SwimRunMan Gorges du Verdon - France - 2022 - 3rd

I've been interested in SwimRun events since the first time I saw the ÖtillÖ race in a video. I love the idea of following natural paths across different types of terrain to get from one point to another. Swimming from one island to another and then running across them appealed to my sense of adventure. However, I never committed to doing a race because I haven't done any swimming training in many years and the format has always been for these races to be run in pairs (which makes sense from a safety perspective), but I didn't have a racing partner in mind to do an event with.

Last year I saw that some races were introducing a solo category to help bring new people into the sport and to give them a stepping stone to learn more about the sport. I decided to give it a try and over the winter I added swimming to my training routine. Then I signed up for the Gorges du Verdon race in the Classic category (the shortest distance) and as a solo athlete. I thought that I would be able to handle the running sections, but the swims across the lake intimidated me and I was quite nervous about how cold the water would be in May.

The race was fantastic! It was just the type of adventure I expected it to be and I loved the challenge of transitioning from swimming to running and back again. The course crossed the lake multiple times and the chance to swim out to the little island to run across it was very cool. I had a lot of fun and will definitely be doing some more of these races over the summer. I'll let the pictures below tell the story of my race.

Lac du Sainte-Croix.
On the first run heading down to the lake.
Run 2: a steep climb up from the lake onto the ridgeline.
Swim 3: about halfway through the course.
Exiting the water after Swim 3. I've got some work to do on my transitions.
After a quick loop for Run 4 it was back down to the water.
Swim 4: another crossing of the lake.
Run 5: the longest run with a climb up to Aiguines.
At the finish: just made it onto the podium overtaking 4th during the last run.
On the podium in my first race. That was awesome!

Lessons learned

A few notes for me to remember and things to work on before the next races.

  1. I need to improve my swim speed to keep up with the faster swimmers.
  2. I need to practice sighting in the open water swims to make sure I swim in the right direction.
  3. I need to improve my transitions (both into and out of the water) to save time over the race.
  4. I need some better goggles or at least need to figure out how to stop my goggles from fogging.
  5. I need to figure out how best to carry water with me to stay hydrated.
  6. I need to train for "SwimRun" events and not just train swimming and running separately.

I'm excited to be able to participate in a new sport and have lots of opportunities to improve. There are also many races in fantastic locations which means lots of fun travel and new locations to visit.

Race result

1 May 2022
28.3km (4.8km swim, 23.5km run)

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