The hugely friendly and popular Loveswimrun Llanberis event returned in 2017 with a slightly different course to the inaugural 2016 route. With my planned partner Owen succumbing to a knee injury the WESWIMRUN community kicked in to present Matthew, last year's Llanberis winner in the solo category.
The relatively warm dry May and early June had Llyn Padarn warming up nicely. In the lead up to race day there were some stormy conditions with heavy downpours, which cooled the lake but only fractionally. When it came to race morning conditions were perfect - light winds and light clouds, and a lake temperature of 17.5.
We set off at the front running swiftly, with team 122 by our sides. We soon arrived at the first swim just behind team 122 but overtook them in the water. As we got out of the first swim we saw the arrow pointing right down the train track and we set off in first place. It didn't feel quite right as we expected there to be a turn up into the woods, we got to the start of the 2nd swim too quickly but we cracked on.... something wasn't right. Matthew shouted to me half way across the lake. We stopped, looked around, no one behind us or in sight. We both knew we'd missed a turn. We briefly discussed the situation then turned around and swam back, then ran back along the train track until we found the arrow pointing up into the woods, there was a marshall there now.
During the next 30 minutes of the race we were both quite deflated, compared to everyone else we'd done an extra 2km of running and 700m of swimming and we were playing catch up big time. However it wasn't long before our positive race spirit kicked back in as we passed countless happy swimrunners.
In the end we came in in 5th position in the team category, the first time I've been disappointed with 5th. We both felt we could/should have won this. One thing that will stay with me is to remember not to lead at the start, particularly when racing a new course, that said it's rare I'll be leading anyway.
Aside from our navigational issues it was great to race with Matthew, a strong all-rounder, who I believe has now seen the light - swimrun is better together - get lost together, fight back together!
Thanks to Chloe & Johnny for staging another great event which continues to deliver on friendliness and inclusiveness, and thanks for the special "missing a turn" prizes!
I'm now looking forward to swimrunning in one of my favourite places in the world - Holy Island, Anglesey. I'll be teaming up with my sister to race in the mixed category, if we get lost on this one I'm retiring ;-)