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Taking queues from the recent worldwide popularity of SwimRun events (also known as aquathlons), Ontario-based Canaqua Sports has added a SwimRun Challenge series to their open water race calendar this year. We chatted with series director Ian Feldman about the series’ first race in Sudbury this summer and his plans to expand across the country.

Why did you decide to introduce a SwimRun series in Canada?

SwimRun is an exciting and different sort of event. Many people have heard of it as it is very big in Europe, and there is a lot of curiosity about it. The initial reaction to our Sudbury event has been huge. The challenge of multiple swims and runs, and the ability to use swim aids gives this event a uniqueness of its own.

Why are triathletes specifically becoming more drawn to SwimRun events?

One of the main comments that I have received is that by not having a bicycle segment, the cost is much less, and training is not a complicated. The challenge of swimming with running shoes, and running in a wetsuit increases the physical challenges that participants face. It appeals to a broader endurance community than most multisport events — triathletes, off-road triathletes, swimmers, and runners.

Your first SwimRun Challenge location is Sudbury. What will be next for the series?

Ultimately our goal is to have the Canaqua Sports SwimRun Challenge with races across Canada. Our first priority however is to have a great day in Sudbury on July 30, and to see in real time how the race actually runs. We are currently talking to locations in Southern Ontario so as to gain a strong foot hold in Ontario. We have had interest shown in B.C. and Quebec, and may look to these areas in the near future.

Learn about Canaqua Sports’ open water swim races and register here.