Swimrun

THE MEGANISI SPLASH

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Intro

THE MEGANISI SPLASH

The Big Blue Swim in collaboration with Jack Maitland and The Sports Ashram is delighted to offer a bespoke Swimrun training camp taking place at end of May on the Greek Ionian islands of Lefkada and Meganisi. At the introductory price of £750 per participant, the week’s program will run from Sunday to Sunday and has been designed specifically for anyone planning to do a Swimrun race in the future, whether it is your first attempt or you already have some race experience. It is also a fantastic opportunity to have an active holiday for the swimming and running enthusiasts out there, with expert coaching advice on both. Set on the tranquil islands of Lefkada and Meganisi, a notable haven for trail running, amongst the rugged green landscapes, olive groves and of course the big blue Ionian waters of the inland sea.

Trip Dates

  • Sun 5 - Sun 12 June 2022
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Swimrun Routes

Swimrun Map

SWIMRUN – TRIP INTRODUCTION

The Big Blue Swim in collaboration with Jack Maitland and The Sports Ashram is delighted to offer a bespoke Swimrun training camp taking place at end of May on the Greek Ionian islands of Lefkada and Meganisi.

The week’s program will run from Sunday to Sunday and has been designed specifically for anyone planning to do a Swimrun race in the future, whether it is your first attempt or you already have some race experience. It is also a fantastic opportunity to have an active holiday for the swimming and running enthusiasts out there, with expert coaching advice on both.

Set on the tranquil islands of Lefkada and Meganissi, a notable haven for trail running, amongst the rugged green landscapes, olive groves and of course the big blue Ionian waters of the inland sea. Swimming will be supported by our traditional wooden sailing boat Mowgli and athletes will stay at Ilios Club Hotel where coaching advice seminars and yoga sessions are also delivered.

The week will culminate with a sprint distance Swimrun race where you can test out your newly found skills and fitness while having a great time. There will also be a comprehensive programme of yoga sessions designed to compliment both swimming and running. You can attend the week as an individual or participate with your racing/training partner.

WHAT IS INCLUDED IN THE HOLIDAY

The trip starts on your arrival at Ilios Club Hotel. On your arrival day you will be welcomed, shown into your rooms and in the evening have a chance to meet your fellow swimrunners and be briefed on the week’s itinerary and safety aspects over relaxing complimentary drinks.

You will also be given a Swimrun Lefkada-themed Big Blue T-shirt, a water bottle and a swimming hat. Participants in this camp will also be eligible for a discount on a Yonda swimrun wetsuit.

On the first day of the trip our guides/coaches will video your swimming technique for an analysis session. We then view this with you and offer advice on achieving a more efficient, injury-free stroke; individual advice can also be given during the week. Buffet style breakfast is offered every morning at the hotel and we will then travel in our traditional wooden boat Mowgli and support rib to the swimrun locations; see daily itinerary for precise info. You will be looked after both in and out of the water by experienced guides who will offer guidance and assistance.

SUMMARY

  • On Arrival: Complimentary drink, T-shirt, Water bottle, Swimming hat
  • 1st Day: Individual underwater video, Individual stroke analysis
  • Hotel accommodation
  • Breakfast
  • 2 motorised boats (One main and 1 auxiliary)
  • Qualified swimrun guides/coaching
  • Cool drinks during sessions
  • Hot drinks after sessions
  • Variety of snacks at the end of each session
Day 1 - Sunday

Arrival of all athletes at Ilios Club Hotel, Yeni, Lefkada. Swimrunners have the opportunity of a relaxing afternoon in the hotel’s swimming pool and chilling out in the hotel’s bar.

Swimmers also have the chance (at their own risk) to swim in the idyllic setting of Desimi Bay, about 30 mins walk from the hotel. Swimming in the bay where Ilios Hotel is located is not recommended due to boat traffic.

In the evening we meet at the hotel’s pool bar where an introductory Yoga session is on offer. Over complimentary welcome drinks we then formally welcome you to the island and give you a chance to get to know your fellow swimrunners; this is followed by an introductory briefing to the trip by our Lefkada based team.

