One of the craziest events in the world returns to the UK this summer. The 34th annual edition of the Rude Health World Bog Snorkelling Championships will take place in Llanwrtyd Wells this August, welcoming hundreds of participants and thousands of spectators from all over the world. The event, described as of the ‘top must-do things from around the world’ by Lonely Planet, sees competitors paddle through Waen Rhydd bog for a chance to beat the bog and take out the championship title. In addition to the competition, the event also raises awareness of the environmental importance of peats bogs.
The small-town sport is said to date back to 1976 as what started as a bar bet. Eventually, the sport grew into an annual competition, welcoming hundreds of participants, from as far as Australia, Canada and Korea, to the town of Llanwrtyd Wells.
“It’s utterly ridiculous and it’s for everyone, all ages, abilities, shapes and sizes, fancy dress or not”
The current world championship title was taken out by Neil Rutter in 2018, with a record-breaking time of 1 minute and 18.82 seconds. The 2018 ladies champion is Elinor MacCormac with a winning time of 1 minute and 48.46 seconds. The overseas champion title has been taken out by Jean van de Putte from Belgium, with a time of 1 minute and 38.75 seconds.
The competition takes place in two bog trenches. Each competitor will be allocated one of the two bogs, where they must snorkel two lengths of the bog (120 yards in total). Participants from all ages, genders and locations are able to participate in their own respective categories for a chance to take out the winner’s title; using only doggy paddle with their arms, as other forms of stroking are prohibited.
The World Bog Snorkelling Championships will feature a variety of different categories for all participants. This year’s categories will feature overall male and female champions, as well as options for over 50’s and junior males and females. Locals will also participate in their own categories to take out the number one title in the male, female and junior categories. Of course, there will also be a fancy dress costume category with three winners.
Taking place a day prior to the championships is the Bog Triathlon. Labelled as one of the most unusual events on the triathlon calendar, the Bog Triathlon originated in 2005 and there has been a high demand for the event ever since. The event consists of an eight-mile run, followed by a single length 60-yard bog snorkel in the peat bog trench and finishing off with a twelve-mile mountain bike ride.
There is also a ‘bite-size’ version of the event, ideal for junior competitors. The bite-size version consists of a three-mile run, 60-yard bog snorkel and six-mile mountain bike ride.
Anything goes when it comes to bog snorkelling! You can wear literally anything from a traditional wetsuit to a fancy dress costume! The only requirements are a snorkel, mask/goggles and flippers. These will be available to loan on-site; however, it is recommended to bring your own. If you are spectating, it is recommended to bring coats, wellies, and umbrellas.
In addition to the competition, the event will also feature a bar, bouncy castle, live music and more. There will be stalls selling bog snorkelling merchandise, as well as a range of pubs and food options.
The bog will feature catering from a wide variety of local vendors. The local butcher from Cammarch Valley Butchers will be providing burgers from the BBQ. Vegetarian options and alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers and beverages will also be available. You can also find fair-trade coffee and ice cream on site.
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