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SwimRun Rheinsberg

The SwimRun Rheinsberg 2023

Two hippos in Brandenburg

"Are you triathletes?" the training group heaving themselves out of Berlin's Schlachtensee lake echoes curiously. "Nope - SwimRunners!" replies a man without hair from the group, moving a polystyrene block from his crotch towards his outer thigh. The couple of pensioners who ask about the information respond with an "Aha!". And then other topics are more important again.

SwimRun 2023: 2 runners show thumbs up © SCC EVENTS / Tilo Wiedensohler

2023, the participants visibly enjoyed themselves SCC EVENTS / Tilo Wiedensohler

Who or what are SwimRunners!

In a SwimRun, you swim in shoes and run in neoprene, because the equipment you start with must also be brought to the finish, including buoyancy aids and footwear. In a SwimRun, at least two running and swimming units must be completed alternately. Unlike a triathlon, participants can start individually or as a team. Also different from a classic triathlon: the length of the sections on land and in the water are not standardised. The races take place in nature, so the landscape determines the course. 

Note: SwimRunners are likeable all-round athletes who practise the sport of SwimRun. The first official SwimRun event took place in Sweden in 2006 - also known as Ö till Ö (island to island). Since 2016, there has been a high-calibre SwimRun event near Berlin: the SwimRun Rheinsberg.

SwimRun training at Schlachtensee

The training group mentioned in the introduction was preparing for the SwimRun Rheinsberg at the time of the pensioner experience described above. In order to be optimally prepared for the Brandenburg event, SCC EVENTS, as organiser of the SwimRun Rheinsberg, offers a preparatory training course.

A dozen training enthusiasts, from newbies to old dogs, took part this year. The team Kiboko, consisting of Philip and Nadine, stood out. What made them stand out? They fought their way sociably and elegantly through the water, ran stolidly and unexpectedly swiftly over land and when things got dicey, it was better not to get too close to them. Just like the hippopotamus characters after which the team is named (Swahili: kiboko = hippopotamus).

SwimRun: Team couple gets out of the water © SCC EVENTS / Sportograf

SCC EVENTS / Sportograf

The equipment of the SwimRunners

During the training course (duration = 4-5 weeks), Team Kiboko learnt how to swim with equipment ranging from pullbuoys (already referred to as polystyrene blocks in this text) to paddles (known as handboards during the GDR era). Nadine and Philip also practised swimming together on a line, which is important for the teams in a SwimRun. Coach Micha also gave a comprehensive excursus in which all possible SwimRun accessories were presented. A real treat for Philip. As an old fashion tech victim, he succumbed to every SwimRun equipment temptation. Thus prepared, the hippos took on the super sprint distance challenge (4.4 km incl. 1,050 m swim) at the SwimRun Rheinsberg on 25 June 2023.

Family Fun SwimRun in Rheinsberg

In addition to the SuperSprint, there is also the Sprint (11.3 km incl. 2,000 m swim) and the long edge, the SwimRun (21.4 km incl. 3,500 m swim) in Rheinsberg. Young athletes also enjoy the Youth SwimRun. In 2023, the Family Fun SwimRun was introduced for the very youngest participants for the first time. Proud holders of a bronze swimming badge start with an adult. Organiser SCC EVENTS is living up to its mission statement, in which togetherness and exercise play a key role. Registration for the Family Fun SwimRun had to be closed early, as all starting places were sold out in advance at its premiere.

Paradise for runners, swimmers and lovers

All of these competition options took place in and around the picturesque town of Rheinsberg. Rheinsberg is located in northern Brandenburg, a good hour's drive from Berlin. If Kurt Tucholsky is to be believed, the town in the Ostprignitz-Ruppin district is a picture book for lovers. The area is known for its beautiful nature and clear lakes. Team Kiboko reached the water start in Warenthin via two of these lakes by ferry from Rheinsberg. Such a water start is considered quite spectacular (as otherwise the start takes place on land) and is rarely seen at SwimRun events.

From the horizontal to the vertical: Nadine and Philip bravely tackled the four and a half kilometres in 23 degrees and glassy water. Philip led the way, followed by Nadine in the "water shadow" on the obligatory leash. With a mix of breaststroke and crawl strokes, they fought their way to the first running section. Now it paid off that the two of them had practised switching from the horizontal swimming position to the vertical running style in training. With every metre, they became more confident, but also happier. But no sooner had they savoured the feeling of routine than the second swimming section awaited them, which they also mastered brilliantly.

SwimRun 2023: Participants getting out of the water and onto the course SCC EVENTS / Tilo Wiedensohler

Participants 2023 getting out of the water onto the course  SCC EVENTS / Tilo Wiedensohler

Finish at the SwimRun Rheinsberg

Back on land, the longest running section of the SuperSprint followed. Over hill and dale, with Lake Grienerick always on the left, Team Kiboko puffed their way through the terrain. Philip concentrated, with slight side stitches, his head down, Nadine next to him, a little looser, running slightly offset. After what felt like an eternity, they finally got into the water for the last time that day. Seeing the finish area on the other side of the lake, hearing the speaker Robert, the finish came closer with every arm stroke. Problem now: The arms were getting heavier and heavier. Finally, the shore was somehow reached. The legs had to work again for a few metres before the finish arch was finally waiting. Congratulations Team Kiboko! You are finishers of the SwimRun Rheinsberg. You really deserve your medals.