Day 2 - Monday

On our first morning we will meet at the hotel swimming pool where everyone will have their stroke filmed for our analysis later in the day.

We will then run the 2.5 kilometres to Desimi bay as a group followed by a swim session along the bay, focusing on open water skills. After this introduction to the Ionian waters, there will be time for a leisurely lunch in one of the seaside tavernas on the beach.

In the afternoon we will be focusing on running technique. The session will include drills, strides, uphill and downhill runs. This will take place on the unsurfaced road that follows the coast to the south.

After returning to the hotel by foot there will be one hour of yoga with a swim emphasis, followed by swim stroke analysis and feedback on swim technique.

Day 3 - Tuesday

Today we board Mowgli and sail for 30 mins to Fteri Beach for our first session of the day. We’ll be putting into practice the feedback from yesterday’s swim analysis during a one hour swim session.

Following this we continue the journey south with Mowgli to Sivota harbour to have lunch in one of the traditional Greek tavernas. After lunch we will have an informal discussion around the specific equipment and tactics of swimrun racing.

In the afternoon we sail to the nearby turquoise water and stony beach of Mikros Gialos. Here we will do a swimrun brick session consisting of multiple short swims and runs with plenty of opportunity to practice entering and exiting the water…really good fun!

Mowgli will take us back to Yeni where we will finish the day with an all-round yoga session.

Day 4 - Wednesday

Today will be tough but very rewarding! First of all we will travel by boat to Gria Lagada, a small beach on the other side of our hotel. Here we will set up a swimrun course and time you using different combinations of swimrun equipment.

This will be followed by lunch back in Yeni, in one of several seaside tavernas, followed by a discussion and question & answer session on all matters swimrun, triathlon and yoga.

In the afternoon we transfer by minibus to the small village of Poros, where we start a scenic and mainly downhill 10-12 kilometre run back home; along the way we will be doing a couple of short swims, at Fteri beach and Desimi bay.

Then we will roll out the yoga mats and rejuvenate your legs!

Day 5 - Thursday

Today we make our first visit to the neighbouring island of Meganisi. We sail across the channel on Mowgli and base ourselves on the west coast at Ai Yiannis. Here, we will do some specific race preparation using the beaches and trails around Ai Yiannis lake. This will be an opportunity to practise working with a partner and using full-race equipment during a swimrun brick session.

After the session we board Mowgli and sail to the bustling town of Nidri for lunch and the option for some shopping.

Everyone has the afternoon and evening free for sight-seeing and relaxation.

You can choose to remain in Nidri or get the boat back to the hotel.

Day 6 - Friday

We board Mowgli and take a 45 minute ride to the island of Meganisi and its stunning rocky coastline.

We start by swimming in and exploring the well-known cave of Papanikolis. We then swim a 3km route along this scenic sculptural coastline exploring the caves and small bays only accessible by sea.

On completion of the long swim, Mowgli takes us to Spilia for lunch. Afterwards we will do a briefing for tomorrow’s race over some excellent coffee; teams and start times will be decided.

In the afternoon there will be an optional trail run from the hotel taking in a viewpoint and some steep hills! The full route is 10km.

The yoga session which follows will work on techniques that will get you all in the right mindset for race day.

Day 7 - Saturday

Race day! After breakfast Mowgli will take us to the peninsulas and inlets of Meganisi’s east coast. There will be an exciting sprint distance race course awaiting you. We’ve devised a varied route consisting of 6 swims and 6 runs and we expect finishing times to be anywhere between one and two hours.

Its time to celebrate! A well-deserved lunch and rest will be taken in Vathi the nearby port, where the taverna Marinata serves the best delicacies. After a relaxing sail back to base a recovery yoga session will be offered pre-dinner. A fun prize-giving and social will be our final get together along with a barbecue by the hotel pool.

Day 8 - Sunday

The week has gone too fast and it is our final goodbye, “sto epanithin” (until we meet again). This is the last morning in the accommodation and swimrunners are asked to vacate rooms at Ilios Club Hotel by 12 noon. If you need to stay for a little longer please ask the hotel staff or let any of the guides know.

