THE beauty of the rapidly growing worldwide phenomenon of SwimRun – one of the toughest endurance sports to have emerged from the cool-climate Nordic region of Europe – is that each energy-sapping kilometre completed in open waters, along rugged coastal tracks, rocky outcrops and unforgiving hills is never experienced alone.
Individual performance is thrown out the window, as teams of two develop a strategy and spur each other on through the many ups and downs along the way to the finish line.
Teamwork was certainly needed in the wild, cold and windy conditions that struck during the third annual SwimRun Australia Championships, contested by 116 teams in Sydney last Saturday, including more than half a dozen with at least one Jewish member.
The gruelling course, between the bays and along the shoreline between Rose Bay and Vaucluse, involved 14km of running, scrambling and climbing interspersed by several swims covering 3km in choppy waters.
The event was organised by former Bondi lifeguard and Maccabi Rugby player Adriel Young and his wife Caroline, who live in Sweden.
Young defended his mixed category SwimRun World Championship title with Eva Nystrom, in September 2017, on a 74km inter-island course in Otillo, Sweden.
Team Jeze Street, comprising Sydney’s Jarred Shein and Frenchman Ezechiel Orski-Ritchie, were the top Jewish finishers at the Australian championships, coming 12th in the men’s category and 15th overall.
They posted a time of 2 hours, 13 minutes and 42.9 seconds – 18 minutes behind winners Catch Me If You Can, featuring Andrew Reid and Kieran Roche.
Shein told The AJN the difficult conditions took their toll, so they had to settle for a top 15 finish.
“Eze (Ezechiel) and I finished fifth last year, but the harder weather, combined with entrants being disqualified this year if they took shortcuts in the swim legs by running on the rocks, didn’t help us as I’m a relatively stronger runner than swimmer,” Shein said.
“We would have loved to finish in the top 10, and I probably let Eze down in achieving this goal.
“For me, being wet for two hours plus, in the freezing cold, had me breaking down like a 1996 Toyota Corolla.
“Lucky I had a big strapping Frenchman as my partner, who hummed to the tune of Frere Jacques to improve my frozen spirits.
“A big shout out to the great sponsor Boody for providing socks that had my toes as my only body part not blue after the race, and to Adriel for again organising a great event. We’re looking forward to improving our place next year.”
The next highest-ranked all Jewish team was PEAC, featuring Paul Ephron and Allen Chimes, who finished in 2:33:48.5 to earn 27th place in the men’s category and 41st overall.
Young did not compete in the event, but is in training for his next challenge, the 2018 Gothenburg Triathlon on June 16.