The Dart 10K was on Saturday, and it went pretty well on the whole. As I explained last year, it’s not a ‘real’ 10K, as the swimmers are set off around slack tide, and get a considerable assist from the outgoing tide, and from the flow of the river.
This year I opted to do the event non-wetsuit, setting off in the same wave as last year, the ‘fast’ wave. I am not sure I am ever going to fit in the Elite group, which contained some awesomely fast swimmers.
Here are me and my buddy Mike prior to the swim:
Compared to last year, the water at the start was like a bath, a good four degrees Celsius warmer at 16C, which seemed to hold fairly steady throughout the course to the finish at Dittisham. There was a bit if argy-bargy over the first couple of hundred metres, but everything held up well, including the same pair of excellent Predator reactolite goggles I had worn in Windermere a few weeks earlier. No fogging, and excellent visibility throughout. It was a shame I didn’t make more solid use of that visibility as we will soon discover!
There are a couple of feeding stations on the course, at approximately 3.5 and 7 km. This year the plan was to ignore both of them, and steam on through. Lucozade goes really badly with salt water anyway so I was in no mood to stop for it. The race flew by. The stroke felt even, and powerful throughout. Here is the GPS track of the event from my watch:
I had a bit of a navigation malfunction just before the second feeding station where I ended up heading up towards the creek. This resulted in a 90 degree turn being required before the long haul down the wide, and an extra bit of swimming.
In the end I finished in 2 hours 20 minutes on the chip timer, and the Garmin suggests that I was averaging 21.5 minute miles. I would normally expect to average 26.5 minute miles in salt water over this distance, so my true time is closer to 3 hours.
In the end I finished 62nd out of the 607 finishers, and was second fastest non-wetsuit swimmer, behind the very speedy Andrew Allum who finished in a shade under 2 hours – awesome swimming ! I knocked over 10 minutes off last year’s time, despite not having a wetsuit this time, so that feels like progress.
I am not sure I will have the time/money to do this event next year, but it was fun to do it this year for sure. I have not swum 2 hours 20 minutes uninterrupted before, and on the whole it felt fine.
Well done on the organisers again on putting together a slick operation, and an enjoyable day!
Here are the Saffron Walden 4 apres-swim. (Jason Betley 2:20, Greg Lawson 2:54, Pete Wagstaff 2:48, Mike Ratcliffe 2:17 – 49th)