Do you think you could circumnavigate a whole island off the coast of Perth by running on trails then swimming across the bays without once taking your shoes off?
The Rottnest Swimrun is the premier Swimrun experience in Australia and covers some serious territory around a very special island just 20kms off Perth.
Rottnest island - a wild paradise!
Firstly lets cover what Swimrun is, Swimrun involves teams of two racing together from point to point, with no changing of clothes during transitions between running and swimming disciplines. Team members swim in their shoes and run in their swim kit. Participants are expected to carry everything they need for the race along with them. In 2017 and 2018 the Rottnest Swimrun sold out with a small field of 50 teams then 100 teams, both years surpassed many expectations and left competitors wanting more! Running 28kms and swimming 4kms is not easy going, but in Rottnest it just works, here is what makes this the most spectacular endurance event in Australia.
Rottnest Island is a very special place and an A class reserve
If it isn’t on your bucket list then it should be. Rottnest Island is a beautiful place, its beaches and unique wildlife are world class. Being an A class reserve it means that the environment is actively protected and its sole purpose now is conservation and recreation. This protection zone includes the Island itself, which measures 11km by 4.5km at its widest point and about 1900 hectares in area and it's surrounding marine environment. Think crystal clear beaches, bike and walking trails and Swimrun competitors will circumnavigate the whole thing.
Crystal clear blue water
Rottnest is known for having some of the most beautiful and clear turquoise water, home to many fish, turtles, dolphins and other marine life. During the event, every swim is different but there is one common theme, they are all epic!
There are 11 swim legs spread over the 32km course with the shortest being 200m and the longest 900m as you come into the finish line.
There are Quokkas on the course… Hang on, what is a Quokka? Oh that's right..
In fact, if you don’t see one of these friendly creatures during the race then the first round is on us at the pub post race. More info on Quokkas here.
Epic trail running
Over recent years, the Rottnest Island Foundation has tirelessly upgraded the Wadjempup Bidi, a trail which circumnavigates the island, showcasing the best bays, trails and landscapes. There are periods of single trail, hard hills and some serious slogs on the soft sand beaches. Competitors in the inaugural Swimrun in WA , some of who had been to the island over 10 times, said they saw areas of the island they didn’t know existed. In fact, 90% of competitors described the course as “epic” in the post race feedback survey (the beautiful day and perfect conditions may have played a part here).
It is genuinely hard!
In endurance circles, the Rottnest Marathon is considered one of the more challenging full marathons in Australia and we hate to break it to you from a toughness point of view, but it does not go all the way out to the West End of the island (they do 4 x loops, it is a fantastic event held every year). Although there isn’t a mountain range or big hill (apart from the infamous lighthouse climb), there is a proverbial truckload of small to medium hills that over time add up to some serious elevation gains and losses. Throw in some soft sand running on the beach plus some tricky terrain and you are in for a big day out! Endurance junkie, Swim Smooth founder and inaugural competitor in the 2017 Rottnest Swimrun, Paul Newsome, reviewed the 2017 race on his blog and we think he agrees it is a tough course!
Spectators and supporters can join the party
We haven’t yet mentioned that Rottnest island is a car free place (apart from buses and official cars), meaning getting around on bikes is the norm. Supporters ride around the island cheering on the teams whilst enjoying the bike trails, expansive bays and ocean vistas.
Entries and getting there
Registration is coming soon for 2019’s race, we’ll do an email out to our database with all of the details over the coming months – sign up here
Get involved as a volunteer
In 2017 and 2018 the volunteers had a ripper day, we’ll be putting the call out there soon for volunteers for race marshaling, aid stations and water safety. Register your interest here.