Breca Swimrun, a swimrun event organiser in the UK and New Zealand, has announced plans to create a UK national swimrun championship series. The announcement followed a record-breaking weekend for the organiser at the Breca Gower Swimrun, which took place over the weekend of 7 and 8 July 2018.
“The swimrunners in the second edition of Breca Gower really raised the bar in terms of performance, with seven teams going faster than last year’s winning time,” said Ben de Rivaz, founder of Breca Swimrun. “The sea was probably a little calmer this year, without the swell and currents from 2017, but the scorching weather meant very tough conditions for running – especially in neoprene! The improvement in times shows how seriously many athletes are taking swimrun training and events now.”
This year’s winners in fact beat the 2017 time by almost 45 minutes and completed the 42km course (comprising 37km of running, 5km or swimming and 1000m of ascent) in a time of 5:21:29.
Breca Gower also introduced a shorter “sprint” version of the event this year that covered 17.8km of running and 2.2km of swimming. This was won by Chris Stuart and Mike Milstead in 2:33. A total of 70 teams took part in the sprint version and 69 in the full length race, with only two teams pulling out, despite the heat and challenging conditions.
De Rivaz says that swimrun is rapidly gaining in popularity. In Breca’s first year, 2015, just 14 teams took part in their inaugural event. In 2017, a total of 434 teams entered their races and 616 are already signed up for events this year. This growth has prompted Breca to create The Breca UK National Swimrun Championship that will allow teams to amass points over multiple events and compete against each other in stunning race locations. More details will be released shortly.
The name Breca is derived from the most dramatic swimming contest in literature: the seven-day race between Breca and Beowulf across a stormy windswept sea. Breca emerges from the water victorious; but Beowulf claims the greater victory as he stopped to fight sea monsters along the way.