Ever since the first swimrun race, taking form as an adventure amongst friends, swimmrunners have sought to challenge the elements in various ways. We’ve had swimrunners crossing the highlands in Tajikistan, and diving through caves in the Calanques in France.
Let’s not also forget those swimrunners who have moved away from the race-bib scene with a mindset on doing ultraswimrun adventure racing, free and unsupported. There are as many variants as there are swimrunners.
To date though, the toughest challenges have been long, hard and stretching over multiple days.
In 2015, two swimrunners embarked on the Baltic Sea adventure swimrun (Östersjösimmet), stretching from Sweden to Finland. In total there were 230 km of running and 70 km of swimming over the course of ten days.
That same year, the first attempt of Stockholm Archipelago Ultraswimrun Challenge (SAUC) took place. However, it would be the following year when this adventure swimrun challenge of 190 km running and 65 km swimming was conquered, in 57 hours which is currently the #FKT.
Now there is another swimrun record attempt in the making in the south of France, and we had a chat with JC, the man behind the attempt.
/The WoS Team
Hi JC, tell us a bit about yourself and how you came into swimrunning?
Hi, my name is JC I come from France and I live in the Northern Alps close Lake Annecy. I’m nurse on sport events and I’m the creator of Swimrun-Academy. I was in the national climbing team when I was young, and I jumped in the outdoor sport 30 ago. My first trail running, and adventure races were in 1996 …. and I discovered the swimrun 7 years ago when I was in holiday in the Göteborg archipelago but really 5 years ago with the amazing pictures from FIX and Jean Marie in the Calanques.
We understand you are planning to set the world record for the longest swimrun adventure, can you tell us a bit on how you came up with the idea for this challenge?
So, the spirit is beyond a world record for the longest swimrun adventure because I will be alone to “compete”, I’m not in autonomy. SAUC that you know well is the pure swimrun spirit if we want talking about record. That’s important to explain that. A world record alone with a support team. 1 year ago, after my fall in ÖtillÖ WC and the luck to finish the race with my injured shoulder (my teammate was amazing), I decide to plan a strong recovery and imagine this challenge.
2 years ago after my UltraSwimrun Alps event I decided to do this parkour with my crazy friend David Briand (ultraswimmer, ultrarunner, ultra-athlete..) but the life stopped our project. From January to August I trained hard with a specific muscle reinforcement program with my coach on Powerplate and Imoove. I did a long fresh and cold swim to know more my body and to increase my recovery. I continued to run in my mountains around Annecy Lake. My motivation is high and during this challenge I will be in face-to-face with myself.
Explain to us the details of the swimrun challenge,
It is in total around 800 km, close the coastline but I use road, cycle ways and trails. The half parkour is more mountainous terrain from Menton to Marseille and the second one more wild, flat and sandy. The final 50km will be on the amazing area of Ultraswimrun Côte Vermeille. However, 2 sections (30 to 40km) will be in autonomy with a waterproof bag carrying energy, hydration and safety equipment.
Awesome, and how about the swim, and run ratio?
I hope 10-15% of swims, but the autumn winds are present right now, so the game is open. Swims will be long in the second part of the parkour.
How many days do you expect this to take and what is the day-to-day plan?
I don’t target the distance but the time. 7 days to swimrun but my goal is from the Italian border to the Spanish border. The Start is Menton to the French Italian border around 20.00 the 13th September with a full moon. It’s a magical crazy day. The first day will last from 20.00 to 18.00 the day after. A long day to live the beginning of this adventure. Day 2 to Day 7 I will swimrunning 14-16 hours per day. My daily goal is to do 100 km. That seems insane BUT don’t forget my pacing will be very slow R=8km/h S=2.5 km/h and the day is long. Snail rhythm from my high mountain culture to succeed this adventure.
Will you have support or not, and how does is work for you with supplies?
My support is Veronique a Channel swimmer who plans logistic, energy stations, accommodations and medical/physiotherapist care. Some athletes (swimrunners, runners, trail runners) will follow me on the parkour from 1 hour to 1 days. I’m alone but the group will be the TEAM. My team plans logistic and accommodations so I will sleep in hotels, my van and sometimes I will be to swimrunner/athletes houses.
(We, the WoS Team, encourage more to join in!)
Which equipment will you use and how do you stay away from injuries?
Traditional swimrun equipment from my main partner HEAD. I wear a new shoes brand with Hoka to limit injuries since the days will be long. No watch, I learn to know my pace for 6 months. I’ll wear it just for the night run section. During my rest and short sleep that will be the time to recover with Compex stimulation, Life + working with a red-light care (often use by ultra-trail runners) and physiotherapist if I feel some different pains. I will keep a holistic organization based on previous training and recovery. I’m nurse and I like research and I offer to study my body on this long challenge. I’m sure the body recovers better in swimrun with the mix swim and run. I wanted to study it, but the time was too short to do it. I began to study my HRV considering that’s a wonderful fatigue level marker with a swiss society. Unfortunately, my equipment doesn’t work. My blood test will be the unique marker before/after.
Can we follow you online?
Yes, of course. I will be using GPS live tracking with Capturs.
On my website https://www.swimrun-academy.com/just-crazy-boy-swimrun-project (”suivi GPS”) or on the FB page Swimrun-Academy with some lives and videos posted by the Team
Is the idea for this to be a race, or is it just an adventure?
The distance shows that it’s an adventure and a face to face to myself. However, with the organisation we can imagine a race. It’s not my spirit. SAUC or the swimrun events of Sylvain in South France are a real adventure to me.
How do you prepare mentally for this adventure?
I talk a lot with coach and ultra-athletes but nothing specific. Today I’m not stressed by this challenge, all is planned, and I don’t wear a bib. Bib has always been terrific to me but it’s different. I’m swimrunning 7 days and I hope going to the Spanish border. I succeed all is good otherwise no problem. For that reason, I’m not stressed.
After this, are you planning to do any other swimrun racing or adventure?
My life is surrounded by several great projects with Swimrun-Academy. Consulting job (parkour, eco-friendly spirit and action in new swimrun races in France and in the World) and a new job with Annecy Mountains, the territorial brand. We imagine a crazy team to represent our territory hub of the biggest sport/ outdoor industry and the nature with the lake and the mountains. I will be to the Sprint Cannes 19th October to compete with Elise Marc (2 x world champion and 1 x European champion of paratriathlon). We are proud to launch para athletes in Series (Sprint). It’s a strong symbol from my open mindedness about the Sport and the sport spirit. Elise is looking forward to trying swimrun. 2020 will be maybe my comeback on the ÖtillÖ Series and for sure I’m planning one swimrun expedition in minor Asia or in Africa in autonomy to discover new place and people living over there. Autumn 2020 the comeback of UltraSwimrun Alps but like the first edition … One group one goal to succeed together.
Sound like you are busy. You start 20.00 the 13th September, do you have anything you want to say to the swimrunners reading this and who will be following you on this crazy-boy adventure?
Yes, I want to thank you all for supporting me and I also want to thank my sponsors for this challenge, the Ultra Sports Science Foundation which works to promote endurance sport, the research and to enhance the athlete health and also for an ecological vision with the Water Snow Ice Foundation that works to enhance of actions about the fresh water quality.
Thx for this JC and best of luck to you!