Swimrun in Belgium was established in 2015 and Race Director, Kevin Heeren has been organising races since 2017. Kevin organises the EcoSwimRun Belgium race series which currently has two events.
Belgium isn’t just the place of fine chocolates, waffles and pretty architecture. Contrary to popular belief, Belgium is not a flat country, Kevin invites you to come and experienced some of the challenging climbs and pristine countryside in the eastern part of the country.
What is the swimrun community like in Belgium?
It’s hard to say exactly how big the community is, word of mouth is the main driver of growth ‘we will come back with our friends’ is said a lot and they do. What is certain is that the community is growing every year and new swimruns will be created in 2023 and beyond.
About the EcoSwimRun race series
EcoSwimRun currently hosts two races, the Dam Gileppe and Lake of Robertville. Belgium has a plethora of lakes, 4 of them are quite close to each other in the beautiful Hautes Fagnes region.
This proximity has already allowed EcoSwimRun to link two lakes for long distances. One day, EcoSwimRun plans to organise an ultra-swimrun, linking the 4 lakes. The lakes are surrounded by forests with plenty of trails.
The organisers don’t change their courses every year but every two years as it requires significant preparation. Courses have to be created, tested and check if it’s accessible for the safety teams and the refreshment stands, there is plenty which goes on!
What is the atmosphere like at your races?
It is very good, Kevin always welcomes each athlete at the finish line and see athletes smiling and happy with their swimrun experience. They enjoy the courses, the landscapes and the organisation. EcoSwimRun are lucky to be able to organise swimruns in such beautiful locations and are indebted to the local authorities and the nature and forestry department who maintain these places and permit the swimruns to go ahead.
EcoSwimRun of Gileppe Dam race report
The EcoSwimRun of Gileppe Dam went ahead earlier this summer in July. The feedback from from participants was electric…’beautiful, great, it was awesome’.The swimrun weather gods were certainly smiling with perfect conditions, the water at 23° and a very pleasant outside temperature with sunshine.
But be under no illusions, the course it is also very hard. The ascent of the dam wall is also our nasty little surprise at the end of the race, some people laugh about it but others hate us for a few minutes. The water levels in the lake were lower than normal which made some of the transitions difficult.
One of the highlights, was seeing a women’s team win the scratch race on the 19km middle distance. Kevin had been waiting to see that for years. It proves that swimrun is reshuffling the cards between the men’s and women’s teams and that’s a very good thing. Kevin hopes to see this again very soon, maybe at the end of the month at the Belgian championship!
EcoSwimRun Lake of Robertville
EcoSwimRun Lake of Robertville is returning on Saturday 27th August. There are two real crux points on the course:
The first is the passage by the castle of Reinhardstein with a lung-busting climb over 1km. It has to be done twice for the long distance.
The second are the swim sections 3,4 and 5 in close succession. The participants will have to swim 1km in three stages with only 265m of running. It is hard and fast.
Plans for the future?
To set up a 3rd Swimrun in the Hautes Fagnes region and to help other organisers to create their owns swimruns in Belgium. From spring 2023, Kevin plans to organise regular training sessions in the lake and to continue to develop this magnificent sport! The future is bright for swimrun in our small country and Kevin is delighted with how the sport has grown.
Learn more about the EcoSwimRun race series here.