The news about the Corona virus (AKA COVID-19) are hard to avoid at the moment. But surprisingly its consequences on swimrun has not (yet) made the front pages. What impact this virus may have for us, swimrunners?
The main concern may be linked to the equipment availability, and in particular wetsuits. Most, but not all, swimrun wetsuits are manufactured in a handful of factories in China. Suppliers and workers in the entire logistics networks in China’s, now face a wide range of unprecedented challenges due to the coronavirus containment.
Even though production is moving along at slow pace and it seems that the governments is aiming for a return to some sort of normality, operations face critical shortages of staff since major areas around China are still under lockdown or that local workers are afraid to leave their homes. Not to mention the supply line of materials into the factories.
Lingchi, also known as “a death by a thousand cuts,” has been used in China as a torture, but a modern version may be affecting the wetsuit production. We have yet to see the full extent of this challenge as the major organisers and producers are gearing up for the 2020 swimrun season.
What is to be expected is that the April-May seasonal launch of wetsuits (at least), may be delayed, and that swimrunners will be left to deal with the existing available 2019 options.
We can also expect the second hand market to grow and lucky people with either new wetsuit of more than one may try to take advantage of the demand of new swimrunners, or those who need a replacement for their old wetsuit.
No need to be afraid of items shipped from China as there is no evidence that the virus could survive and infect this way. However, the consequences on travels are hard to predict as this epidemic might turn pandemic in the near future. It is not a wild science-fiction speculation to imagine that some races, e.g. in North Italy, may have to be cancelled, like some recent sport events.
Clearly Swimrun is not the most essential part of the World’s Economy and Health, but it is likely that we will experience some consequences from this new virus. To be continued.
/The WoS Team