1 loch, 10 islands, 1 mountain… and a whole lot of love.
For the 2nd year the weather was kind and the water and islands of Britain’s biggest body of water have been conquered, this time by a much larger amount of SwimRunners.
The evening before race day torrential rain fell from the thick dark clouds. From Race HQ in Luss athletes struggled to see across to the islands they would be swimming to. Thankfully the following morning was exactly as forecast – scattered cloud, no rain and best of all, no wind. Perfect weather for running 24km in your wetsuit and swimming 8km with your trainers on.
Just after 8am the 63 teams competing in the 2016 Swim Run UK Championship started their first run from Burnfoot Jetty, through thick forest undergrowth, along the Western shore of Loch Lomond to the Mouth of the River Fruin and the first of the 10 swims, to Inchmurrin.
Winning a bottle of whisky, Crawford Whyte and Peter Anderson of Team 25 – Loch Rock and 2 Smoking Backsides were first to make it to the Sprint point at the far end of Inchmurrin island following 1.5km swim and 3km running. Crawford finished in 2nd place last year with coaching colleague John Dargie, but circumstances dictated that this year he race with the younger Peter who had done very very little running or swimming in the previous 6 months, relying on his bike fitness to get him through.
Whisky won, job done… for now, because there was another bottle to be won at the top of Conic Hill and last year’s winner David Ogg, joined this year by Scotland’s most experienced SwimRunner and Loch Gu Loch almost winner Stuart Mcleod, were hot on their heels in 3rd place with unknowns Jason Parrish and Hauker Heimisson sandwiched in the middle. These 6 would battle it out all day with only 1 second separating 2nd and 3rd place at the finish line.
Swim 2 to Inchcailloch is the longest swim of the day at 2.8km. The Inch By Inch course is front loaded with the long swims and 3 high climbs. The highest part of the day, and the longest run, is back on the mainland after swim 3 Conic Hill. It’s here that the gaps in the field really begin to open up with pink bibs littered up and down the mountain. At the top the leaders were now 4 minutes ahead. By the time they got back to the bottom some athletes were only just beginning their climb. Another bottle of whisky claimed… but would they keep it?
Not far behind the lead 3 a battle royal was beginning between teams from Aberdeenshire, Stirling and Hamburg, Germany. The Stirling team featuring Craig Coull and Gillian Stokes being the lead mixed team.
What I have noticed this year is the different attitude from the female athletes in the Female teams and the Mixed teams. At the Race Briefing the night before there was a very definite eyeing up and down of the Female competition by Penny Rother and Barbara Sweeney. Both raced last year, but returned with different partners. Penny’s team won last year because Barbara’s team (who were leading) got a wee bit lost near the end. Revenge was in Barbara’s eyes, she’s been training hard and with her former partner she finished 3rd in Snowdonia. But at the briefing both showed most concern about Gillian, who has a rather good palmares being first out of the water at the 2014 British Middle Distance Triathlon Champs, until they realised she was in a Mixed Team and wouldn’t be stealing the whisky from either of them.
Two and a half minutes separated the two rivals at the top of the hill, this gradually increasing to 21 minutes by the time they got to Swim 7 for Inchmoan, meaning this year Penny had no right to moan about Barbara and Elise’s crushing victory.
But would Gillian and team mate Craig Coull be getting the Mixed Team whisky at all? Not if Shielhope Swimmers Andrew and Nicola Duggan had anything to say about it as they exited Swim 2 in an impressive 8th place overall, only 9 minutes behind the male leaders and almost 5 minutes ahead of 2nd placed Mixed team The Irish Duo, who were 1 minute ahead of the Stirling pair.
With an event route so complex, knowing the course can gain you ground and save you minutes – and in the case of Stuart Macleod and Chris Stirling last year at Loch Gu Loch it meant you don’t get lost and completely miss the final swim. Jason and Hauker were by far the stronger of the two teams chasing the leaders. In every swim they pulled away, only to be clawed back by Gandalf and Gollum’s superior local knowledge and path finding going round the smaller islands of the final 1/3 of the course.
