Want another swimrun where you get to race across multiple islands in ÖttilÖ style fashion? Well, here’s your chance. Tony and Lisa Hammett, of Peak Racing and makers of SwimRun Georgia, bring you another awesome race. I had the opportunity of racing SwimRun Georgia last year and it was a blast of a race. It was very well-organized, marked well and had helpful volunteers all over the place. Well, from the looks of it, they’ve outdone themselves with the planning of SwimRun Tennessee.
Let’s start with the location, Percy Priest Lake is just a 30 minute drive from the Nashville airport and breeze to get to. This lake has a bit of history that revolves around the sunken, but not sunken, town of Jefferson. You can read more about this messed up tale at http://32islands.com/lost-town/.
The race begins and ends at Camp YI (an acronym that stands for Youth Incorporated), a youth camp situated on a peninsula in the middle of the lake. The entire camp is being rented for the event, so bring your tents, RVs (no power or water hookups) and hang out. There are bath houses, a large grand hall, complete with kitchen, and multiple places with excellent views of the lake. I hear Tony wants to make it a fun atmosphere, complete with a bonfire. Roasted marshmallows anyone? If you want power and water hookups, you can stay less than a mile up the road at the Poole Knobs Campground.
Camp YI is a beautiful place with a farm atmosphere that reminds me a bit of the sheep farm at Rockman. Instead of seeing sheep, at Camp YI you’ll be running next to horses as they graze the open fields.
In addition to the camping offered, there are several open-air cabins that you can rent for a rustic experience. Although there aren’t bathrooms in the cabins, you can still take advantage of the bath houses.
Prefer a hotel instead? No problem. Since the race isn’t completely in the middle of nowhere, you’ll find a slew of hotels less than 10 miles away.
Similar to SwimRun Georgia, there will be two distances to choose from: a long course and a short course. The long course will consist of 8 run segments (11.5 miles total) and 7 swim segments (2 miles total). The short course will consist of 6 runs (7 miles total) and 5 swim segments (1.5 miles total). Both races will have the benefit of racing across multiple islands. The long course will traverse 4 islands and the short course will cover 3. The running will be made up of multiple types of surfaces and distances. Want to do the race but can’t find a partner? If you cannot find a partner, or if you’re just wanting to give swimrun a try, there is a solo option for the short course.
Long Course (team only):
Short Course (team and solo option):
After a short stint on the peninsula, both races will also make their way over to Longhunter State Park and run the Bryant Grove. The long course will cover an island first, then another run across the peninsula before heading over to the state park. Bryant Grove trails are a mix of single track and double track, fairly flat with a few technical spots here and there. One of the cool features of the Bryant Grove trail, from a historic perspective, is you’ll come along one of the original roads from the 1800’s (pre-flood days).
Bryant Grove trail:
After the Bryant Grove trail, the short course racers will head over to islands while the the long course teams will do a lap around the Couchville Lake trail This trail is primarily a paved path around the lake which I could serve as a recovery period or a place for you to open it up, and add a bit of speed.
I think the gem of this race is the three or four islands that you’ll get to explore and race across. These islands don’t have any sort of improved trail system, so expect to have technical trail running through the woods. There may be a few paths as it is legal to camp on any of the islands, but since they’re primitive campsites, you won’t find any machine cut trails or the like. In my opinion, as I have experienced similar with other races, including ÖttilÖ, this will probably end up being one of the favorite portions of the race to most of the racers. There’s nothing like running across trail-less terrain to truly connect you with nature. There’s just something about bounding over fallen trees, dipping and dodging around unkempt brush and trying to spot the next flag tape marker that is just a ball-o-fun. If you’re weird like me and find that sort of thing interesting, then this race is for you.
Ponderosa Island and Hunter Island:
Another thing that I think may add some interest to this race is the time of year. Since it is on the calendar for October 6th, the weather could have a direct effect on wetsuit usage. Most swimruns involve the use of wetsuits (see my original Rockman post) and the guidelines revolve around the combined air and water temp of 120 degrees. If the combined temp is below 120, then wetsuits are required. For example, if the air temp is 40 degrees and the water temp was 65 degrees, the combined temp would be 105 and below the required wetsuit temp. I know it sounds strange, but that math usually works out pretty damn good as a measure. However, in the case of SwimRun Tennessee, and the date of October 6th, it really is a roll of the dice what Mother Nature might throw at you. In years past, it hasn’t been uncommon to have some pretty warm temperatures, so there is always a possibility to break that 120 degree barrier. Could be interesting, for sure.
Personally, I can’t wait to race this one and give it a whirl. It looks like it will be a good mix of terrain and with island hoping thrown in, there will be a lot of fun had by everyone.
For more information visit http://www.SwimRunTennessee.com
Race: SwimRun Tennessee
Date: Sunday, October 6, 2019
Location: Camp YI, 599 Jones Mill Rd., La Vergne, TN 37086