While millions of tourists swarm to Boston’s historic landmarks like Beacon Hill, the Paul Revere statue, Revolutionary landmarks like Faneuil Hall, the Boston Commons, very little is known about the mysterious islands that dot its harbor. This Saturday, Odyssey SwimRun offered an aerobic swimming and running tour of five islands with their own physical challenges and obscure and fascinating histories.
Photographs © Mark Simmons
Total: 15 total miles of swimming and running
Swimming: 3.5 miles (6600 yards) over 4 swims
Running: 10 miles over 5 runs
Run 1 - Peddocks Island - 3 miles
Swim 1 - Peddocks to Georges - 1800 yards
Run 2- Georges Island - 1 mile
Swim 2 - Georges to Lovells - 600 yards
Run 3 - Lovells Island – half mile
Swim 3 - Lovells to Long - 2500 yards
Run 4 - Long Island - 2.1 miles
Swim 4 - Long to Spectacle - 1200 yards
Run 5 - Spectacle Island - 3.1 miles
Team 1 if By Land 2 if By Sea - Michael Hoffman and Ross Hartley
Team Shark Bait - Emily Boerger and Heather Westerman
Mixed Team and overall winners
Team Brog - Greg and Bronwen Dierksen
Adam Homoki 3:21:07
Katherine Tobin 4:04:50
Next up for Odyssey SwimRun USA is their flagship event in the Casco Bay Islands outside of Portland, Maine on August 11, followed by Les Cheneaux Islands, Michigan on September 8, and Orcas Island, Washington on September 22..
Don't let the smiles from Team Shark Bait's Emily Boerger and Heather Westerman fool you. These athletes were tested physically and mentally throughout the course.
Once at Peddocks Island, athletes meandered off the ferry dock to the starting line. Peddocks Island was the setting for Martin Scorsese's 2008 movie Shutter Island.
Due to hot and humid temperatures on race day, many athletes opted to start the first run with their wetsuit top draped down.
The opening run on Peddocks included a mix of rough island roads, sandy beach, and single track trails weaving past Fort Andrews.
Swimmers faced extremely challenging currents on the first swim leg between Peddocks and Georges Islands which contributed to high attrition rate.
The first team across the Peddocks to Georges passage was Team Brog's Greg and Bronwen Dierksen. They used this early lead and steadily increased it throughout the day to secure the overall win.
Once on land on Georges, athletes ran around the perimeter of Fort Warren, before taking a series of stairs to get atop the fort.
The run on Georges was only a mile in distance but took racers onto the fort grounds, down spiral staircases, and offered some incredible views.
Entering the swim legs is not always an easy transition. Here Hugh Murray and David Loudem from HughT & The Blowfish chose to launch in off a rock before starting the 600 yard swim between Georges and Lovells.
Exiting the swim onto Lovells Island offered some easy footing. In the background is the wind turbine at Hull, Massachusetts.
After the longest swim of the day, a 2500 yard crossing between Lovells and Long islands, racers still had to get to shore after a difficult swim exit.
Once on shore at Long Island, which once had a bridge connecting it to the mainland and housed an addiction rehab center, is now abandoned with the exception of Camp Harbor View for under privileged youth.
SwimRun courses often offer great variety and here Dennis Lucey and Stu Olsen from Team Chum exit the trail portion on Long Island.
During the final 3.1 mile run leg on Spectacle Island, Team Canadian Beavers' David Claveau and Catherine Poudrier were treated with a view of the Boston skyline.
Spectacle Island provided a final gut check with a series of challenging uphills and downhills.
Team Orca's Marcus Barton is likely the most experienced SwimRun athlete in the US. This course was heavily catered to strong swimmers which left the fast-running Barton chasing after the leaders on this day.
For Dennis Lucey of Team Chum, the finish line was a welcome site. The previous day, Lucey had completed the Swim Across America relay swim event, a 22-mile excursion from downtown Boston out to the iconic Boston Light and back.
Happy overall winners following their hard-fought efforts out in the Boston Harbor islands.
Athletes boarded a passenger ferry from downtown Boston out to the start line on Peddocks Island.