By Eric Balmer
Through covering a semester worth of random sports each week, I’ve come across many obscure sports. None perhaps compare to the one I explored for the sports section this week: Mountain Bike Bog Snorkelling. No sport I’ve ever learned about pairs the grossness of muddy swamps and fear of drowning in one grand event.
The world championships for Bike Bog Snorkelling are held in Wales. In the early 2000’s a local pub landlord, after a little too much whiskey, thought it would be a good idea to ride a mountain bike through marshy waters with a snorkel.
Each contest is based in the small town of Llanwrtyd Wells. Participants are required to ride their mountain bikes two lengths of the “Waen Rhydd Bog” in the town, which is only six feet deep but still deep enough for riders to use snorkels. Riders must cross the 45 foot marsh just twice to completely finish the race and whoever has the fastest time, wins the world championship.
Times of the race range anywhere from a minute to just over two minutes. The world record holder for both sexes is Dineka Maguire, who in 2013 completed the competition in one minute and 23 seconds.
Possibly the most interesting facts of the race are not about the course itself, but about the specifics of what’s penalized. Certain events that may happen as a result of the race including falling off your bike or even vomiting because of the awful odor of the swamp, will not count against the competitors. Despite all of the undesirable possibilities associated with the race, people from all over the world come to give the competition a shot. In an attempt to piggy back off of the success of the untraditional competition, the small welsh town has hosted the Triathlon Bog Snorkelling Championships.