Swimrun mega enthusiasts Jude Palmer and Paul Mackenzie launched the South East Swimrun Series, a new race series in the South of England earlier this year. Both are seasoned swimrunners, thrill seekers and open water swimming coaches who want to help get new people into the sport while providing an exciting option for more experienced swimrunners. With their next race coming up on 2nd October, Jude shares with swimrun.com all about the latest edition to the swimrun UK circuit.
Why did you launch a new swimrun series?
Between us Paul and I have done lots of swimruns, most recently an attempt at The Frog Graham (that’s a whole other story !) and we both really enjoy getting people to take part on new challenges. There was a lack of swimruns in the south east and so it was a no brainer.
What is the grassroots swimrun scene like in the UK?
It is great and growing. I have always said that the UK needed to grow its own version of swimrun which fits with the different access to water and countryside we have in the UK and it is great to see that happening. Swimrun is about getting out and in nature and that applies to whether the course is 5km or 50km long. Having been around the swimrun scene for a while it has been fun supporting the likes of AKA Mustard and Madhatters to grow their grassroots swimrun.
Who is your series for?
Swimrun is for anyone who enjoys getting outside and challenging themselves. Our current swimrun course at Longside is 5km or 2km and so is great for those people new to swimrun and for seasoned competitors alike who want to push a course record.
How hard is it?
As hard as you want it to be. Want to race then go for it or want to enjoy the course at a more leisurely pace then that is all good. We want people to come back with a smile on their faces. The best thing about our event in June was that everyone hung around to see the last competitors come over the line and cheered. That is the swimrun community spirit.
Are there time cut-offs?
We have cutoff times as Longside Lake is also used by water-skiers and that and swimming do not mix. We have a 2km course for people who prefer not to have the pressure of the cut off.
What happens if I’ve had enough?
The great thing about Longside is that if you want to stop you can walk back to the start and tuck into tea and cake early! We also have marshals at each swim entry who make sure everyone is ok.
What kit do I need?
We really like people to have a wetsuit of sorts as not only do they keep you warm they protect you from brambles or less than smooth swim entries and exits. But if it is really hot we are happy for people to wear things like swim shorts and rash vests. Goggles and shoes are also a must. And if you are wearing shoes something like a pull buoy between the legs to make swimming easier.
Next race + next training event
The great news is that we are running a swimrun training session on Saturday 17th Sept where people can try out kit and practise. If you book the training and our next swimrun event on 2nd Oct you get a discount. For more information, contact Jude here.