The Coastal Challenge is quite different from your average trail event, it is much more of an adventure! It involves not only running and walking, but rock hoping, wading and on some courses - swimming.
The Mini & Mid Monty courses have their fair share of wading and small swimming sections so these tips could be helpful for you too. The Full Monty course however is exactly that. It possesses the Full Monty of obstacles and swimming is one feature you will come face to face with very early on. Ps the water is currently a very warm 21 Degrees!
Those tackling the Full Monty will cross the Wade River (80 meters approx.) and Okura River (300meters wide approx. with only 50-60meters of that actually swimming) shortly after starting. Here are a few things you can do to make sure you are best prepared come event day.
1. Get in the water
Specifically, wear what you plan to wear on event day and go for a small swim staying close to the shore. Even better, run there and run home again. Some questions you can ask yourself are – Does my bag hold onto water? Does it need a waist strap? Are my shoes not draining very well? Are my clothes really heavy when wet?
I can only suggest what works for me, but if you trial your own kit, you will soon get a feel for what works and what doesn’t. The key here - less is more!
2. Only take what you need
Swimming with a full pack on your back can be very difficult. Additionally, if you have a large amount of kit in a dry bag, it will act similar to an old school life jacket – you remember, the ones that rode up around your neck and left you bobbing around like a channel marker. Some liquid, a charged cell phone, jacket & survival blanket are always handy (in a small dry bag), but again – less is more.
If you are likely to take a little longer out there, i would suggest taking some water/electrolites as it can get really hot, and its a long way to the first aid station.
When you head out for that practice swim in your race day kit, try a few techniques and stick with one that requires the lesser effort. Although a little slower, I have personally found breaststroke to be the least physically draining when you need to swim, and the dolphin dive seems to be the most effective on the long wading sections. Get out there and have a go!
I have mentioned this before, but If you're running in and out of the water it’s always a good idea to wear some sort of lubrication (especially between your thighs and on your nipples - trust me). Salt water is especially good at causing some nasty chafing, so make sure you find some form of lubrication that works for you, and wear it! Vaseline works fine for me.
5. Take your time
Swimming and wading in shoes/clothes can be incredibly draining so I suggest taking it nice and easy and saving energy for later in the day – it’s a long way to Devonport.
There will be lifeguards overseeing the two crossings on paddleboards and IRB boats, keeping you safe. It is very important you raise your hand above your head to indicate to lifeguards that you are in need of assistance.
7. Sharing is caring
If you’ve participated in the Full Monty before and have some valuable tips we could all benefit from, please comment below!