The 2019 SwimRun NC was delayed by 30 minutes because of pending thunderstorms, but the sun came out and participants were treated to a challenging and memorable adventure. 104 teams of two from all over North America and Europe started this 4th edition of the event, and tackled 16 miles of technical trail running, navigated and climbed through 2 waterfalls, and swam 2 miles - split up into 10 runs and 9 swims. About a third of the field was new to the sport, and some fresh talent emerged in this ÖtillÖ merit event.
With the sun out for most of the race, the temperatures rose and spirits were high. Australians Leyla Porteous and Joanna Norman jumped in unison across a section in the Cascade Falls, on the way to 10th place in the female division.
Justin Arnosky and Doug MacLean are seasoned endurance athletes but this was their first SwimRun experience. Word has it that they will make a few adjustments and enter the Ödyssey Casco Bay SwimRun next year.
Heather Ichord replaced her original SwimRun partner with Lexi Axelrod late in the game, and they appeared to match up well.
Erik Limkemann brought EMJ athlete Jason Ramdeen to the sport and they finished in third place in the male division. Limkemann raced in NC in 2018 and finished 3rd, but the competition was fierce this year.
Defending champions Caleb Baity and Marcus Barton were under pressure early on from Christopher Douglas and Kyle Boykin and the female team Holly Benner and Robin Pomeroy. But in the end they managed pull way for a 3rd win in a row at this event.
The Boston Wet Socks team Gregory Dierksen and Bronwen Price-Dierksen were favorites for the mixed team title and also for an overall position. They got their socks wet early in the race, won the mixed team title, and finished 3rd overall.
Canadians Art Chasovskykh and José LoMonaco traveled far to race in NC, but they enjoyed the experience and said they will be back again. Here they tackled the Indian Creek ascent just before the famed Window Falls section.
A sea of blue female bibs approaches the upper section of Window Falls. A safety rope is in place for anyone not completely confident with rough mountainous terrain.
Hanging Rock State Park was in full fall colors. The water temperature of 62 degrees was likely appreciated, as air temps rose to 80 degrees.
Amy Wheatley and Marcus Carson, 2017 Mixed Team champions and 2018 runner-up team. Their bib number was 2, as mixed teams had the honor of the lowest bib numbers this year.
Bronwen Price-Dierksen and husband Gregory Dierksen put on quite a show en route to the mixed team title, with especially strong performances in the water.
Swim course volunteer Rob Livengood dresses up each year in costume.
After a 500 meter swim, athletes run on a trail along the bank of the lake before diving back into the water for another short swim. NJ natives Scott Sobkowicz and Paul Zakhour in action.
Athletes had to overcome many obstacles during the race, including Norwegian photographer Kai-Otto Melau.
Every Man Jack athletes James DeFilippi and David Weeks approaching Cascade Falls late in the race.
Higher up in Cascade Falls, Derek Tingle and Jennifer Gerard from TN are focused on the task at hand, and followed closely by a Swedish female team.
Sarah Horton and Lesly Jurado about to tackle a waterfall-climbing puzzle.
And another team already on top.
Peter Skutnik and Paul Welchans, also NJ natives, in the Dan River early on under a massive rock formation.
Depending on water levels in the river, some sections can be tackled on foot, but it is usually best to swim. Jennifer Smith and Terri Bosnick are close to the end of the swim and the end of the race.
2019 SwimRun NC Results
Hanging Rock State Park, NC
1. Gregory Dierksen and Bronwen Price- Dierksen (Boston Wet Socks) 3:40:41 $800
2. Pippin Robison and Tanner Gage (GOATs) 3:53:19 $500
3. Shannon Florea and Jonathan Feddock (Mongolian Death Worms) 3:56:36 $300
4. Amy Wheatley and Marcus Carson (Team MACK Attack) 3:56:42
5. Liz Baugher and Jacob Gilden (LBandJG) 3:57:30
1. Marcus Barton and Caleb Baity (Team Orca/GU Crew) 3:13:39 $800
2. Christopher Douglas and Kyle Boykin (Dude where's my bike?) 3:20:45 $500
3. Eric Limkemann and Jason Ramdeen (Lots Of Excuses) 3:43:15 $300
4. Jonathon Story and Tim Ferguson (It be me me me and Timothy) 3:54:22
5. Kawika Tarayao and Blake Nuttall (Baywatch) 3:59:53
1. Holly Benner and Robin Pomeroy (Team Amphibilicious) 3:44:09 $800
2. Jennifer Devers and Bridget Philips (Third Time's a Charm) 3:52:33 $500
3. Nikki Balderson and Jamie Turner (Team Surf and Turf) 3:53:08 $300
4. Katie Malone and Abby Russell (Run Hard Put Away Wet) 4:18:05
5. Rachel Dolan and Katie Tobin (#RageOn) 4:22:18
Images 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 20 by Aaron Palaian
Images 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 13, 19 by Kai-Otto Melau