, doing the odd 5 or 10kms. We are now amped to take on the Wild version in September, where we will be swimming in rivers, running through Garden Route forest and on beaches, and apparently “swambling” over rocks in rivers.
Having to find and don wetsuits and running shoes for the first time last year and step outside our comfort zones, was a proper test of fitness for the whole body and mind. There is something about a challenge that pushes you just further than feels comfortable, that when you attain it gives you a serious sense of achievement. And that comfort zone is different for everyone so the achievement is a very personal one.
I clearly remember hearing about the first SwimRun event earlier in 2017 and thinking ‘not a chance – not for me!’ However, after being encouraged to enter and managing to convince fellow open water swimmer Mark to partner me, we got stuck into some training, completed the Torpedo ‘tour’ which did a lot to calm the nerves, and before we knew it, we were standing at the start line on the morning of the 19th November.
With no transition zones and with the feeds provided along the way, we both loved the simplicity. You arrive with shoes, wetsuit, goggles, cap (and your toys of choice). Then you get through 16kms of soft sand running, rock hopping, hectic uphill, nice downhill, road running, short swims, rock jumping, long swims, large surf, rip currents, rocky exits, kelp wading – what you start with is what you need to end with. Just a brilliant, all-round race done with a mate taking turns to pull each other through the tougher bits. All done along the most exquisite coastline in the world.
Mark and I kept a steady pace from start to finish, with very few stops and I admit to a few walks up the hectic hills (Llandudno!!). We managed to hold our own through the 13km running legs and showed our experience and fitness in the 3km water legs. Delighted to finish in the top 20 (17th overall) out of 204 participants (102 teams) with all limbs intact.
And with R100k in prize money up for grabs at this year’s Cape in November, I think there are a lot of runners, swimmers and triathletes setting their sights on that podium. If it was a 21km swim and 5km run rather, I think Mark and I would be in with a shot at the podium. But as the reality is reversed, we’ll focus on how much fun this experience is – being in nature, sharing a challenge with a mate and balancing the physical and mental strength needed to reach the finish. Or, let’s see! Just maybe we should push past impossible and give the serious ultra-runners and triathletes a run/swim for their money!
History of SwimRun
Originating in Sweden, this new sport ditches triathlon’s flashy gear for off-road and open-water adventure. Raced along coastal and inland waterways, the route is designed around the natural environment with distances varying from race to race. With multiple swim and run segments and athletes racing self-sufficiently – they swim and run in the same gear – it’s the wildest sport going. Growing rapidly in popularity, there are now 450 races around the globe. Torpedo launched the first SwimRun in Cape Town in 2017, with a national Series rolling out from 2018.
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