Knowledge is something The Irish Duo knew would help them get a Mixed Race podium place. Keen to know more about SwimRun and proclaim that Ireland would be victorious, they walked 500 miles to marshal at Snowdonia (ok the drove). Whilst there they picked up lots of tips. Maeve by far had the fastest transition technique of the day at Inchmurrin, unlike her partner Cathal who faffed and faffed removing his trainers for the swim and struggled to get them into his swim bag. Although new to the sport Maeve showed several more experienced racers a clean pair of heels. The Fusion athlete got 2nd place earlier in the year at Loch Lo Man Standard triathlon. The Irish lass must like this loch as she and Cathal held onto 2nd place getting her another podium ceremony on the shores of Loch Lomond.
But who would be winning the Mixed Team race? By Swim 7 it was obvious as it was Gillian and Craig who had a 13 minute lead ahead of the Irish, over hauling both them and the Duggans who finished almost half an hour behind in 3rd place
With the rest of the field spreading out, by Swim 6 to Inchtavannach there was less than 90 seconds separating the 2nd and 3rd placed Male teams. Macleod and Ogg are both used to much longer events and have the endurance to cope, but what of their dark horse rivals?
Cheating happened next!
God bless Strava Flyby http://labs.strava.com/flyby/viewer/#701099469?c=gcuxnfjb&z=D&t=1Np2lB&a=ze3JKae2wClVaL0pmSPBKWqNwin5OdIpnHTDKYLJwimq7tIpX83aKRULvyk6ar8pRu2_KWhxwil_5MopgOm_KT4GwClzI8kpRr28KVUdvykLasopPVHEKV3HwSmoz8EpfHLLKT3jwSnjotUpN8DFKa8j5ynOa8Ep&s=84
Despite the briefing telling them to run to the sign at the far end of the North Inchmoan beach before swimming to Inchconnachan, the first 3 teams took a short cut. Thankfully the marshals spotted this and sent a kayaker to stop the rest. Respect to 4th place team Endless Summer II for taking the initiative and correcting themselves first meaning they would finish a further 3 or 4 minutes behind the leaders time.
Again at Swim 10, despite the marshals shouting loudly at them, the front 3 took a slightly shorter route into the boat club.
Whilst 30 minutes separated 1st and 3rd place in the Mixed Race, 30 minutes separated the winning time from last year and this year. That’s a roughly 10% improvement. Weather conditions were almost identical to last year, except a little cooler. So why such a big chop? Was it the 2 short cuts? No, possible 3 or 4 minutes saved there. Most likely it was simply a full year of getting to grips with the format and having the experience on the course last year that help Crawford guide his young team mate round the rugged course.
Likewise that knowledge helped reigning Swim Run UK Champion David Ogg of Gandalf and Gollum continually claw back time on Fulon Flyers who with a 40m lead lead with 150m to go were unaware of just how close to the finish they were and allowed their precious lead to dwindle as the auld timers sprinted to the line. Watching the Fulon boys take the wrong line into the finish area, G&G finished in 3rd place just 1 second behind the invaders from England.
Alongside the Championship race was a smaller Short Course event that featured the final 1/3 of the main route, but started with a killer 1.5km leg breaking climb.
SwimRun Loch Lomond Inch By Inch may be shorter than other Scottish SR courses, it might not be a qualifier for the “world championships”, but it is by far the most exciting and challenging SwimRun course in the British Isles if not Europe, it has the most diverse terrain, gorgeous whisky and even wallabies… Oh and being less than 30 minutes from Glasgow’s City Centre it’s bloody easy to get to, CHEAP AND MOST FUN!
Finally… Massive thanks to Morag Scott and family of Inchmurrin, and the team at Luss Estates for all their support and encouragement allowing us to race over their wonderful islands.
