1:34:21 ( ~ 2k swim, 10k run)
6th Mixed, 22nd Overall
We were a little nervous at the briefing as it was last year they announced no towing for the first swim as it was only a 250m run to it. The course had changed but the first run was the same but this year over a third of the swimming followed it with the longest swim of 600m. It wouldn’t be great for us to not be able to tow on that and swimming with someone holding your ankle isn’t exactly easy.
Nothing was said about it so with a sigh of relief we headed to the start. We speculated that with the smaller field and less experienced racers it was best to allow towing (in the longer race the next day no towing was allowed in the first swim following exactly the same run).
The weather was beautiful again for this race which makes the water so beautiful. The gun went and Rachel soon set a pace that was a bit swift for me and asked her to slow down. I was still working harder than I’d like so suggested we slow down as I didn’t think it would be great to hit the icy water already out of breath.
We got to the Quay. “Three, two, one…” and we managed to perform a synchronised jump perfectly captured by Pat’s friend Jude. That water was cold. I came to the surface and decided to check Rachel – as she popped up that was quite a look of surprise on her face as to how cold it was.
I headed off keeping left hoping to avoid going through people as we passed to give Rachel a nicer swim. This all went well for the first 400m but as we crossed the bay to the exit I found myself passing between two couples. Sods law the ones to the right veer left and the ones left veer right squeezing us. I pushed the pace to try and get a little ahead so I could nudge one couple over as their sighting seemed a little random. I managed to create some room allowing us to arrive at the beach just ahead of them.
The race now weaved through town with some steep sections up paths and steps. A shorter swim split this part before running through a tunnel to bring us to next bay where we ran out to the point before jumping in and swimming back in to the head of this beautiful inlet.
Andy, Lotte and I had ran the route yesterday so I knew there was now a long uphill section to start the 7k longest run. We took the time to get out wetsuits down and walk the early steeper part of the climb before starting to run as the gradient slackened. A few teams passed us as we walked but we were pulling them back was we were running.
The route then contoured round on a lovely trail to run on with great views all around. At this point Rachel said she was happy to go a little faster. So I pushed the pace and soon we were running at just over 5 minutes per KM which is very fast for us. The only people to pass us along here were a couple of solo guys and some of the experience racers (who had set off after us on a shorter course).
We soon found ourselves at the Castle overlooking Hvar and back on the course from last year. It was a long descent before reversing part of the last swim. We could see a mixed pair catching us on the run. The aim was to hit the swim at least with them as we must be quicker swimmers. On the final rise before descending to the swim we walk so I could get my wetsuit up and goggles on. The couple passed us here and then started to make a wrong turn ahead of us. Demonstrating our different competitive attitude, Rachel called their mistake (I’d have called it as I pass them!). We managed to start swimming ahead of them and pull out at least a 30s lead as we exited for the final 500m run.
We got a great cheer from Andy and Lotte (who had finished 10 minutes ahead of us in 3rd mixed placed) as we came down the finish chute. Another great race and despite our feeling the race didn’t look as good / challenging as last years it was a very good course. It was definitely far less challenging: shorter (we took 45 minutes less for this course), on easier trails and with sheltered swims (last years had two channel crossings). However, it was a beautiful course and much better suited for an introduction to swim run.