Great Scottish Swim Run

posted 2 Sep 2016, 05:33 by Enquiries campbeltownrunningclub   [ updated 2 Sep 2016, 05:34 ]

By Ewan Smith

The inaugural Great Scottish Swim Run was one of those things I entered on the basis that it was something do-able. But standing at the start with Marjorie Leighton last Friday evening, it was safe to say the notion had gone off me. The bargain energy drinks from Evans were proving to have unfortunate side effects which didn’t help the nerves at all, at all.

I had done quite a bit of open water swimming during the summer so the preparation had been done and what could really go wrong? However, swimming on your own in the sea isn’t like swimming with dozens of other people in Loch Lomond. On the plus side, you won’t meet any hungry (or amorous) seals nor are you going to be stung by passing scowders but on the other hand it’s like swimming in lukewarm tea and when 150 people run down a slip and hit a narrow channel at the same time, it’s exactly like herring drying up in a net, with people pretty much swimming on top of one another.

A few minutes in and I was feeling lousy, furthermore my googles had steamed up (my stupidity) and I couldn’t get a regular stroke - so I decided to keep a bit to the right - to be on the edge of the melee. Only later would the penny drop that on an anticlockwise course that was mistake which Neil John would never have made. However, by half way round, I was swimming much better, felt I could go on all day and even started to pass a few people - but the damage was done. According to my garmin I swam 1300m on an 800m course which, even allowing for it being a bit out, is a fair difference.

As I came out the water, I heard my brother-in -law shout “24 minutes” which was a bit of a downer as I’d originally been hoping for much, much better. Marjorie was long gone (21.36) and her wet suit lying beside mine looked pretty dried out. Still there were plenty behind me so there was nothing else to do but get on with it. The blurb had mentioned the word “trail” so I wasn’t sure what to expect but pretty soon we were running along a pavement. Looming in front of me I saw the words “Run Jeck Run” on Marjorie’s t shirt and being pretty sure I was the only Jeck in the place I took it as a personal instruction and upped the pace. A long hill in Balloch Park brought me back to earth; I’m not good at pacing 5Ks, I wasn’t sure how long the hill went on for and to be honest I notice I’m still holding back a bit and not pushing myself as hard as I should.

Soon however, it was downhill all the way with the final K being the only one which wasn’t on tarmac and passing a few folk near the finish is always uplifting! The official run times included the transition, which I think something that could be looked at, and I wasn’t sure where the run properly started, however, my garmin gave a time of 22.28 for a distance of 5.1K

For anyone thinking about a slightly different challenge this is a good event; especially if you are a bit unsure about a full open water triathlon. For me the lessons include using a bit of intelligence in the swim; learning to sight; pushing myself to get some semblance of speed in the run and the long talked aboot sweeming lessons are finally booked for next Monday. Next year will be better.

And finally, hats off to Marjorie who was back early next morning doing the 2 mile swim in 1hr and 7 minutes.