Swimrun sport takes hold in Gauteng with Torpedo SwimRun Moon

Adventurous sportspeople in Gauteng are readying themselves for Torpedo SwimRun Moon presented by OUTsurance, a swimrun event that takes place on Sunday 25 April at Cradle Moon Lakeside Reserve in Muldersdrift.  

SwimRun is different from triathlon in that there is no transition between the multiple running and swimming segments – athletes run in their costumes/wetsuits and they swim in their running shoes. There are accessories allowed such as hand paddles and specified flotation devices, and athletes must start and finish with the same equipment.

Olympic silver medallist, deaf swimmer Terence Parkin, will be taking part. He has won 32 medals in the Deaf Olympics and is an ambassador for the Princess Charlene of Monaco Foundation. He came second in the first Gauteng Torpedo SwimRun event that took place in 2019, and says: “I so enjoy the challenge of Torpedo SwimRun, but the fun of it is a big factor for me too. Someone who hasn’t done a swimrun before needs to take it slow the first time as you can easily tire or get injured.”

Swimrun as a sport is still relatively new in South Africa, with the main event organiser in the sport being the Torpedo SwimRun Series team. Richard McMartin, Torpedo SwimRun co-founder, says: “We started in 2017 with the Cape event, a very tough route of 16kms made up of six sea swims (4kms) and six runs (12kms) on the Cape Town Atlantic Seaboard. We now have six events across the country catering for the hardcore athlete as well as for beginner swimrunners. The Moon event is what we call a blue graded event, which makes it accessible to those wanting to try out the sport, although we do suggest that you are a proficient open water swimmer and can swim up to 2km.”

Sandra Mansvelder from Centurion is a competitive runner in the 21km and 10km disciplines and took part in the tour of the Moon route to see what the race would be like: “I would say that swimrun is more difficult than triathlon in some ways. You should get out there and do it as it’s a really fun type of event and there is no other event like it in Joburg. I saw at the tour that some people swim with a pull buoy device between their legs and then push it to the side when they run, so I will definitely get one of those. Your kicking isn’t very effective as you are swimming in your shoes, so your upper body strength becomes important. I actually enjoyed running in wet takkies and getting dirty, and it’s such a beautiful venue.”

Thina Mananyetso from Limpopo lives in Witbank and will be taking part in the Torpedo SwimRun Moon. She is an accomplished runner, having completed her first of two Comrades in 2018. In 2017 she had set her mind on doing Comrades despite never having run further than 21kms, so although she only started learning to swim in 2019, Thina is determined to achieve a finish at Torpedo SwimRun Moon.

“Where I come from in Venda, there were just no swimming pools in our schools and we never learnt. I am just a curious person and I like to challenge myself to new things so I started learning to swim in 2019. I attended the Moon Tour a couple of weeks ago and I only managed to complete the first swim, but I have been training and I am going to return and conquer this event.”

Well known extreme swimmer and inspirational speaker Ryan Stramrood heard of Thina’s ambition, and has committed to assisting her at the event. The record holder for the most number of crossings between Robben Island and the mainland says he is very keen to support Thina as she has set her mind to do something that seems impossible. “Thina has achieved her impossible before by doing Comrades, and I will swim with her just to give her the confidence to do the swims.”

“Thina and Ryan really embody what swimrun is all about,” says McMartin. “Ryan has done three of our SwimRun events, including the two most challenging ones, and we are thrilled that he will be taking part at Moon in order to help Thina. When Thina struggled at the tour and we saw her determination to do this event, we contacted Ryan to see if he could help. Thina can swim, she has done the distances required, but she just needs that confidence in the open water.”

“I can’t believe that Ryan has agreed to swim with me. It’s like a dream to have a swimmer like him want to help me. With all the support I have, I know I can do it,” says Thina. 

Keep an eye on Torpedo SwimRun social media to watch the event unfold. Further information is available at www.torpedoswimrun.com