In August 2015 the world’s finest athletes gathered in one place to push their bodies to the limits. No, we’re not talking about the Beijing World Championships, we’re talking about the 30th annual World Bog Snorkelling Championships.

Bog snorkelling, WalesBy Peter Barnett © www.focusdisplay.co.uk

That’s right. Last weekend around 150 competitors from across the globe assembled at Waen Rhydd peat bog, near Llanwrtyd Wells in Wales, to swim two lengths of the treacherous 55-metre water-filled trench.

While the organisers are strict in enforcing the rule that participants can only use doggy paddle (front crawl and breaststroke are banned), the dress code is more relaxed. This year’s outfits ranged from sensible wetsuits to an Elvis Presley costume.

Man in bog, Bog snorkelling, WalesBy Peter Barnett © www.focusdisplay.co.uk

The world record is held by Kirsty Johnson, who paddled an impressive one minute 22.56 seconds in 2014. This year’s champ, Haydn Pitchforth, missed out on the record by a mere four seconds (but he still won, so he shouldn’t get too bogged down).

Woman at Bog Snorkelling Championships, WalesBy Peter Barnett © www.focusdisplay.co.uk

Set up by 80-year-old local Gordon Green thirty years ago, the Bog Snorkelling Championships have turned Llanwrtyd Wells into something of an eccentric sports capital. In June the otherwise sleepy town hosts the Man Versus Horse Marathon, while in November the two-day Real Ale Wobble takes place – a perfectly hazardous hybrid of mountain biking and beer drinking.

Peter Barnett focus display creditBy Peter Barnett © www.focusdisplay.co.uk

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