If guests are staying longer in Lefkada we can suggest accommodation options and places to visit in and around the area.

FLIGHTS

Flights that feed Lefkada island land at Preveza airport (a.k.a. Aktion) which is 20 minutes away by car from Lefkada Town, the capital and 50 mins away from our hotel in Yeni. International charter flights operate from May to October and connect most major European cities and capitals. From the U.K the feeding airports are that of Gatwick, Manchester and Birmingham and usually operate on a Thursday or Sunday, there and back. The typical operators are Torair, Thomson, Olympic Airlines and EasyJet. There is an online flight search facility specifically for Lefkada on www.lefkas.net

PLEASE NOTE. The welcome briefing takes place on the first Sunday at 7.00 pm at our hotel in Yeni (Ilios Club Hotel) so please book your flights accordingly so that you can attend.

Ryanair operate flights to neighbouring Corfu and Kefallonia. There is a local plane skyexpress that flies between Corfu, Kefallonia and Lefkada (Preveza Airport). Skyexpress flight timetables are released in May of each year.

Alternatively from Kefallonia you can catch a ferry from Fiskardo (North Kefallonia) to Vasiliki (South Lefkada) and then a bus to Nidri, approx. 20 mins away. The ferryboat ‘Captain Aristides’ operates a service to and from the Islands of Kefallonia (Fiscardo). The ‘Captain Aristides’ carries both cars and foot passengers. The phone number of their agent on Lefkada is + 30 (26450) 93278. You can also fly to Athens International Airport and then catch a flight or coach to Lefkada.

BY ROAD

DRIVING

The recent construction of the beautiful bridge of Rio-Antirio and the very recent upgrading of the road infrastructure have greatly accelerated the travel by road from the capital Athens, 385 km away. If you were to travel on your own by car please be aware that there are motorway toll charges, approximately 25 euros each way and you will need cash for this.

BY BUS

Buses from Athens cost about 30 euros, leave regularly and take 5 hours and this might be a good way to get to Lefkada if you first want to visit Athens, as part of an extensive holiday. There are several buses per day to/from Athens. In Athens the Lefkada bus operates from and to the Leoforos Kiffisos Bus Station. A taxi between the Leoforos Kiffisos Bus Station and Athens Airport costs about 35 Euros and takes about 40 minutes.

Bus Tickets between Lefkada and Athens can be booked online with KTEL

Lefkada KTEL bus station phone : Lefkada offices : +30 26450 22364

Athens KTEL bus station offices : (Kiffisos area) +30 210 5150108

GETTING TO US FROM THE AIRPORT

TAXI

From Preveza airport we recommend you catch a taxi to the hotel and the cost for this is approximately 50 euros, which might be worth it for a company of 3-4 people. We will send you a group email prior to your trip, so that you are able to liaise with swimmers from your week if you decide to make a group taxi booking. The email will contain taxi booking information so you are able to book a taxi direct via email.

BUS

You can catch the local bus from the airport to Lefkada Town (the capital of the island). This will take approx. 20 minutes and the cost is 2.20 euros. From Lefkada Town bus station you will then catch a connecting bus to Nidri, a further 20 minutes ride and this should cost 2.20 euros.

There are 6 buses a day, Monday to Saturday, that run from Preveza Town via Preveza airport (Aktion) to Lefkada Town. They depart Preveza Town at: 7.00, 9.45, 12.30, 14.45, 16.45 and 20.00 and 15 mins after departure they arrive at Preveza airport. On a Sunday there are 3 buses at 14.30, 16.45 and 20.00, (again 15 mins later they arrive at the airport).

CAR HIRE

If wishing to explore before or after the trip you might also choose to hire a car from the airport:

The Big Blue recommends Parga Car Hire (If contacting Parga Car Hire please mention The Big Blue for special rates). Parga Car Hire also own the franchises for National/Alamo and Budget and they deliver cars from as far as Igoumenitsa ferry port all along the coast up to Preveza aiport. They guarantee excellent customer service and also guarantee their cars are in excellent condition. http://www.parga-carhire.com

Accommodation

Swimmers stay at Ilios Club Hotel situated in the exclusive area of Yeni, Lefkada, a very green and tranquil wooded waterside location.

