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Friday, June 27, 2014
Brian Leftwich Swims And Runs To The Limit
After last week's 36-mile (57.9 km) END-WET swim from North Dakota to Minnesota down the Red River of the North, 32-year-old Brian Leftwich got out of the water after swimming for 9 hours 57 minutes, changed into his running gear, and then ran 29 miles to raise money for the Make A Wish Foundation. After an early morning start for the END-WET the day before, Leftwich finished at 2 am and then attended the award ceremony.
The 32-year-old from Bismarck, North Dakota, who moved to Fort Collins, Colorado in 2001, works for the state of Colorado in Disaster Response and Volunteer Management. He is also a volunteer Firefighter and EMT with the Eaton Fire Department, currently chasing a dream of becoming a full-time firefighter.
But he also trained like never before for his unique endurance charity swim-run that he performed on behalf of Team Lily [shown on left] and explains below:
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you see yourself as a swimmer or a runner or an all-round endurance/adventure athlete?
Brian Leftwich: Honestly, I'm just a guy missing a "quit switch." I love endurance events and pushing myself to the limit. Mainly just to prove that I can do it and hopefully inspire others to give it a go. I really am just a clydesdale hoping to finish with a smile.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Can you explain your swimming and running adventure around the END-WET 2014?
Brian Leftwich: I swam 36 miles as part of the END-WET race in Grand Forks, North Dakota. My brother Kyle kayaked as my support. The race was phenomenal. With the river at flood stage, it was a wild ride. Navigating around debris and tracking the current made it interesting. The water was colder than expected and towards the end of the swim I could tell my body temperature was getting low towards the end. I had my brother phone ahead for broth and noodles so I could warm up. My nutrition was all liquid, with Hammer Strength Perpetuem, HEED and gels being my main source. I was the 15th person out of the water and with an official time of 9 hours 57 minutes.
The run was something we dreamed up as part of the 65 Rhinos campaign. We wanted the mileage to add up to 65, so we choose 29 miles for the run and set up a course along the greenway. Originally it was to be three figure 8 loops, with each loop of being 4 miles and 4.7 miles to form the figure 8. I would then do an extra half-loop of 4 miles to reach 29.
We began the run around 7:30 due to a thunderstorm that swept in. My brother who kayaked and was attempting his first half marathon, paced me for the first 13 miles. I felt pretty dehydrated for the first half and we paced at 11:00 miles. I realized after the first full figure 8, that I did not want to continue running the 4.7-mile portion of the course. So we made the decision to run 5 laps of the 4-mile loop after I had completed the first 8.7. After the first 13, I high-fived my brother on his first half and then my race director came out to pace me for the rest of the run. I took the next lap, mile 13-17, to get my nutrition dialed in and try to rehydrate in the humidity. My pace was around 13:30. We did another miles after that at a 12:30 pace and my body was starting to even out a bit. I was taking SaltStick/ caffeine pills and downing Hammer Strength Perpetuem to stay ahead of sleep. Apparently I wandered off the path a couple times. We hit 21 miles and I knew that I needed to switch up the course a bit. I was in my dark place and struggling to stay awake. We decided to do a quick mile out and a mile back from the aid station to get my total up to 23 miles and just break it up a bit. I sent my brother to the house we were staying at and told him we would run to the house and meet him. The house was 5.5 miles away. Mentally, I needed a destination to get motivated. It was 12:40 am when we set off for the house. We settled into a 12:00-minute pace and made our way through town. We reached the house around 1:50 and I realized I still needed 0.5 miles to hit 29. I ended up running 3 laps up and down my friend's street. It was pretty hilarious. Finally at 2:00 AM, my watch read 29.1 Miles. We were done. 29 miles, 6:30.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was difficult about your adventure?
Brian Leftwich: Training was tough. Early on, I developed a nasty case of plantar fasciitis and running was difficult for me. I live in Colorado, so the only place I could really train was a swimming pool. My longest swim was a little over 9 hours. I hit 27 km. I also had some pretty awful chlorine inhalation and couldn't take a full breath for a few hours afterwards. The other part was not hydrating enough after the swim. I didn't realize how much the humidity would affect me, but I played catch up the entire run trying to stay hydrated.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What was enjoyable about your adventure?
