Way back last year I was talking with a friend about swim/run and how daft it looks and also could be quite a laugh. Little did I know that was the go ahead to sign me up for the most ridiculous one going to mankind. Over Christmas she announces she actually signed us up in October. Good I thought I’ll worry about that nearer the time, can’t be too mega, a few swims and runs – I can do that and so I forgot about to and focused on IM Austria. 3/4 weeks before the big day still unaware of what I had let myself in for, my coach tells me actually it’s the huge one, Coniston full, so total 6.5k swimming and 39k of running! What the hell!!! Had better gather some kit.
Swimrunners wear all sorts of ridiculous things, hand paddles, pull buoys strapped to your legs
It became apparent in our first swim that all the above equipment was totally unnecessary and more of a hinderance. Emily had a bit of a panic in the first swim, the water was just so so cold and we had to stop and she shucked her paddles and I ended up towing her across the lake (oh forgot to mention we are tied together)
We got out of swim one having been stone cold last out the swim thanking our lucky stars we are still alive, had a huge hug and off we went to do our first run. Good god.. technical fell running!!! My pull buoy on my leg kept falling down and trying to trip me up so I had to stop and take that off and ending up carrying it like a dainty clutch bag. Ever tried running over slippy rocks and tree roots clutching a handbag?… we found this highly amusing so we giggled the whole way, somehow we had even over taken a team and they got stuck behind me (they were very serious) skipping along with my clutch giggling which just amused us even more.
By swim point 3 it became apparent that the marshals had a WhatsApp group to keep in contact and had named us Jolly Team 3.. each marshal we came across scream and cheered us saying ‘it’s jolly team 3’, we thought it was odd everyone was saying the same but apparently we had made a name for ourselves. Run 5 was mega. It was 9 miles of very technical ups and downs. Mostly all the downs were down what seemed like waterfalls, no roads, no proper tracks just rocky v’s in the land with water running down them so our theory of walk the ups and run the downs went out the window.
By this point it was survival mode. Common phrases of the day were ‘this is f*cking stupid, this sport will never catch on’ to, just to amuse ourselves ‘we could still totally win this’ to all the marshals. We were last apart from 2 teams that had got properly lost. Along the way we witnessed a chubby man who was so busy laughing at us he fell over and took a teddy bear roll down a hill… discovered it’s quite acceptable to just wee yourself on dry land because you’re in a wetsuit and that’s the rules, plus getting back in the water anyway, fells are actually mountains, any hills I’ve encountered are actually quite small in comparison and that the human brain is a weird thing and the race you felt was totally horrendous and you had declared on the way home ‘NEVER AGAIN’ might actually be a maybe again because horrendous as it was it was actually really rather fantastic.
NB- I should add that we bailed with 6k to go. Emily was a funny shade of blue on the last swim and she was recovering from pneumonia the week before so we tapped out. Neither of us could bear to get back in the water, we were starting to lose our senses of humour and wanted to stop before we wanted to cry. So I finished business…