The individual rooms and apartments of the hotel are spacious with kitchen facilities and are situated amongst matured olive groves and well maintained gardens offering shade and a relaxed Greek atmosphere.

The hotel offers a buffet-style breakfast, has wi-fi in the communal areas, a swimming pool and a poolside bar where swimmers can unwind and indulge in a drink after a hard day’s swim. Ilios Club Hotel has a terraced restaurant with views across the water where Big Blue swimmers can have the day’s specialities at special discounted prices and a traditional ‘Greek night’ is also on offer once a week.

Along the green coastline of Yeni are also a number of small traditional family-owned tavernas, dotted along the edge of the water, offering you the chance to sample the local fresh fish and other mouth-watering delights, while watching the sun set behind the hills.

Big Blue Swim Accommodation

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Mowgli

Mowgli, The Big Blue’s main boat, has been purchased recently and has undergone considerable restoration at the local boatyard in Lefkada by a master craftsman. She is a beautiful 15 metre long motorsailer, constructed in mahogany throughout with a teak deck, by the famous Picchioti shipyards who are in operation still today constructing wonderful boats. Originally commissioned in La Spezia, in Italy in1963 she has in the past sailed the world over and has even reached as far afield as Hong Kong! She was designed by the Italian boat designer F.A. Boretti who must have been in love with unusual traditional shapes as there are only 2 boats of this unique design worldwide; one of the deciding factors in her purchase!

Although there is still quite a bit of cosmetic work to be done, everything on her works well, complying with all the latest and stringent maritime safety laws and offering speeds up to 13 Knots with her brand new 320HP diesel engine, ideal for cruising around the Greek seas. From the comfort of her ample teak deck and the huge bean bags especially purchased for lounging on, swimmers indulge under the welcoming Greek sun and peruse the diverse coastline of the Ionian Sea, in the gentle and unassuming luxury of Mowgli.

Apart from the ample sunbathing space at the front of the boat there is also ample shaded area at the rear of Mowgli where swimmers can have a break from the sun.

The pilothouse in the middle section is big enough for people not only to escape from the sun but also have an indoors rest with plenty of comfortable seating. We normally use this area as the ‘dry room’ where swimmers deposit their bags and change into dry clothes ready for the lunch stops; towards the back of the boat and down a few steps there are 2 comfortable beds for people to have a proper rest and this is where the toilet is located with a shower facility.

There is also sunbathing space at the top but only for a small number of people offering 360o panoramic views of the islands and interesting landmarks we cruise by; a small luxurious experience not to be missed by anyone!

The Boat - Mowgli

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Testimonials

A magical week spent in the great abyss with wonderful people. Thank you big blue, for sharing this experience and making it so brilliant, and to new friends made.

Dizzy, Brighton, U.K

Testimonials

Loved every minute of the trip. Every island was different, the swims were sometimes relaxing, sometimes challenging, but always fun, with the clearest water I've ever swum in. Accommodation is in an idyllic location and the local knowledge is evident in the careful planning and the choice of crossings and coastal swims. I'll be back!

Kate, Newquay, U.K

Testimonials

It was the holiday of a lifetime, absolute heaven.

Victoria & Angela, Cumbria, U.K

Testimonials

I would class this as a fantastic holiday, first class accommodation, good food, lovely boat for chilling out, warm water, breath taking scenery, more calories burned than consumed and great fun.

Patricia, Leeds, U.K

Testimonials

It turned out to be even better than I imagined! I really discovered the big blue! Thank you!

Nathalie, Austria

Testimonials

The Kefalonia to Ithica swim was sensational and such a swimming highlight for me. My tour had a fabulous group of people and we had such a great time. Michael is such a nice, caring, responsible and welcoming host - he made our holiday.

Graham, Reigate, U.K

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