Saturday, January 9, 2010

Pier to Pub Swim

Today was my first athletic event of 2010 and is one of my all-time favourites - even though I am not all that keen a swimmer! It was the Pier to Pub swim in Lorne about two hours south-west of Melbourne. Over the years I have done this race about 7 or 8 times, but not since 2004.

It began about 30 years ago as an event for the local surf lifesavers, swimming from the pier (in the background of the photo) around the shoreline to their surf club, a distance of 1.2km. It has grown into the largest blue-water swim in the world (or so I am told) with over 4000 people taking part. This part of the coastline is along the Great Ocean Road, regularly rated as one of the top scenic drives in the world. The water is sparkling clear, the beach is fantastic, it is one fantastic event. (Coincidentally, this is also the start point for the Great Ocean Road Marathon which I am planning to do in May.)

Myself and two other guys who live in my street (yeah, friendly hood I live in!) were all doing the race today. Our road trip down the coast was punctuated by only one donut stop ... which was augmented in Lorne by an early lunch of, yes, another donut. Before we knew it we were in a hurry and had not really enough time to get up to the start line, get the wetsuit on, put gear into bag and into truck, wait in the marshalling area, swim 100m out to the start line and wait for the gun to go.

I put my wetsuit on and threw my gear bag into the bushes since my group were already at the start line ready to go! Bye-bye iPhone I thought until a guy offered to take my bag up to the truck for me (superstar!) I was still 50m or more from the start line when the gun went so had no chance of swimming a fast time. But at least I'd have clear water!

After getting my heart rate back down to normal levels I just started to pick off swimmers ahead of me whilst enjoying the cool water, pristine views and lovely day. It seems a long way, but less than 20-minutes later I am running up the beach and across the finish line. My friends followed soon after.

Miraculously my gear bag had made its way back to the start area and so before I knew it I was dressed again and ready to go. In so many ways this race is like doing a 5k after having run a marathon - it is over almost in the blink of an eye.

And after so many years of competing, I finally completed the "full" event this year, journeying across the road behind the surf club to the Lorne Hotel where an ice-cold beer was enjoyed by me and my swim buddies. Ahhh, perfection!

PS: On the way to to the car I picked up another donut just for good measure. Bewdiful.


  1. Congrats! What a great event! You are a fast swimmer, no question about that! Everytime I read your blog I have to remind myself of where you live. The weather looks fantastic. Thanks for your comments on my blog. They are much appreciated.

  2. Sounds like a good one Paul. They should have the finish-line at the bar of the pub! Clever tactic to get clear water at the start ;)


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