Full results below.
|overall||Place||Gender||Distance||Bib||Name||Time||Start||Finish||Forename||Surname||team member 2|
|1||1||Male||long||25||Loch Rock and 2 Smoking Backsides’||4:56:07.9||0:00.0||4:56:07.9||Peter||Anderson||‘Crawford Whyte’|
|2||2||Male||long||24||‘Fulon Flyers’||5:03:07.5||0:00.0||5:03:07.5||Jason||Parrish||‘Hauker Heimisson’|
|3||3||Male||long||54||Gandalf and Gollum’||5:03:8.7||0:00.0||5:03:08.7||Stuart||Macleod||‘David Ogg’|
|4||4||Male||long||20||‘Endless Summer ll’||5:14:48.2||0:00.0||5:14:48.3||Ryan||Watt||‘George Noble’|
|5||1||Mixed||long||66||‘STIRLING TRIATHLON’||5:17:41.2||0:00.0||5:17:41.3||GILLIAN||STOKES||‘CRAIG COULL’|
|6||5||Male||long||34||‘Phyllobates Hamburg’||5:32:18.1||0:00.0||5:32:18.1||Vincent||Gabalda||Jenson Abernetty|
|7||2||Mixed||long||70||‘The Irish Duo’||5:36:28.4||0:00.0||5:36:28.4||Maeve||Maher-McWilliams||‘Cathal Reilly’|
|8||6||Male||long||27||‘Glasgow Nomads’||5:40:43.6||0:00.0||5:40:43.6||Chris||Gorman||‘Colin Dupre’|
|9||3||Mixed||long||65||‘Shielhope Swimmers’||5:44:34.2||0:00.0||5:44:34.2||Andrew||Duggan||‘Nicola Duggan’|
|10||4||Mixed||long||62||‘Norfolk and Chance’||5:44:46.5||0:00.0||5:44:46.5||Craig||Wallet||‘Catherine Murray’|
|11||7||Male||long||33||‘Old Knutty Boys’||5:53:23.5||0:00.0||5:53:23.5||peter||openshaw||‘Andy Dines’|
|12||5||Mixed||long||59||‘Durham Wetters’||5:53:34.2||0:00.0||5:53:34.2||Andrew||Scott||‘Lauren Munro-Bennett’|
|13||8||Male||long||14||‘Baku Buddies’||5:55:29.5||0:00.0||5:55:29.5||Kenneth||Duffy||‘Callum Duffy’|
|14||9||Male||long||31||‘Maximillian Smashfest’||5:57:39.8||0:00.0||5:57:39.8||Richard||Lees||‘Graeme Neagle’|
|15||10||Male||long||43||‘Swimrunning…. Err you what?!’||6:00:24.3||0:00.0||6:00:24.3||Tom||Raftery||‘James utting’|
|16||6||Mixed||long||67||Team Justice For Gingers’||6:01:31.6||0:00.0||6:01:31.6||Gerard||McConville||‘Emma Lamont’|
|17||11||Male||long||41||‘Swim Forrest Run’||6:08:28.9||0:00.0||6:08:28.9||Andrew||Peakman||‘Peter Mason’|
|18||12||Male||long||42||‘Swim Run na Gàidhealtachd’||7:38:00.5||0:00.0||6:08:37.5||Calum||Maclean||‘Angus Murray’|
|19||13||Male||long||44||‘Tartan Spartans’||6:08:38.4||0:00.0||6:08:38.4||Stephen||Pratt||‘Alan Cardwell’|
|20||1||Female||long||11||‘Twa Bridies’||6:10:03.7||0:00.0||6:10:03.7||Barbara||Sweeney||‘Elise Methven’|
|21||14||Male||long||26||‘Gael T Canuck’||6:15:57.5||0:00.0||6:15:57.6||Pete||Wightman||‘Conor McErlean’|
|23||16||Male||long||19||‘Double A’||6:19:26.7||0:00.0||6:19:26.7||Alasdair||Hood||‘Andrew Hood’|
|24||7||Mixed||long||5||‘DARK PEAK LADY BOYS’||6:19:44.0||0:00.0||6:19:44.0||Sarah||Broadhurst||‘Rob davison’|
|25||8||Mixed||long||18||‘Dark peak’||6:19:44.0||0:00.0||6:19:44.0||Matt||Rigby||‘Penny Collier’|
|26||18||Male||long||37||‘Sharky & George’||6:20:40.8||0:00.0||6:20:40.8||Peter||Rowe||‘George Blessley’|
