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Swimrun and unconventional race formats are drawing a crowd looking for their next adventure. Are you?
Got a bit of the “been there, done that” feeling about your typical race schedule? Throw in one of these multisport events to mix up your calendar, explore a foreign locale and develop a new skillset.
Stateside races with a curve ball
The American Triple-T is a three-day, four-triathlon event covering 140+ miles in Portsmouth, Ohio. Competitors start with a super-sprint on day one, complete two Olympic races on day two, and finish with a half-iron distance on day three. The 2014 champion had a combined time of 9 hours, 45 minutes. May 20–22, 2016; Americantriple-t.com
Survival of the Shawangunks is an eight-stage triathlon held in New Paltz, N.Y. With less than 150 slots, the online registration sells out in minutes. Racers start with a 30-mile bike ride that ends with a climb into the Shawangunk Mountains. At T1, racers change into running gear but also grab their cap and goggles for a series of runs and swims (while carrying run shoes) before concluding with a 0.7-mile uphill climb to the finish. The course record is 4:10:43. September 2016; Sostriathlon.com
Bring two bikes to the Inferno Triathlon in Switzerland and be one of 333 participants to race this classic. After swimming 3.1K across a lake, athletes cycle on the road for 97K before switching to a mountain bike for the next 30K. The final 25K run gains more than 2100 meters of elevation. It took 8:08:51 for the 2014 winner to complete the ascent. August 2016; Inferno.ch
The Enduroman Arch to Arc is a non-stop 300-mile journey from the London Marble Arch to the Paris Arc de Triomphe. It consists of an 87-mile run, a swim across the English Channel and ends with a 181-mile bike. Solo and relay participants have to be experienced ultra-distance athletes and submit proof of adequate training and preparation. Based on tidal charts for timing, Enduroman.com
All X Tri is the partnership formed by the organizers of “the most incredible triathlons on earth.” The three iron-distance races include Norseman (in Norway on Aug. 6, 2016), Celtman (in Scotland on June 25, 2016) and Swissman (in Switzerland on June 25, 2016). Each race course allows the local features (like terrain, weather and temperatures) to make the race unique, breathtaking and challenging. Allxtri.com
Simply crazy courses
Coast to Coast is an event on the South Island of New Zealand covering 243K from the Tasman Sea to the Pacific Ocean. Individuals or teams take one or two days to complete the six segments of off-road running, road cycling and kayaking. The 2015 race saw the first person finish in 11:27:46. Feb. 12–13, 2016; Coasttocoast.co.nz
The growing sport of swimrun is led by Ötillö which means “island to island” in Swedish. The championship event takes place over 26 islands in the archipelago off the coast of Stockholm. 120 teams of two athletes complete the 75K race by running across the islands and swimming the waterways in between. The course record is 8 hours, 16 minutes set in 2014. Sept. 5, 2016, Otillo.se
In the past two years, 39 competitors have started and 23 have finished the off-road full (iron) distance of Wilderman in Walhalla, N.D. Mosquitos, ticks, poison ivy and river crossings await the brave challengers. The top finishing time in 2015 was 20 hours, 57 minutes. Race organizers urge participants to “go into this baby with your eyes open.” July 2016; Endracing.com/wilderman
Although the swimrun trend hasn’t quite hit the U.S. market yet, wetsuit companies have taken notice and have created specific suits for racing them (mostly available only in Europe for now).
HUUB took its Archimedes wetsuit and made alterations to make it swim-run appropriate. Designers included a front zipper, two inner Velcro pockets and one large one for water or first aid, extra flexibility in the hip flexors and durable material on the inside of the upper leg muscles.
There are both front and back zippers on the Orca SwimRun suit to allow for easy breathability once on land, and a four-way stretch lining makes the suit flexible enough to transition to the run. Inner storage pockets allow room for a GPS and a durable butt panel protects against sliding down rocks.
A previous Ötillö winner helped design this suit, which comes with the option to cut it above the elbow. It has the essentials: inner pockets for storage, 5mm neoprene for upper- body buoyancy and a stretchy lining around the legs for flexible running.