This report has been written by Mr and Mrs B, a much liked husband and wife team who are part of team Envol Swimrun and have completed ÖTILLÖ, The Swimrun World Championship, Rockman Swimrun, EX Swimrun & many international races. They are wonderful ambassadors for the sport of swimrun!
For anyone looking to swimrun in Europe in late November we can wholeheartedly recommend Swimrun Hydra. Organised by Trimore who run Xterra Greece plus a range of other events and now in it’s 5th year and this is a quality event. You can read swimun.com’s profile of Swimrun Hydra, here.
The island location and travelling competitors including participants in the My SwimRun Championships and a large contingent of Envol Swimrun help create a brilliant atmosphere for the three distance formats: initiation (12.8km), core (23.4km) and advanced (38.7km).
Hydra island has no cars and in off season is an ideal playground for swimrun. With some serious hills, rocky hiking trials and old streets to traverse it has some challenging run sections while the coastal swims vary from ultra calm sheltered bays to more exposed seas.
The weather forecasts were many and varied in the run up to race day which challenged the feasibility of the longer courses creating a plan b and c by race evening. Unfortunately the weather didn’t play ball overnight and the organiser joked he was on plan z necessitating a looped format working around two swims. The start was delayed by two hours, new maps drawn up, markings altered. Everyone was issued with a safety buoy and tethers were compulsory. We were really impressed with how the organising team coped with the conditions.
The loops focused on the old town and laps of about 9k circled the town streets before heading to the North up the undulating coast road, descending into a sheltered bay with a 500m swim. Like many teams not used to wearing safety buoys throughout the race our transitions were slow as we fumbled with straps. I had shortened the waist tether too much and with a following wind it persistently hit a recovering arm in the swim so I adjusted that before walk jog walking our way up to the spine of island on a singletrack rocky path. Descending from the highest point was a quad hammering rapid run along a stepped and often stone paved donkey track into town and the harbour for some great music from the sound system and a wall jump into swim 2.
This was more challenging with some big waves to contend with as swimmers exited the harbour. Despite the difficult sea it was reassuring to have the water safety crew on hand and willing helpers to assist exit up the ladder as we carefully timed our lunge for the ladder. Exiting the washing machine pitched us into a gentle down hill into town alongside the harbour front bars with their enthusiastic encouragement and starting either another lap,( we did two for the core (sprint ) distance and the marathon swimrunners (doing 4 laps) or finish with every team taking the finish line tape.
Unsurprisingly, having never done this before, we were woeful at grabbing the tape and swiftly moved on to the medals, food and ouzo section of the finish chute
With many restaurants open but fewer customers off season it was easy to find a good spot relax and replenish with beers and food before the evening award ceremony in the museum.
Although we won a prize for our joint age being some way over 110 years, Team Mr and Mrs B weren’t putting UK swimrun on the map so we were delighted to see Weswimrun’s Mike and Paul on the podium with a 3rd in the marathon distance. Well done gentlemen.
Did I mention the great atmosphere? Afterwards many of us headed to a local bar with a DJ. Obviously what goes on tour stays on tour but let’s say I wasn’t feeling on top form for coming back to the mainland on Sunday when the ferry was cancelled due to the waves. Fortunately the organisers sorted out a local boat and a coach connection, but it was rough…
Check it out for 2024, this a quality calendar extending event that doesn’t clash with any others. We are sure you’ll love it!
Swimrun Hydra returns in 2024.