|27||19||Male||long||39||‘Something Funny’||6:21:48.8||0:00.0||6:21:48.8||David||Duffy||‘David McKenzie’|
|28||20||Male||long||45||‘Team Atlantis’||6:21:52.3||0:00.0||6:21:52.3||Kevin||Stokes||‘Dave Garrett’|
|29||9||Mixed||long||57||‘Cartball Crew’||6:22:57.8||0:00.0||6:22:57.9||Lea||Ball||‘Leyla Cartwright’|
|31||21||Male||long||40||‘Spanish Matalascañas’||6:31:22.7||0:00.0||6:31:22.7||Miguel||Mudarra||‘Jose Segura’|
|32||22||Male||long||12||QUENTIN TARTANTINO APPRECIATION SOCIETY’||6:32:41.9||0:00.0||6:32:41.9||Jon||Ostravious|
|33||10||Mixed||long||61||‘long distance is the wrong distance’||6:35:26.6||0:00.0||6:35:26.6||Deborah||Gunning||‘Craig Stark’|
|34||23||Male||long||51||‘Wet Bandits’||6:35:32.5||0:00.0||6:35:32.5||Greig||Farmer||‘Steven McEwan’|
|35||24||Male||long||15||‘Bob Marley on Toast’||6:37:24.1||0:00.0||6:37:24.1||Gavin||Robottom||‘Mark Metcalfe’|
|37||Mixed||long||71||‘Tri Swim Coaching’||6:43:59.3||0:00.0||6:43:59.3||Annie||Oberlin-Harris||‘Ali Hollest’|
|38||Male||long||13||‘B2P last but not least’||6:45:15.7||0:00.0||6:45:15.7||Jason||Barrett||‘Tom wright’|
|39||Female||long||6||‘In for a Penny…’||6:46:27.5||0:00.0||6:46:27.5||Angela||McPartlane||‘suzanne pratt’|
|40||Mixed||long||68||‘Team Mac’||6:46:47.4||0:00.0||6:46:47.4||Claire||McPhee||‘Neil McPhee’|
|41||Female||long||4||‘Bell’s Belles’||6:48:54.9||0:00.0||6:48:54.9||Megan||Davey||‘Vicky Macrae’|
|42||Male||long||32||‘New Kids On The Loch’||6:50:47.7||0:00.0||6:50:47.8||Aaron||McDougall||‘Erik Babcock’|
|43||Male||long||17||‘Crane Men’||6:58:27.9||0:00.0||6:58:27.9||Alexander||Mcculloch||‘Richie Tannock’|
|44||Male||long||23||‘Fossil Fuel’||7:02:08.9||0:00.0||7:02:08.9||Mark||Twelftree||‘Paul Naughton’|
|46||Male||long||49||‘The Wooden Spoons’||7:03:13.5||0:00.0||7:03:13.5||Paul||Millar||‘David McConville’|
|47||Male||long||30||‘Lincoln Tri’||7:05:18.0||0:00.0||7:05:18.0||Mark||Speed||‘Andy Johnson’|
|48||Male||long||48||‘The Vital Sparks’||7:05:56.1||0:00.0||7:05:56.1||Scott||Samuel||‘James Barfoot’|
|49||Male||long||46||‘Team Bower’||7:05:56.3||0:00.0||7:05:56.3||Kris||Davidson||‘Cedric Grosjean’|
|51||Male||long||21||‘Eynsham A Team’||7:11:26.0||0:00.0||7:11:26.0||Mark||Schofield||‘Nick Maynard’|
|52||Male||long||29||‘Huff and puff’||7:12:31.7||0:00.0||7:12:31.7||Nick||Wyndham||‘Marcus barrick’|
|53||Mixed||long||56||‘BofA’||7:13:12.6||0:00.0||7:13:12.6||David||Richards||‘Ester Coma Ramos’|
|54||Mixed||long||60||‘Fa-Can-El that was fast’||7:20:33.3||0:00.0||7:20:33.4||Christine||Catterson||‘Paul Wallace’|
|55||Mixed||long||55||‘Anna et Al’||7:21:12.7||0:00.0||7:21:12.7||al||stanton||‘Anna White’|
|56||Female||long||3||‘Because we can……!’||7:26:38.0||0:00.0||7:26:38.0||julie||Tanner||‘Sarah Hyde’|
