The Hanging Rock State Park in North Carolina will be home to the newest SwimRun event in the USA, and it promises to be very tough and scenic. October 30th, 2016 will be the race day and that allows North American endurance athletes to enter this fresh and exciting new sport without having to travel to Northern Europe where SwimRun races are very popular and growing fast. The USA got its first ÖTILLÖ SwimRun inspired event with the Casco Bay SwimRun USA in Maine, and that race quickly sold out, but now with the SwimRun NC at Hanging Rock there is another option but not only for Americans and Canadians, but also folks from other countries. It is amazing actually how easy it is to travel to a race when you do not have to take a bike with you.
Teams of two compete in these SwimRun events and this North Carolina race will allow 120 teams to tackle very difficult 13 miles of running and 3 km of swimming spread out over 5 or 6 runs and 5 or 6 swims.
"We were not chasing numbers here or trying to force a distance on the land, the race distance was determined by what the land and the water gave us and I can promise you, this venue is spectacular, " said race director Jan Kriska, who has competed in ÖTILLÖ and the Loch Gu Loch SwimRun events and will do Rockman this summer. "Even the most seasoned competitors will get all they can handle here and it will be memorable for sure."
Of the 120 teams, 100 will be selected on merit and the other 20 teams via a lottery. Teams can be either all male, all female or mixed, and it is perfectly legal to use swim paddles, pull buoys and tethers, but all equipment a team starts with must be carried the whole distance. Team members are also required to never be more than 10 meters apart, and that is an important safety aspect. Furthermore, team members are not only encouraged to help each other but also should keep an eye and assist others too.
The elevation graph gives below you an idea that this event is not going to be a walk in the park, and it is not just the way up that is tough. Coming down from the mountain will require skills and confidence and both on the way up and the way down many creek crossings have to be tackled.
There are plenty of stunning views along the course but the focus will surely have to be on the footing and the path ahead. Here race directors Jan Kriska and Jeff Beckelhimer run below the lake thy have just exited a couple hundred yards earlier.
Some of the swimming is done in the Dan River, but most of the swimming takes place in the lake halfway up the mountain.
To reach the highest point of the course many steps of various depths and heights have to be tackled before a stunning view is finally revealed. The amount of steps was not confirmed, but all who have run up those steps can confirm that it is a very difficult activity.
Race director Jan Kriska and well experienced SwimRun athlete Marcus Barton get to enjoy the view during a recon run of the SwimRun NC course. But what goes up, must come down.
Athletes interested in competing in the 2016 SwimRun NC can register through UltraSignUp starting Thursday, June 23rd at 6am, but this is not about getting in fast. The organizers want only experienced squads with good trail running 70.3 racing experience. Initially the registration was meant to end on July 23rd, but was extended until August 10th. All proceeds from the race entry fees are also going to the Hanging Rock State Park.
For more information check out swimrunnc.com and the Twitter, Facebook and Instagram pages of the event also can be found via @SwimRunNC