Bog snorkelling. To most, it doesn’t sound like the most appealing of hobbies. It shouldn’t come as a surprise really when you’re guaranteed to be covered in mud, bugs and various other unknowns whilst finding your way through six foot deep murky waters.
And, to make matters worse, why not throw in a run and mountain bike either side of the bog snorkelling task to make it a triathlon of extraordinary sorts. It is often referred to one of the most gruelling events in the British sporting calendar’s – and rightly so.
This event is not something dreamed up; it is a real thing with an actual title – The World Bog Snorkelling Triathlon to be precise as well as its own rules and legislation. It takes place each year in Britain’s smallest town Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales and has in excess of 100 participants taking part.
To cross the finish line, competitors have to run seven-and-a-half miles, complete two lengths of the town’s infamous 135-foot long, six-foot deep bog and cycle 19 miles across the most demanding of mountain terrain.
The bog snorkelling section of the race enforces that competitors must wear a snorkel and flippers and complete the course using flipper power alone. Wet suits are not compulsory, but are usually worn.
It has all of the ingredients for what we love here at Guinness World Records and, in 2008, we recognised the winner of the triathlon that year – Daniel Bent – as the fastest person to have completed the incredible race in a time of 2 hr 23 min 46 sec. He had been taking part in the event for a number of years and now had a Guinness World Records title to make all of that hard, muddy work all worthwhile.
Bent is a seasoned triathlete who once competed for Great Britain and has also completed various other fitness and sporting challenges all over the world – including a 9,000 cycle ride across India. He also orchestrated a running relay across the United States that raised half a million dollars for charity. In addition to this he writes books and travels the world hoping to enthuse and motivate individuals to do extraordinary things.
He admits bog snorkelling is a real passion of his (it has to be really if you choose to stick your head in and trawl through thick nasty water) and he would in fact go and improve his record breaking time a year later in 2009 in an astonishing 2 hours 21 minutes and 5 seconds – knocking off over two minutes from his previous time. You would expect that his family ask the same sort of questions as per those of our traditional record holders: why? Why do it?
Well you wouldn’t get this question from his sister Natalie who also holds the world record in the female category having run a time of 3 hr 9 min 59 sec in 2008 and 2 hr 45 min 40 seconds in 2010. You could call them the ‘mud siblings’.
Speaking after breaking his own world record alongside his sister, Bent said: ‘We did it last year and it seemed so much harder than last year,’ he said. ‘I must have tried to numb the memory of it. On the run you are kept going uphill and then you have to run down rivers.
‘On the bike you have to jump off cliff edges as well. It is really, really tough but I love that stuff.
There is nothing wrong with a bit of pain!’ His sister also felt ‘on top of the world’ to win the women’s event and achieve a Guinness World Records title.
This unique challenge in Wales continues to be an event looked upon with intrigue and interest. Whilst it’s not something we would recommend to anyone trying, we do think it’s something incredibly fun to watch and look on from the sidelines. You stay a lot cleaner that way and smell a lot nicer.