Swimrun: the accessible adventure sport promoting green and blue health
We’re big fans of Swimrun here at Vivobarefoot. It’s the perfect way to reconnect with nature and is the ultimate team adventure. Based on passion, teamwork and closeness to nature, Swimrun is unparalleled in its ability to take you into wild and breathtakingly beautiful locations and allow you to feel in synergy with the great outdoors.
They made a drunken bet. The two pairs would race to Sandhamn, each having to visit a restaurant on every island en route. The losing team would pay for the hotel, drinks and food at the finishing line.
Given the race took over 24 hours, the finish-line drinks were limited. But these friends’ wild escapade would blossom into one of the fastest-growing adventure sports around.
Exploring the power of natural health
More important than the World Series, though, is swimrun’s founding spirit of camaraderie, fun and love for nature. The sport is rooted in a passion for exploring outdoor spaces with respect for nature and everybody in it, whether you’re an elite athlete or a casual nature lover.
Waves of research have affirmed nature’s healing powers. Nature boosts our immune systems. Water makes us happier. And if even looking at nature can change your brain waves, lower your heart rate, reduce your stress and improve your sleep, what might swimrunning in nature do?
Ready to embark on your own swimrun?
Best of all, swimrun is accessible to anybody who enjoys running (or walking) and swimming outdoors. Getting involved in the World Series is awesome, but using swimrun to explore your own patch is even cooler.
So if competing in events isn’t your thing, why not design your own swimrun? Mapping a route that mixes local woodland and trails with nearby river, lake or sea makes for a fine barefoot adventure. And you hardly need any kit …
- Goggles that are comfortable for long distances are important to help you keep an eye on your partner (if you have one) and your environment.
- A wetsuit may not be essential in warm climates [Ötillö recommend one for water under 22c], but will be a lifesaver in chilly waters. A swimrun-specific wetsuit will be best, but any wetsuit that feels comfortable and mobile will work.
- Because you’ll be swimming in your running shoes, footwear that drains easily and doesn’t mind getting wet is crucial. Grip and protection are also necessary for slippery terrain. Our Hydra ESC, for example - developed in collaboration with some of the world’s best swimrun athletes - streamlines your foot underwater and keeps debris out for long-distance comfort, all while retaining barefoot feeling.
Or maybe races are your thing?
In that case, you will need a few other bits:
- A swimming hat makes you more visible to the stewards (don’t worry, you can take it off while running!).
- A tow rope keeps you within the required 10m of your partner, and can even help the stronger swimmer ‘tug’ their partner.
- A pull buoy can give your legs a break while swimming.
- Optional hand paddles can help you swim faster, though they take some getting used to.
- And ÖTILLÖ requires you to bring a safety kit with a bandage in waterproof packaging, a compass and a whistle.
So, with spring in full swing and summer around the corner, what do you say?