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The Farmer Turned Swimrun Race Director: Meet David Trehane And The Studland Swimrun

Interview with Race Director, David Trehane who chats to swimrun.com about the first edition of the Studland Swimrun which comes to the UK on the 15th June 2024.

It’s 5am and my phone has just pinged, the sender reads David Trehane. David is off to bring in the blueberry harvest and the early hours of the morning is the only time his hands aren’t bleached blue to message about swimrun. The message reads ‘swimrun is coming home’, an intriguing message announcing his plans to bring the first swimrun to the south coast.

David has a glittering CV as a swimrun participant, with his partner Ben Hallam having completed some seriously hard races, the pick of which is perhaps the iconic Cote De Vermeille Swimrun Ultra (which is famed for its difficulty). He has been one of the driving forces behind the efforts to help unify the sport of swimrun in the UK, and we were really looking forward to having a chat with him.

David (left) and his partner Ben (right)

David, why Studland?

You could call it the opposite of a mid-life crisis! I discovered swimrun in my early 40s and loved my first event; swimrun is such a sociable sport but also allows you as an individual to push your own limits. Of course I’ve had plenty of dodgy moments, but that is part and parcel of an adventure sport right?

The south coast has been calling for a swimrun race and it’s an area I know well as a local resident and being involved with the surf lifesaving community. So here we are, a few months out from the first ever edition of the Studland Swimrun.

What will the Studland Swimrun be like?

Nestled on the south coast of the UK where towering white cliffs meet rugged coastal trails and a fine stretch of coastline lies the Studland Swimrun. The water temperature should be a very pleasant 17 degrees centigrade making it perfect for a swimrun adventure.

2024 will be the inaugural year of the Studland Swimrun, David describes it as ‘judgement day’. He is clearly an excitable character brimming with enthusiasm for the race. It is proving a popular course, with over 200 participants already signed up.

There are three course distances on offer:

Short / Intro Distance: 5 Runs (6.4km) & 4 Swims (2km). Total: 8.4km.

Middle Distance: 4 Runs (9.3km) & 3 Swims (1.8km). Total: 11.1km.

Long Distance: 7 Runs (18.6km) & 6 Swims (4.8km). Total: 23.4km.

What are some of the best bits of the course? 

Are we in the Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones? No we are in Studland Bay!

For all courses, the far reaching views you get onto Old Harry Rocks will be something to behold. The short course is lovely, you do a bit of running and do a bit of swimming and there are no major hills involved, perfect for a first swimrun. The turn point is Old Harry rocks which will give you a fantastic view. On the longer course, you are in for a treat. The world opens up before you as the reach the top of Ballard Down with the scenic coastal path your constant companion in this ever changing landscape.

David’s top 3 tips for a beginner? 

  1. Just do it. 
  2. Don’t think of the actual course distance, break it down into the individual legs. A 11.4km course is lot easier as 7 segments that you complete in turn.
  3. Don’t stress about kit and practice swimming in your trainers (it feels weird at first!)

Quick fire questions 

Favourite piece of swimrun kit?  Inov-8 Trailfly Shoes

Are you the Swim or the Run? I’m the run, the flat flat run.

Biggest barrier to swimrun growing? Ignoring the youth.

Dream celebrity partner? Gordon Ramsay 

You can find more about the Studland Swimrun here.

Fred Newton

Fred is the Editor and co-founder of swimrun.com. He has actively been involved with the sport of swimrun as an enthusiastic participant, race director, volunteer and journalist.

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