Experience Swimrun with A Sprint
L to R: Rob & Greg from operations, Rose from Ecommerce & Marketing, Anne from Marketing, Damian from Operations and Dale our International Sales Manager.
My name is Rose, and if you’ve received a newsletter from Vivobarefoot over the past year, it’ll have come from me. This summer, our team ‘behind the scenes’ at Vivo HQ were invited to take part in the OtillO Swimrun Sprint on the Isles of Scilly – and I jumped at the chance.
In total, 10 of us trained for the event and headed over to Scilly. During the lead up months, A band of Vivo runners could be spotted most days running along London’s Southbank, with ‘technique’ a hot topic of conversation. Once you start running barefoot, you can’t help but wince at the cumbersome, heavy-footed style of many a passing jogger.
The first Scilly team Swim - much colder than we were expecting!
Getting to the Isles of Scilly is no simple task. Having arrived in Penzance from London, we prepared to board the notorious Scillonian Ferry – Famous for its flat-bottomed hull making even the most hardened sea legs tremble. But we were in luck, and found ourselves gifted with an uncharacteristically calm sea.
Arriving on Scilly for the first time is a step beyond the imagination. The white sandy beaches and crystal clear waters resemble the approach to an archipelago of Caribbean Islands. But the towns and villages are British through and through, capturing the quintessential character of a seaside postcard. When you couple that with the Jurassic feel created by the island’s rich plant life, you’re left with a sense that this corner of the British Isles channels a World of its own.
The halfway point on St.Agnes Island... not a bad spectator spot
Saturday’s main Swimrun event is for the big dogs – both gruellingly tough and ruggedly spectacular. Consisting of 25% open water swims, this race is a dot-to-dot of Scilly’s islands, with swims leading you far from the embrace of bays that guard you from Atlantic waves and currents. This was not the race for the Vivo team, so we woke at 5 AM to give our wetsuits and Primus Swimrun Shoes a trial run in the deceptively cold waters, and spent the afternoon cheering competitors at their half-way point on St. Agnes Island.
Nothing wakes you quite like a 5am sunrise swim.
Sunday saw us waking from our tents ready for the Scilly Sprint, a 16km course designed to let newcomers to the sport enjoy the spirit of Swimrun without risk of never emerging from the first long swim. Nothing could have prepared us for the atmosphere and energy we experienced every step along the way. From buzzing alongside our fellow Swimrunners at the starting line and the abundance of beaming stewards along the route, to our new best friends the chasers (who’s job it was to follow behind the competitors in last place, officially closing the course) and the crowd waiting to cheer us at the finish line – every last person gave us bursts of energy and elation.
Though the course was a challenge for all of us, it was easily one of the most exhilarating and cherished experiences I’ve been lucky enough to collect – both during the race, and upon reflection. At every turn was a new, breath-taking view that released a fresh wave of awe and excitement. It’s just not possible to put into words how beautiful this race is. The scenery became an unexpected antidote to feeling the burn… and I think it was only when a handful of raisons at the halfway point seemed to be the most delicious thing ever to have touched our lips that we realised how much we were asking of our bodies.
Primus Swimrun, the official Swimrun Shoe. Designed in collaboration with Elite Athletes & Swimrun Founders Michael Lemmel and Matts Skott.
By the last few Km of the race, our thighs were starting to tremble and the swims were beginning to chill us through… but there was one thing that didn’t rise as a concern at any point of the race and that was our feet. The Primus Swimrun shoe absolutely aced the job. We’d all trained in barefoot running technique in preparation, so we knew we weren’t going to do ourselves any serious damage, yet it just seemed inconceivable that we could go that distance in wet shoes over rugged terrains and not be feeling it in our feet. But surprised we were – ‘my feet hurt’ simply wasn’t on our mind’s agenda. The shoes kept us safe over slippy rocks, they kept us upright over unstable ground, they didn’t drag us back as we swam from bay to bay (but did provide a cherished orange beacon towards our partner in the blue-darkness ahead!), and they wicked away water like there was no tomorrow once we were back on dry land.
As we lay in our tents pondering what had been achieved that day, I think a word of thanks to Vivo designers, Asher and Joel, and all the athletes who guided their design journey, genuinely crossed our minds. We’re the Vivo team – we were always going to compete in the shoes. But if they’d got it wrong, it very easily could have ruined the whole experience. When you’re competing in an event like Swimrun, you want as little as possible to distract you from absorbing the beauty that’s around you and connecting with the experience in all the positive ways possible. If you’re wearing the wrong shoes, and your feet are in pain… then every step becomes a reminder that something isn’t right, that you don’t want to keep moving forwards.
If entering the Swimrun Sprint is at all within your remit, I’d 100% recommend moving Land and Sea to get to one.
By Rose Davis, Ecommerce & Digital Marketing