Brian Leftwich: Seeing my family when I came out of the water. Watching my brother finish his first half marathon was a highlight. Birthday Cake Oreos. The swim and the swimmers were amazing. Andy Magness and his team put on a great event. Raising money for Make-A-Wish made it all worth it. We raised US$3000 to help make wishes come true. I was also able to honor my friend Johnathan Skinner who passed away in January from Cystic Fibrosis. He was truly the catalyst for 65 Rhinos.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: What is your athletic background?
Brian Leftwich: I grew up playing hockey. I never really liked running all that much. In 2010 I had become incredibly unhealthy, was a pack-a-day smoker and weighed 260 pounds. I walked into an MMA gym one day and decided to make a change. I began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Muay Thai at Zingano's in Broomfield, Colorado. I fell in love with it and competed in both disciplines. I was also introduced to CrossFit at the same time and began to do that 3-4 days a week. Eventually, I became a L1 trainer and coached at a local gym. I ran my first half marathon in 2012. Sub-2:00 which was my goal. In April 2013, I moved to Washington D.C. for a job and hooked up with a group called Team Red White and Blue. They encouraged me to keep running and training. I completed 2 ultra marathons and an Olympic Distance Triathlon. My ultras were a 30-mile trail run in Illinois and Fire On the Mountain 50 km Trail Run in Maryland. The triathlon was the first time I had swum in 20 years. I fell in love with the water and kept swimming when I wasn't running.
Daily News of Open Water Swimming: Do you have a website?
Brian Leftwich: www.65Rhinos.org. I am still updating the week of the race on the blog, but it should give you a pretty good idea of why I did it.
65 Rhinos chases wishes for children with Cystic Fibrosis through creative fundraising and athletic events. Leftwich completed the END-WET swim and run on behalf of Team Lily (shown above).
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference
Courtesy of WOWSA, Huntington Beach, California.
CLICK HERE TO REGISTER FOR THE CONFERENCE
The Global Open Water Swimming Conference is a conference on the sport of open water swimming, marathon swimming and swimming during triathlons and multi-sport endurance events.
The conference which has been attended by enthusiasts and luminaries from 6 continents, is devoted to providing information about the latest trends, race tactics, training techniques, equipment, psychological preparation, race organization and safety practices used in the sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons.
The conference's mission is to provide opportunities to listen and meet many of the world's most foremost experts in open water swimming, and to meet and discuss the sport among swimmers, coaches, administrators, event organizers, sponsors, vendors, officials, escort pilots, and volunteers from kayakers to safety personnel.
Dozens of presentations at the 2014 Conference at the Mount Stuart House cover numerous aspects of the vast and growing world of open water swimming where attendees can learn and share the latest trends, race tactics, training modalities, swimming techniques, equipment, race organization, logistics, operations, and safety practices for open water swimming as a solo swimmer, competitive athlete, fitness swimmer, masters swimmer, triathlete, multi-sport athlete, administrator, race promoter, sponsor or referee.
The conference was first held in Long Beach, California as part of the 2010 USA Swimming National Open Water Swimming Championships. It has since been held on the Queen Mary in California, at Columbia University and the United Nations in New York City, and in Cork, Ireland. This year in September, it comes to another iconic location, the Mount Stuart House on the Isle of Bute in Scotland.
"The Global Open Water Swimming Conference was started due to the desire and need for athletes, coaches, referees, administrators, race directors, promoters and sponsors from around the world to share, collect and learn information about the growing sports of open water swimming, marathon swimming and triathlons," said founder Steven Munatones. "Other swimming conferences usually offering nothing on open water swimming or perhaps a speech or two, but we thought open water swimming deserves its own global conference. It is great that the community shares its information via the online social network, but there is nothing like meeting other open water swimming enthusiasts face-to-face and talking about the sport from morning to night."
Speakers at the conference include English Channel swimmers, ice swimmers, record holders, renowned coaches, world champions, professional marathon swimmers, renowned race directors, officials and administrators from the Africa, Americas, Asia, Europe and Oceania.
"Because the audience is passionate and educated about the sport and its finest practitioners, the Global Open Water Swimming Conference is also the location of the induction ceremonies for the International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame and the annual WOWSA Awards that recognize the World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year, the World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year, and the World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year. Special Lifetime Achievement Awards are also occasionally presented to individuals who have made significant contributions to the sport over their career."