|57||Male||long||36||‘Reverse Alphas’||7:29:41.4||0:00.0||7:29:41.4||Richard||McLaughlin||‘Iain Chirnside’|
|58||Female||long||10||‘Team 40+’||7:31:56.3||0:00.0||7:31:56.3||Victoria||Lea||‘Jenny Ruscoe’|
|59 Conic Hill Cut Off||Male||long||52||‘What could possibly go wrong?’||6:18:39.4||0:00.0||nc 6:18:39.4||Jonathan||Bridges||‘Kenny Elder’|
|60 Conic Hill Cut Off||Female||long||7||‘Porty Ladies second team’||6:22:10.5||0:00.0||nc 6:22:10.5||Oonagh||O’Brien||‘Joanne Campbell’|
|61 Conic Hill Cut Off||Mixed||long||58||‘Do Fings!’||6:58:53.6||0:00.0||nc 6:58:53.6||Amanda||Randall||‘John Edwards’|
|62 Conic Hill Cut Off||Male||long||38||‘Solihull Triathlon Club’||7:15:31.9||0:00.0||nc 7:15:31.9||Neil||Bowler||‘Gareth David’|
|Male||long||16||‘Bri Tri Originals’||DNS||Matt||Honey||‘Graeme Cox’|
|Male||long||22||‘Fife amphibians’||DNS||hamish||stephen||‘charles anderson’|
|Male||long||47||‘The Acorns’||DNS||Sean||Walsh||‘Tristan handley’|
|Male||long||50||‘Wave warriors’||DNS||Markus||Pressdee||‘Pete Crabb’|
|Male||long||53||‘Yassink or Swim’||DNS||Calum||Sweeney||‘Omar Yassin’|
|Mixed||long||63||‘Redcaps #1’||DNS||Mike||Jordan||‘Dawn Charles’|
|Mixed||long||69||‘The Blonde and the Beard’||DNS||Henry||Bremridge||‘Georgina Smee’|
|overall||Place||Gender||Distance||Bib||Name||Time||Start||Finish||Forename||Surname||team member 2|
|2||1||113||Male||short||‘Big Test icicles’||2:08:25.7||4:22:33.4||6:30:59.0||Callum||Anderson||‘Iain Sutherland’|
|3||2||111||Male||short||‘Paul and Alan’||2:09:10.8||4:22:33.4||6:31:44.2||Alan||Mackie||‘Paul Galllacher’|
|4||2||117||Mixed||short||‘Big Mountain’||2:09:28.4||4:22:33.4||6:32:01.8||Ingrid||Machell||‘Alex Spencer’|
|7||4||116||Mixed||short||‘Monifeith Marauders’||2:27:42.4||4:22:33.4||6:50:15.8||Adam||Wilson||‘Julie Wilson’|
|8||2||106||Female||short||‘The Sisters’||2:34:36.7||4:22:33.4||6:57:10.1||Juliet||Loudon||‘Laurel Brodie’|
|10||4||103||Female||short||‘Your Pace or Mine?’||2:44:30.8||4:22:33.4||7:07:04.2||Mary||Riffkin||‘Sarah Bryson’|
|11||5||105||Female||short||‘Water babes’||2:57:17.3||4:22:33.4||7:19:50.7||Fiona||Grove||‘Ali Mosedale’|
|13||7||107||Female||short||‘Fleet Feet Foxes’||3:07:46.1||4:22:33.4||7:30:19.5||Rozanne||Boynton||‘Jennifer Cain’|
|15||5||119||Mixed||short||‘The Blind leading the blind’||3:26:42.0||4:22:33.4||7:49:15.4||Alasdair||Crawford||‘Aileen O’Donnell’|
|16||9||101||Female||short||‘Susan and Lesley’||4:03:58.9||4:22:33.4||8:26:32.2||Lesley||McLuskey||‘Susan Gallacher’|
|17||3||112||Male||short||‘The Gin Widowers’||4:16:10.8||4:22:33.4||8:38:44.2||Stuart||Fair||‘Neil Jeffrey’|
|19||104||Female||short||‘Happy Feet’||DNS||lynne||naylor||‘Louise Todd’|
|20||114||Male||short||‘Chundernauts’||DNS||Joris||Van der Horst||‘James Overell’|
|21||115||Mixed||short||‘Water Rats’||DNS||Brett||Welch||‘Kathryn Welch’|