SwimRun is an endurance sport in which athletes run and swim along a set course of cross country/trail runs and open water swims without stopping in between.
In the past few years, a number of SwimRuns have taken place but the Garmin Maltese Islands SwimRun was a first of its nature.
On Sunday, the Garmin Maltese Islands SwimRun held a tri-island event which saw athletes starting in Gozo, proceeding onto Comino and finishing in Malta.
Starting off on a 6km trail run from Nadur to Ħondoq ir-Rummien, and a short swim at Kiki Bay, the participants finished the leading to participants then were required to contend with a 1.5km swim through the North Comino Channel.
Notorious for the strong currents and swell, particularly after the storms that hit the Maltese islands overnight, this was considered as one of the toughest segments of the whole race. Once on Comino, a 3km trail run led them to the other side of the island where they had a 2.5km swim towards Marfa Bay.
Once on land, it was a final 6km stretch to the Chapel of the Immaculate Conception at Aħrax in Mellieħa.
Overall winner of the race was Ryan Muscat who finished the course in 2 hours 38 minutes and 12 seconds. He was followed by Josef Azzopardi (2:38:28) and Hannah Cutajar who was leading the way for most of the race until a nasty fall delayed her progress.
Nevertheless Cutajar was the first female and third athlete to finish in a time of 2 hours 39 minutes, 10 seconds.
Third male to make it on the podium was David Micallef who crossed the finish line twenty two seconds behind Cutajar.
Anjelika Ruggier and Debbie Caruana Dingli completed the females’ podium. In the teams category, Stefan Baluci and Margaret Seguna won the Mixed category whilst Matthew Joe Grima and Manuel Fenech won the Males category.
“Today’s race was a first for Maltese SwimRunners. It certainly wasn’t an easy race. The storms we had in the past twenty four hours made the terrain slippery and the sea harder to contend with. Yet we are pleased to say that all athletes finished the race with a smile,” said Charlie Demanuele, Race Director.
Echoing Demanuele’s sentiments was Tri Gozo’s president Michael Bongailas who expressed his satisfaction with the participation and overall result of the event.
He went on to thank all those involved in the event particularly Nadur, Qala, Ghajnsielem and Mellieħa Local Councils, Victoria District Police, Transport Malta and SportMalta for their support in hosting this event.
Trophies were presented to the winners by Mark Gaglione, Garmin Malta representative and Amber Ruggier representing AR Fitness.
The organisers expressed their gratitude to main sponsor Garmin Malta as well as AR Fitness, Intersport and O.R.S. Hydration for making this event happen.
Garmin Maltese Islands Swim Run results
1. Ryan Muscat 2:38.12; 2. Josef Azzopardi 2:38.28; 3. David Micallef 2:39.32.
1. Hannah Cutajar 2:29.10; 2. Anjelika Ruggier 3:43.22; 3. Debbie Caruana Dingli 4:38.10.
Mixed team: Stefan Baluci/Margaret Seguna 3:06.54
Men’s Team: Matthew Grima/Manuel Fenech 3:20:14.