Gaël’s l’Estran SwimRun

Authieman, June 27, 2021 

Race Reporters: Gaël 

27th of june 2021, venue, close to Berck.

3 format for this race, Authieman, 40k, la madelon, 24k, and l’Estran, 15k. One of the feature of this rave is you can swim in the sea, the lake and the river. This year, for covid reasons, both sanitary rules and consideration given to the little swim practice most peoples had over the last month, no swim in the sea, and in the river was with the current, not against.

Beck is a very nice typical northern beach place, endless beach, very nice for kites (many challenges take place there), char à voile, and of course very good beers, as you would expect from this part of the country. It’s 220k from Paris, quite achievable for a week end. And just few kms more beyond baie de Somme, a gorgeous area.

We went for the Estran. Swim run was the right name for this exercise today, not because we actually swam and run, but because it was equally wet outside and inside water, so the difference was more being horizontal or vertical in the water. Well, at least for the first half. No D+ for the run, made of small roads, nice path and few muddy sections, probably the most difficult of the lot. Water temp of the lakes was about 20/22, quite nice, and that’s where most of the swim took place. We only had about 600m in the river, temp was about 12°c, another world, at least for me. Luckily the current was with us, so I could concentrate more on not screaming because my hands were hurting like hell, than on actually swimming. And we managed not to hit any of the boats moored along the river. Good job.

We had the right gear, swim run suit, trail shoes, rope to be connected in the water. Francine used a front snorkel, so she only had to focus on moving the arms while I tried to maintain the right heading. I saw some competitors with full tri water suit, they suffered during the race, and some with only very light tops, I think they’re still looking for their balls (boys only of course), We of course both used a pullboy, and once again I used Cesar’s one. Over the years it became my favorite artefact. You know, that PB became a legend in the swimruns world, and many people are actually jealous. I heard that some even lobby to make it forbidden in races. Well, the fact is, it’s like a big engine between your legs when you swim, like weight is gone, no more friction, almost a flying experience. Ask him to lend it to you, you’ll understand why he is so fast in swimruns.

As usual the water exit could be tricky, very slippery, and the inner ears don’t not like much the transition cold water horizontal/running vertical (at least not for Elderlies like us).

The organization, given the sanitary constraints, was top notch. The only drawback was, as a consequence of the same, a lack of public. I cheered all the volunteers, as usual, they did a very good job.

What more to say. I love swimruns, because it’s a team work, and it’s just very fun. The atmosphere is even cooler than on tri races, very, very friendly, the short distance is quite achievable (12k run 3k swim). Authieman, in its normal format, is a great experience swim wise by the variety it offers (I’m not dashed by the org).