The 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference Programme
Wednesday, September 17th
Leave Glasgow to commence 2-day tour of Scotland [closest international airport is Glasgow]
Thursday, September 18th
Stay Mainland, North of Scotland
Friday, September 19th
14:00 - Swim Loch Lomond
17:00 - Head to Isle of Bute
19:30 - Scottish Banquet
21:30 - Dinner Dance
Saturday, September 20th
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
12:20 - Lunch and WOWSA Awards
13:40 – Speeches
15:40 - Round Table
19:00 - International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Dinner & Induction Ceremony
Sunday, September 21st
09:00 - Registration & Coffee
10:00 - Speeches
14:30 - Swim in St Ninian's Bay on the Isle of Bute
The luminaries of the open water swimming world who will be honored in Scotland will include:
* Sandra Bucha (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer and International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Jon Erikson (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Claudio Plit (Argentina), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Judith van Berkel-de Njis (Netherlands), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* David Yudovin (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Mercedes Gleitze (Great Britain), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* George Young (Canada), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Swimmer
* Dale Petranech (U.S.A.), International Swimming Hall of Fame Honor Open Water Contributor
* Melissa Cunningham (Australia), 2013 Irving Davids-Captain Roger Wheeler Memorial Award winner
* Vojislav Mijić (Serbia), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* James Anderson (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Dr. Jane Katz (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Administrator
* Indonesian Swimming Federation, , International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Organisation
* Elizabeth Fry (U.S.A.), International Marathon Swimming Hall of Fame Honour Swimmer
* Pádraig Mallon (Ireland), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Man of the Year
* Olga Kozydub (Russia), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Woman of the Year
* Bering Strait Swim (international team), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Performance of the Year
* International Ice Swimming Association (Ram Barkai, founder, South Africa), the 2013 World Open Water Swimming Offering of the Year
For additional articles on the 2014 Global Open Water Swimming Conference, visit:
* Olga Kozydub To Be Honored In Scotland
* Pádraig Mallon To Be Honored In Mount Stuart Castle
* Mount Stuart House, Splendid Setting For Swimming
* Colleen Blair To Kick-off Global Open Water Swimming Conference
* The Man Who Swims Better Than He Walks
* Joining In The Sea Goddess At The Hall Of Fame
* Mercedes Gleitze To Be Honored In Scotland
* The Incredible Career Of Merceded Gleitze
* Jon Erikson To Be Honoured In Florida
* The Incredible Career Of Mercedes Gleitze
* St Ninian's Bay To Host International Swim Conference
Copyright © 2014 by World Open Water Swimming Association
Swim Across the English Channel...
Who else is looking for a qualified open water swimming coach to help them swim across the English Channel?Chloë McCardel is a 6-time English Channel Swimmer who inspires and instructs. Access featured content by Chloë in this month's issue of the Open Water Swimming Magazine. Published monthly by WOWSA, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a digital, interactive publication made available exclusively to WOWSA members. See what you've been missing! Become a WOWSA member today!
Open Water Swimming Magazine
Open Water Swimming MagazineThe Open Water Swimming Magazine is the monthly magazine entirely focused on open water swimming heroes and heroines of every age, ability, and background. Published by the World Open Water Swimming Association, the Open Water Swimming Magazine is a free benefit to WOWSA members.
WOWSA Member Benefits include 12 issues of the Open Water Swimming Magazine, the annual 276-page Open Water Swimming Almanac, a free listing in Sponsor My Swim, outstanding product discounts from FINIS, an entry in Openwaterpedia and more...
The Other Shore
The Other Shore follows world record holder and legendary swimmer Diana Nyad as she comes out of a thirty-year retirement to re-attempt an elusive dream: swimming 103 miles non-stop from Cuba to Florida without the use of a shark cage. Her past and present collide in her obsession with a feat that nobody has ever accomplished. At the edge of The Devil’s Triangle, tropical storms, sharks, venomous jellyfish, and one of the strongest ocean currents in the world, all prove to be life-threatening realities. Timothy Wheeler’s documentary brings Diana Nyad’s extraordinary adventure to life as Diana sets out to prove that will and determination are all you need to make the unimaginable possible.
2014 Open Water Swimming Almanac
An Almanac for Open Water SwimmingAn almanac is essentially a body of knowledge which is so complete that it enables people in different fields to make predictions about the future of their respective industries.
This, for example, was the purpose of the traditional farmers almanacs. It enabled farmers to determine as accurately as possible which crops to plant for the greatest harvests in a given year.
But the farmers almanac was just one example among many.
There are, of course, many different kinds of almanacs.
In fact, there is even one for open water swimming...
Preview the Open Water Swimming Almanac:
The trends are very clear.
The tide is rising for open water swimming.