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Lance Armstrong and Simon Whitfield Earn Podium Finish in a Wild, New Endurance Race

If you haven’t seen your buddy in years, you could text and ask him to meet you for a beer. If you’re Lance Armstrong, you text and ask if he wants to run and swim 23-plus miles while tethered together. Swimrun, an endurance sport born out of a bet between two Swedes in 2002, is the newest challenge for athletes like Armstrong who’ve already checked off grueling races like an Ironman.

The sport requires athletes to alternate between sections of trail running Opens a New Window. and open-water swimming Opens a New Window. . It exploded in Europe in 2014 and is just starting to catch on stateside, said Lars Finanger, co-founder and race director of SwimRun USA. There are now about a dozen races in the U.S. Armstrong may be best known for cycling Opens a New Window. , but he started out by kicking butt in the pool and won his first triathlon at age 13. When his pro cycling career ended, he found his competitive second act in the triathlon world, and he earned a spot on the podium at several Half Ironman events in 2012.

Not one to hold back his opinion, Armstrong sent out a tweet that year describing the shorter Olympic triathlon event as “a shampoo, blow dry, and a 10K foot race,” and he took issue with the Olympic rule that allows cyclists to draft off each other. Canadian Simon Whitfield, a four-time Olympic triathlete and arguably one of the greatest triathletes of all time, took offense, which set off a Twitter battle that received a maelstrom of media coverage.

Armstrong was eventually banned from competing in the Kona Ironman World Championship after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency formally charged him with drug violations from his Tour de France days. Now he has set his sights on dominating swimrun, and for his latest race in Washington’s San Juan Islands, he made an interesting choice for a partner: Simon Whitfield.

Both men said that the media blew their tiff out of proportion, and while they may have their differences, they have an incredible mutual respect for one another.

“There’s a whole other narrative people want to assign to Lance that I’ve never cared for,” Whitfield told Men’s Journal. “After years of emails and phone calls we met in person in Austin 15 years ago and went out for a beer........"------

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