The Dart 10k is annual event held by the outdoor swimming society. Starting at Totnes you swim downriver to Dittisham, which is near the mouth of the river Dart.
The organisers of this event should give themselves a huge pat on the back for the way they manage and run this event. From the moment you sign up to the time you enter the water the organisers do everything they can to assist with training and reassure you that this is going to be an enjoyable experience.
Swimmers are set off in waves with slower swimmers going first so that in the end everyone finishes roughly around the same time. We seeding ourselves mid pack based on our predicted swim time so there were a couple of waves ahead of us when we set off.
One of the key things to be aware of in this race is the fast flow of the current. You don’t realise just how fast it is pushing you along until you stop at a floating feed station when you really have to hang on other wise you are swept away. Lots of food available at each feed station, mini flapjacks, sweeties, energy drinks, gels etc which you do need to take on board. Again lots of encouragement, smiles and laughter all the well down this event.
Safety boats and paddleboarders line the route and keep you safely on track and out of the way of ferries and boats which become quite frequent as you get down river near to the end at Dartmouth. You always feel really safe and never alone on this swim. Adrian and I lost each other once we started, which I had expected as he is a faster swimmer than me, however, we met up at the first feed station and from there decided to swim together which was really nice and made the whole experience really enjoyable for me.
10k is a long way to swim and you do need to train and get swim fit for the distance. We did well finishing in 2 hours 40 mins which gives you some idea of the speed of the river flow. I was very glad to get out then, felt a bit sea sick and even with my wetsuit on I was getting cold. My lips were blue and Adrian was shivering all over. The organisers have a huge tent with heaters and helpers on hand to help you get out your wetsuit and changed. They also have hot tubs and all sorts of food and drink stalls set on site which we didn’t really make much use of as we were so keen to get dry, warm and our clothes on.
Every finisher was given a large towel with the Dart 10k branded on it, which is a lovely keepsake of the event. Overall, we highly recommend the Dart 10k but do make sure you train for this event it is not one to just have a go at, concentrate on building your swim mileage and fitness up over a period of weeks in the pool and swim with a buddy or a group of friends as it makes the whole event more enjoyable.