Have you ever thought about combining your love for running and swimming into one sport? Then a Swimrun is definitely something you should consider looking into. Seamlessly merging the two activities into a worldwide competition, Swimrun is an exhilarating tournament which needs an optimum level of stamina and strength to complete.

Within this article we will look into how this sport came to be, along with the requirements and training needed to be successful. Below there are also helpful resources which you can used to find the next tournament near you, if you wish to take part or simply watch.

How it Works

A Swimrun is actually a sports competition which is split up into various element stages. Within this you will find a combination of running and swimming occurring across a cross country racing field which contains a minimum of two terrain changes. These changes would be land for running and water based areas for swimming.

Swimrun is categorized into a number of different types depending on which country you are competing in. If you are taking part in a race in the home town of the competition these are the distance ranges you will need to choose from:

  • Super Sprint – 10KM
  • Sprint – 10.1KM to 20KM
  • Regular – 20.1KM to 40KM
  • Long – 40.1KM to 75KM
  • Ultra – Over 75KM
  • Multi-day – 24 hours

And if you are competing in Italy or any other European countries which host the modernized version of this game, you will have these distance ranges:

  • Short – 5KM
  • Basic – 5.1KM to 10KM
  • Half – 10.1KM to 21KM
  • Full – 21.1KM to 42KM
  • Long – 42.1KM to 75KM
  • Ultra – Over 75.1KM



The concept of this multi-staged tournament actually begun in 2002 where a group of friends challenged each other to a race from the Uto Vardshus to Sandham. And on this journey the only requirement was that they had to stop at three restaurants 

on the way. Whichever team then made it to the destination last had to eat, drink and pay for whatever the winning team had ordered for them. However, this challenge took 24 hours to complete and upon arrival they were too exhausted to enjoy their stay. And this same thing happened the year after too when they tried again. Since then these friends were known at the ‘Original 4’.

After being given the name Swimrun in 2011, the first warm water race was set up in Italy. The only difference between this and the original games set up in 2006 was that the circuit was run on a singular basis rather than as part of a duo. Plus during the swimming portion they were not allowed aids such as fins and snorkels in Swimrun and had to rely purely on their swimming strengths. And from there on in, this has soon formed the sporting race we see today.Four years after they started this challenge, they were approached and asked to make a commercial race from their idea. At the beginning only 2 out of the 11 teams were able to complete the race they put together. This is where they discovered that the competitors would need to remain on the move rather than stopping in between stages. As they would be constantly on the move, their bodies would be able to push further to complete the circuit, rather than the stop-start effect which was tiring them out previously. This was also possibly why they struggled themselves in the beginning.

Training Required

When it comes to preparing for your first Swimrun race there are a numerous amount of training plans available online or you could speak to your local gym trainer for assistance. However, what you would need to focus on is increasing your stamina when it comes to both swimming and running. As you will be taking part in a mixture of these activities you would need to make sure that you could complete the lengths required consistently without any pain or drawbacks.

However, once you have trained your swimming and running techniques separately you would need to find a way of being able to combine the two within your training routine in order to replicate the strength and stamina required for the actual race. This could be completed within a gym where there is access to equipment such as a treadmill and a pool, or alternatively you can train outdoors on the cement or grass terrains and run from your house to the pool, swim and then run back or something similar to that. This way you can gauge an idea of what would be required of your body on the day.

Where to Get Involved

Online there are a variety of resources where you can find a Swimrun race near you. You can take a look at the otilloswimrun website to see when the latest tournaments in Sweden are taking place. Or alternatively the greatrun site provides you with a sign-up sheet for the Great North Swimrun for 2019. There is also a page called findarace.com/swimrun where all of the competitions worldwide are displayed so that you can view which you wish to take part in or watch.

Also, if you are training at your local pool or gym you will be able to speak to the trainers there who can assist you with finding the right level of race for you. And from here they will be able to provide you with the relevant training tools you would need for preparing your body for such a physically demanding race.

Have you Ever Competed in a Swimrun?

The SwimRun competitions are so engaging and we would love to know if you have ever attended or competed in one of these races. Get in touch on our social media pages and let us know what your experience was during the Swimrun or give us a heads up if you are running soon and we will most certainly want to stay up to date with your progress!

Don’t forget that you can find all of your swimming and running needs over on our website – Sports Fitness. Fill your basket with amazing accessories and clothing to assist you with your SwimRun journey today!

This article was written exclusively for Sports Fitness by Loren Astbury