Swimrun Poland

15.09.18 I’ll remember that date. For its pure cruelty and roughness! Swimrun Poland Otillo Merit Race date. Amazing day.
As you know I had privilege to take part in swimrun. Simplicity of it is amazing. You start and your only goal is to get to finish line… You run. When you get to water, you swim then run again, then swim, then run, then swim… You’ve got a picture… Simple? Yup…

Day started with fog and little mist… (Happy days! No killing sun…) Then we had rain, thunderstorm, more rain, wind etc. Uphills, downhills… Doesn’t matter- mud rain everywhere! I heard that smart tips- you should slide down on your back… No chance- too much roots, trees, trees’ stomps, rocks, stones, etc. So, breakfast, toilet (pretty important before race), some chill and time to get ourselves ready and go to start! Start was at 6:30am, last check of everything quick (too quick) countdown and off we go! Wow, nice first run to water which, surprise surprise, was nice (probably warmer or same as air…) And then as I expected short run it was longest run- memorising route isn’t easy… In the main time rain became heavier. Then we had thunderstorm. It was unreal… But all things that turns around happened on Jawor… Climb with ended with timing mats and nutrition station. Some energy and warm soup to go. Then downhill- supposed to be nice and fast but became nightmare. We ran in mud. Well run is bad word. We fought for survival. Hard to get a grip in ankle deep mud, sliding down like skiing, trying do not hurt myself any more… Finish that stage with 5 falls, bruised wrist, sore knee and feeling that it was hell’s mountain… Jawor took all pleasure away. I said that I don’t even want to swim anymore! Luckily I got in and continue… Had even some drink from Solina lake… Luckily next stages were much shorter and flatter. Get around and enjoyed end of the race.

At the finish line I felt pure satisfaction and happiness that it’s over! First time couldn’t stop laughing (laying down on grass) and trying to relax my legs.
I had my excitements, downs and ups, wall even denial. I was close to take a seat and tell them to leave me and go away! (Should use different words, you know which ones). Seating in warm bath I still feel my burning Achilles, bruised feet, sore back and aching legs- I’m not sure what was where… Luckily it’s a team sport. You go with partner. At the end of the day I’ve had chance to team up with my Uni partner Mateusz. Couldn’t make it with out him. (Don’t need to mention that whole race preparation, logistics and start itself wouldn’t be possible without my greatest supporter- Marta, my wife, partner, best friend and Love). It’s amazing how all emotions went out and mixed straight after crossing finish line- tears, lough, pain, happiness and pride!

Anyway. Watch showed 47.7km (42 run and 5.7 swim) Some time ago I’ve said that I don’t really want to run marathon soon… How wrong I was! But it was great call to do it! Trying to break next barrier, own weakness, try a new! From one side- I hate it, from another I love it, as I beat it!
At the end I have to mention everyone behind the Race:
Organisers- you’ve done amazing job! I compare all my races to Ironman races that I’ve taken part in. They’re are example to others… But now I’m going to use Swimrun Poland as my marker point. It’s amazing as such hard, difficult and raw event can be prepared and marked! Every single tape, ground marker, entry and exit flags/markers were there, visible, clear.

Volunteers- without you there are no chances for any event. But this was cruel for you. Weather didn’t help, you were alone in wild places and always with smile you helped, point the way, cheered and support us.
Fire brigades and water Lifeguards were on the spot, helping and leading when needed. Like first swim in the fog. You couldn’t see more than, probably, 50m. Speed boat with flashing boat leading all swimmers to safe exit.
Local people- that not everywhere are so happy to cheer and support. In Bieszczady they’re great! So many enthusiasm that you could share with many more events.

I’d love to go back so put 14th of September already into my calendar… Now it’s time to plan it make it happen!
Swimrun Poland Thank You!

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Maciej Zieliński