First timers guide to Swimrun kit

By definition, Swimrun is a competition which involves multiple-stages – swimming and running. Participants are expected to swim and run over a race course or a looped course, with at least two transitions between the swimming stage and the running stage.

Swimrun first originated in Sweden after two men, hotel owner Anders Malm and friend Janne Lindberg challenged one another to a competition after a late night in a bar with some other staff members. The two devised a competition that would decide who would be paying for an arranged hotel stay, dinner and drinks. They gathered two teams each the next morning and set off with the only rule being that each team had to pass the three different restaurants on the island, between the start and finish line. Whoever reached the finish line last, had to pay the winning teams share of the bill.

The competition took more than 24 hours to complete and all participants were too tired to engage in any partying activities. They attempted the challenge again, a year later, and had the same result. These two teams are referred to as the Original 4.

The two friends were asked in 2006 whether they would commercialise their challenge and turn it into a sport. More and more people began to compete in this now recognised competition but very few teams managed to reach the finish line during the proposed time limit. Because of this, it was realised that in order to compete in a timely manner, the aim of the race should be to not stop and keep consistently moving in between the swims and the runs.

The name ‘Swimrun’ was then given to the sport in 2011, by Erika Rosenbaum, one of the Swimrun World Championship podium finishers.

When competing in a Swimrun event, regulations state that you must wear a wetsuit, carry mandatory safety items as well as carry a flotation device that does not exceed 100x60.

The suggested gear list for first time Swimrun competitors is:

  • Wetsuit
  • Swim Goggles
  • Tow Float / Pull Buoy
  • Running Shoes / Swimming Fins
  • Safety Kit

Zone3’s Swim-Run Versa Wetsuit is the perfect wetsuit for any Swimrun newcomer, for the simple reason that it ensures you don’t have to waste valuable time changing from swim kit to running kit. This wetsuit has been designed for both aspects of the race, and even includes a zip, for lung expansion to help aid competitors during the run.

Discover more about the Versa Wetsuit 

Swim Goggles

Goggles’ main purpose is to avoid getting water in a swimmer’s eyes, and it’s important for swimmers to wear ones that they have used before and are used to. Zone3’s Vapour Swim Goggles are perfect for sunnier conditions and include anti-fog protection, with polarised lenses to minimise any sun glare. It’s recommended during a Swimrun event that competitors wear swim caps, to try and retain body heat, and if not provided with one by event organisers, it’s recommended that neoprene swim caps are worn, or two caps together. Neoprene caps insulate the head, and then two caps together help ensure the swim goggles don’t slip or come off.

Take a look at the wide range of Zone3 goggles 

Tow Float / Pull Boy

Swimrun rules state that use of a flotation device is allowed, so long as it does not exceed 100 x 60. Competitors have the option of wearing either shoes or slippers for the swim, so a pull buoy is great for those who decide on wearing shoes. This is due to the pull buoy being able to be used to save the swimmer’s legs for the run, whilst also putting their legs in a better position during the swim. Tow floats are beneficial because they’re light and can be used to store essential items such as safety kits, food and gels.

Running Shoes / Fins

If a competitor chooses to wear trainers for their swim, it’s essential that they’re comfortable and suitable for water use. The aim is to wear shoes that don’t soak up water, which will make them overly heavy. Competitors will need to make sure that they’ve worn their chosen shoes before, so as to prevent any blistering.

Fins may also be worn but it’s important for competitors to realise that this will affect their finishing time, due to having to change footwear during the transitions between the swim and run. If competing more for the challenge rather than a podium position, fins are better for giving extra power during the swim.

Take a look at the Zone3 V-Flex Ergo Fins

Safety Kit  

A safety kit is absolutely compulsory, and these mandatory items are essential for any competitor to carry with them:

  • Compass
  • Map
  • Whistle
  • First Aid Kit

It is also recommended that competitors bring a mobile phone in a waterproof bag, alongside some food.

The Swim Run Backpack is perfect for these sorts of events.

Written by Owain James & Rhian Martin