Swimrun, What Is That?

SwimRun is an endurance sport in which you run and swim along a set course of trail runs and open water swims (the original concept was island to island) without stopping in between, and then you do it again, and again, and again. It is not as new as many think, and there are races worldwide. There are plenty of events in the US with many different distances and race course options. What is very important is that you don’t mix a duathlon or a triathlon with Swim Run; you basically will be exiled from the sport (JK, the community is very cool!)


During a SwimRun event, you don’t change or take off your shoes, you swim in them, and then, yes, you run again with soggy feet. It can seem like a challenge, but you get comfortable swimming in them with practice and running in soaking wet shoes. It helps to find running shoes with a good grip (swim-run specific shoe, or trail show), light, and drain well. Most participants wear long socks, while others wear drying synthetic ankle socks and calf sleeves.

There is no rule about specific wetsuits to wear during a SwimRun, but you will need a good suit that you can run in without chafing or overheating. Also, one of the exhilarating elements of Swim Run is Coldwater, so it’s helpful to find a balance between being light on the run while having thermal protection from the chilly water on the swim. Neoprene accessories are your best friend! Just Wetsuits has plenty of options for your specific needs. Most SwimRun designed wetsuits have zippers in front to open up or even peel down the top half entirely on the run. Various other wetsuit features prove helpful on long-run sections, such as pockets for nutrition and accessories, whistles which are mandatory in many races, and even compartments for buoyancy pads if you need the extra float. Check our website for all the options.

Cap, buoy, paddles, Race Belt, Bunge Cord, SwimRun Buoy backpack, more neoprene!

At SwimRun, you can race with any accessory you need, but the catch is you must keep them with you the entire race. There are some dimension restrictions, but most standard accessories are acceptable. It is essential to finish with what you start with, as most races result in a DQ if you leave anything behind on the racecourse!

Transition! You should have your goggles ready when you jump back in the water, your wetsuit back on fully, and paddles and buoys in place for the swim, only to take them off again to lighten your load for the run. Sounds fun, yes? There is no shortcut to this; the magic is how you practice and get comfortable with all the transitions (some races can be up to 10-15 times). Most of the athletes practice at their local pool or lake. Train all the elements to show up prepared and be comfortable on race day.

Well, yes, and no. Though traditionally it started as a partner event, many races now offer a solo division, with some notable restrictions. The whole idea of Swim Run was born from the concept of teamwork. It creates an event where athletes rely on each other during the transition, racecourse, and even a stronger swimmer can provide an edge while “pulling” their partner in the water (bungee!). Many athletes recommend the team option, but either way, the idea is to have fun and enjoy the adventure, so your call!
Team categories can be male, female, or mixed.

The home of SwimRun in Sweden dates back to 15 years ago, when some friends, drinks, and challenges initiated this fantastic sport. There are no specific distances, several swims or runs (it needs to be at least 2 of each), no particular time in transition, and you do not need to travel with your bike.

The US has many great scenarios with beautiful and challenging locations for all preferences. You can take a look at this US-World Race Calendar

We invite you to try this great sport, make new friends and challenge yourself solo or with a partner. Here at Just Wetsuit, we are ready to gear you up and help you have the best experience during your race.

For more details about how the race works, and some advice from a Swim Run racer, check our Instagram for a great Q&A session with Michelle Ohlson (@besttrimom).

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