Toughest Swimrun Events

This is the definitive list of the 6 toughest Swimrun events in the world, in our opinion. Each can make a claim due to the extreme nature of one of the elements involved in that particular event. So if you want the bragging rights to completing one of the World's hardest sporting events, read on!

Toughest Swimrun
- At Night

1. The NIGHT Swimrun. Yes, you read that correctly - this event is held at night, by the organisation SwimrunmanFrance . This is held in June in France, at Embrun Serre-Ponçon, in the heart of the southern Alps.

The total distance is 41.5km (26 miles). Approximately 17% of the total distance is swimming. For safety, you must have a flashing LED inside your swim float, and run with a headlamp. This is an Ötillö merit race, normally held in  June. Here is the official page.

Toughest Swimrun
- Extreme Vertical

2.  Also held by the organisation SwimrunmanFrance, the extreme VERTICAL Swimrun at Gorge du Verdon is one of 4 held in the SwinrunmanFrance Series, and claims to have the steepest and longest climbs on the running sections. The total distance is over 65km, and this is also an Ötillö Merit race.  Approximately 18% of the total distance is swimming.

A man edging around a cliff edge at Gorge de Verdon, France.Gorge de Verdon Swimrun

Here is an image of the vertical ascent and descent;

A graphic showing vertical elevation of the Gorge de Verdon swimrun event.Gorge de Verdon profile

And here is the video representation of the race - watch out for the long uphill ascents!

Toughest Swimrun
- Ötillö World Championship

3. The original Ötillö World Championship event, held across the islands of the Stockholm archipelago in Sweden. Acclaimed as one of the hardest 1 day events on Earth, due to the sheer distance (75km or nearly 50 miles) combined with cold waters.

There are 46 transitions over 24 islands, made up of 10km (6 miles) of open water swimming and 65km (40 miles) of trail running. Below is a video that captures the spirit and essence of the World Championship event.

Toughest Swimrun
- EX Sweden

4. The EX Swimrun in Sweden, which includes a BASE jump off Falcon Mountain. To be exact, there is a 6 meter jump straight down into water to start the final swim section. That's 20 feet in imperial measure. If you lose your confidence at the last minute, there is also the 'Chicken Line' diversion, which is 75 meters longer but without a jump!

More information at the EX Swimrun website here.

Toughest Swimrun
- Ålund Swimrun

5. The Alund Swimrun (Sweden) event titled "Tough Enough".  This is a 50km race event off the coast of Sweden. The cut-off time is 12 hours, which gives you an idea of how tough it is!  Here is a link to their page. Scroll down for the 'Tough Enough" event

And HERE is a map of the course.

Toughest Swimrun
-Frog Graham Round

The Frog Graham Round is not an organised race as such, but the original challenge was set up in 2005, and we feel it is SO tough that it deserves to be included here.

Frog Graham Round 1The record time holder, Ben Abdelnoor, in 2019

The FGR takes place in the U.K., in the Lake District. This event is probably the toughest swimrun in the U.K., and is in the Top 10 toughest swimruns in the world, due to the sheer distance - 64km - PLUS the vertical element of almost 5,000 metres (15,000 feet).

First held in May 2005, only 70 (that is seventy) people have ever completed the course! It traverses some of the highest peaks through the Lake District, taking in 18 summits.

There is no specific race day, but the time limit for official recognition is 24 hours - you have to submit your GPS trace.

To find out more about this monster event, look at the official Frog Graham Round HERE.

We hope you found our guide to the toughest Swimrun events useful and interesting. If you think there's another event that deserves to be included, let us know, using the Contact Us link!

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