The inaugural Torpedo SwimRun Val de Vie took place on Sunday 3 February 2019 at the Val de Vie Lifestyle Estate, and the Quenet siblings Nick and Alexandra, quite familiar with the Torpedo SwimRun top spot in other events in the Torpedo SwimRun Series, took the honours in the mens’ and the women’s races respectively.
Nick Quenet finished the 10km course in a time of 44:20, negotiating 6 swims and 6 run segments across the length and breadth of the well-known Franschhoek lifestyle estate. Matt Trautman, who last weekend podiumed at the Ironman 70.3 in East London, came second in a time of 45:49, and Alexander Koller from Sweden came third in 52:01.
Alexandra Quenet finished in a time of 55:03, and as well as being in first place amongst the women, she was also sixth overall. Jessica Ashley-Cooper (56:19) and Liza Kingston (56:37) were second and third respectively.
Fast and flat
Nick Quenet, who most recently won the Torpedo SwimRun Cape in November with race partner Jamie Riddle, said: “The shorter and flat course meant faster racing, elevated lactate and marginal room for errors. The rain held off just long enough for the finish of the race, and the flowing single track, serene dams, bridge jumping and polo field running was such a pleasure to navigate. Once again Torpedo SwimRun lived up to its hype; it’s a definite race to put on the calendar for next year!”
Alexandra said of her race: “The experience was completely different to that of Cape, the shorter distance encouraged faster and more skilled racing. The dams were warm and the cooler weather so nice for the longer running segments. I raced hard and luckily it played into my favour – I really enjoyed the route and the differing running terrain.”
Matt Trautman, an experienced triathlete and Ironman champ, said of his race: “The Torpedo SwimRun at Val de Vie was my first attempt at the discipline and I loved it. Friendly crowd and tight racing in a relaxed atmosphere; I will be sure to give more of them a go.”
Visually impaired athletes take on the challenge
Cindy Jacobsz is a visually impaired athlete and completed the race with the assistance of her guide Petro Neethling. Another visually impaired athlete, Cornelia Liebenberg, was guided by Celia Pienaar.
No stranger to competitive sport, Jacobsz enjoyed the challenge of the Val de Vie course: “My guide Petro was a superb – she sounded like a tour guide: “branches on the left” ; “lose rock right”; “donga ahead”. The single track terrain was not to bad for a visually impaired athlete. I would love to do this race again and inspire more visually impaired athletes to try swimrun, not necessarily for a competitive time but for the fun of it, and to be outside in the beautiful nature.”
Post-race celebrations combined perfectly with the monthly Val de Vie market, which went down well with hungry athletes and the families and friends who came along to support.
Swimrun is a relatively new sport that originated in Sweden, and offers off-road and open-water adventure along coastal and inland waterways, with routes designed around the natural environment and with distances varying from race to race. The Torpedo SwimRun Series now comprises three events, with the other two being Torpedo SwimRun Cape (on the Atlantic coastline) and Torpedo SwimRun Wild (in the Wilderness area on the Garden Route).
SwimRun is different in that athletes run in their wetsuits and swim in their running shoes – there are no transitions like you have in triathlon. For the Val de Vie event though, wetsuits were not necessary in the warm dams of the estate.
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