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Troll Enez Swimrun Race Preview: A Timeless Classic Set In A Beautiful Natural Harbour On The Atlantic Ocean

The Troll Enez Swimrun is fast becoming an iconic ‘bucket list’ swimrun race. Set in a massive natural harbour in southern Brittany, France and a short drive from the city of Nantes, Troll Enez is known for is staggering beauty along with 9km of testing sea swimming. Swimrun.com spoke with Laura and Joce to hear more about this epic race and the swimrun scene in France.

What is the swimrun community like in France?

The community is very active and growing by the day. There are more and more challenging, interesting and varied races thanks to the diversity of landscapes we have in France. From May to October, the avid swimrunner can find a race every weekend, ranging from swimruns along our Atlantic, Mediterranean or Channel coastlines, lake-based courses or races in and along rivers. And there are distances adapted for the beginner swimrunner through to the experienced athlete.

Any personal recommendations for the best equipment for a swimrun?

Our advice would be to choose a lightweight swimrun wetsuit and a base layer if swimming in colder regions. The fit of the wetsuit is really important, it needs to fit snugly enough so that no water leaks in but also allow for maximum flexibility. Several of us have been using Ark wetsuits for the past few years and are blown away by their performance and comfort. As for shoes, we prefer a lightweight trail shoe, such as Adidas Terrex that combine grip with pliancy and comfort. We use an Ark Keel+ pull buoy and Ark size S paddles, this is something we would advise is to not use oversize paddles.

What can participants expect at the Troll Enez?

A unique swimrun experience in one of the most beautiful bays in the world!

The race starts at dawn on the Sunday morning and leaves from the mainland in the sleepy costal village of Séné. After a few wake-up swims and runs the participants embark upon an incredible journey traversing the Golfe du Morbihan, swimming from island to island until they reach the largest island in the Golfe called “L’ile aux moines” or Monk’s island.  They will perform a full circuit of this island and then make their way back to Séné, crossing several islands again. Great attention is made when mapping the course to ensure the landscapes are varied and breathtaking. The participants will run along beaches, through woods, visit some cute, typical Breton villages and do a little rock climbing, always with the beautiful Morbihan sea in the background.

What is the atmosphere like?

For us, the atmosphere is just as important as the sporting challenge. There are many swimruns around France, but perhaps, what makes ours so unique is the attention we pay to making it fun and memorable. From the bib distribution the Saturday evening through to the after race paella/concert we aim to ensure our participants have the best time ever. The atmosphere is friendly and welcoming, we love to meet new swimrunners and to include them in our swimrun family.

What do you think is the most challenging part of the course is for athletes?

Without a doubt the swims are the most challenging part and for several reasons. Clearly their length is a  major factor, there are several swims that exceed 1300m but length alone does not make the swims so tough. The Golfe is well known for its strong and alternating currents, in addition, during the second part of the race the wind often picks up creating irregular and often chaotic wave patterns. This makes for a body of water that is tricky to navigate and requires strong swimmers with excellent open water technique.

What’s the highlight of this course?

That’s impossible to answer as there are so many! It could be the race departure at day break lit by flairs, the breathtaking views from the dolmen on Monk’s Island. Our incredible team of volunteers there to help, feed and encourage you throughout the race. And of course the after-race paella and beer for all!

Just how hard is the 49km course?

As I said before, the main difficulty lies in the swims, the runs are mostly flat over a variety of terrains but shouldn’t pose too much a difficulty to a seasoned trail runner. However the sheer variety of the terrains means that the competitors are frequently changing pace which clearly is more challenging than races where there are long spans of macadam. My advice to someone preparing the race would be to put in a few extra open water training sessions and clearly lengthen their sessions as the race is long.

Your top three tips for beginner swimrun participants?

  1. Find someone who knows the sport to take you out the first time and to show you some good beginner’s spots to swim in.
  2. Don’t be worried about “running with wet shoes”… I hear this all the time “how do you run with wet shoes?”…. it really is not a problem and you don’t even notice it after your first swim  – believe me.
  3. Start with short distances,  particularly the open water swimming, a regular pool swimmer is often surprised by the added difficulty of openwater swimming, such as visibility, waves, temperature, etc. so my advice would be to make those first swims short to get the feel for openwater swimming.

You can find out more about the Troll Enez 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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