The swimrun scene is expanding with a total of 521 registered races so far (2019-01). As more races are announced, so are also the cups, leagues or championships, a topic we have covered before. A recent addition to the available championships are the 2 new announced by Breca Swimrun.
We had a chat with Elise at Breca to find out more.
/The WoS Team
Hi Elise. New national championships, one in UK and one in New Zealand, tell us more about this.
Hi WoS. Yes, that’s right. The National Championships will be a single designated race each year, one in the UK and one in NZ, where participants will compete for the title of Breca National Champion.
Is it a global Breca Championship governed by the Breca ranking system?
Not quite. For now, both the National Championships and the National Rankings will be standalone in the UK or New Zealand respectively. The Rankings allow competitors of all levels to assess their progress across multiple events each year.
How will you tackle the challenge of moving the championships around given that not a single course is like the other and that one course might benefit some racers only?
We actually think this is part of the appeal! Each of our races presents a new set of challenges. By holding the National Championship at a different event each year, it gives competitors the chance to experience something new which they will have to prepare for accordingly. It will be about racing against who is there on the day, rather than against the clock.
How does the ranking system work? Is it uniform with e.g. 3-2-1 points for the winners in each class and distance, or do they vary according to race context?
The maximum amount of points available per race is 2,000 which will be awarded to the first finishing team in each category. The points available will then decline at a rate of 20 per minute for Sprint courses and 10 per minute for Full courses until a “points floor” of 400 is reached. All finishing teams will earn a minimum of 400 points. Extra points are available for competing in the National Championships where we expect the field to be stronger. More information about the points system can be found here.
How big is swimrun in UK and NZ?
Swimrun is an extremely fast growing sport, which is what makes it so exciting. We started with just 14 teams at the inaugural Breca event in 2015 whereas our newest event, Breca Bay of Islands (New Zealand), saw 130 teams racing in its first year.
If a rookie wanna do a Breca race, which one should they start with? Likewise, which one do you recommend for a seasoned swimrunner?
We would recommend the Sprint distance at any of our lake-based events (Breca Buttermere and Breca Coniston) as a good introduction for beginners, as you won’t be affected by tides or swells on the swim.
For the seasoned swimrunner, each race is unique and taking on the full distance in any will present its own challenges, depending on your own strengths (or weaknesses!). Breca Gower is set in a traditional surfing location, meaning a high chance of swells to contend with alongside the tidal causeway and difficult terrain. Breca Buttermere essentially sees you tackling a category AM fell race within a swimrun format. Breca Jersey is our longest race, featuring both extremely technical swim entrances and exits and a half marathon distance running section. Then there’s Breca Coniston taking place in October, meaning colder conditions to contend with whilst navigating the tough terrain of the Lake District. Over in New Zealand, there’s the choice of cold lake swims and mountainous terrain at Breca Wanaka or the choppy waters and challenging elevation of Breca Bay of Islands.
Where will we see the Breca series next?
We are super excited about the launch of the National Championships and our focus for 2019 is on developing that, growing the sport and bringing more elites to swimrun.
Do you compete in swimrun yourself?
I’m pretty new to the Breca team and haven’t had a chance to try out a swimrun yet, however I’m definitely hoping to try out a Breca event some time soon. I’m a keen runner but have mostly stuck to dry land so far! Breca Gower is probably top of my list – I ran around the coast of Wales a few years ago and would love to revisit the area for a new challenge. It’s such a great location.
Breca founder Ben is experienced swimrunner, having raced in Otillo races prior to founding Breca, and personally tests out all our courses.
Team vs Solo what is you’re opinion on that in this sport?
The team element is at the heart of swimrun for Breca. We want to create adventurous races in challenging environments. Having a teammate provides the extra level of safety which makes this possible. We have thought about adding a solo option to our series but it would have to be in a much more controlled environment, which we think would detract from the true Breca experience. Plus there’s something special about having a teammate to share in your successes, urge you on when times get tough and check up on you when you start to flag.
Great! Thanks for this and good luck with your upcoming races.
Thanks a lot! We are excited about our next race European race in Breca Gower in July and you can find a race report written by one of our participants here. Prior to that we have Breca Wanaka in NZ and there’s a race report for that one here. Incidentally, the latter includes a nice summary of the teams element from a participant’s point of view –
“Overall I think the best part of it all is what makes this young sport unique: the pairs team format. Individual multisport is such a solo pursuit — you get to celebrate your successes after a race but you never really get to share your hardships and failures alongside anyone else. Having gone through this hard, hurting race with such a strong and supportive teammate who in the end pulled me to the end is an experience that will stay with me for a long time. Thanks Dan mate, you are THE MAN!”