Downriver Nomad: A Triathlete’s Adventures and Adversities into the Rapids

Front cover of book Downriver Nomad

Triathlete and marathon swimmer, Rob Hutchings takes us on a whirlwind journey from triathlons and his first marathon swim in his home country of Canada, to Ironman competitions across the pond. Then down under to Australia and New Zealand where he embarked on marathon adventures off the beaten track, on land and in the water, which led to his biggest challenge – an unprecedented attempt at swimming the turbulent 256 km Clutha River.

In Downriver Nomad, Rob shares his story of adventures and adversities not only in the water, on the race course and off the beaten track, but also his struggles with an alcoholic father and his own unsuccessful path to fatherhood.

His is a story of humour, heartbreak and challenges that will inspire the absolute beginner in adventure sports to the seasoned endurance athlete. Join Rob on his nomadic adventures in triathlon, marathon swimming and adventure sports, packed with hairpin bends, whirlpools, rock dodging and white-water rapids.

Available in paperback and eBook from most major online retailers

Praise for Downriver Nomad

“A fascinating story of perseverance! Come hell or high water, Rob Hutchings keeps going!” Dean Karnazes, author of Ultramarathon Man and A Runner’s High

“A lively and captivating journey, proving there is always so much more behind a swimmer than the love of the water. The falling back before diving forward, the uncertainty in our dreams and the essential blind faith in ourselves. Be prepared to hold your breath through the twists and turns of Hutchings’ story, as if you are swimming alongside him.” – Outdoor Swimmer Magazine

“I love this book. Such a deeply personal and poignant story about the power of swimming and its ability to transform our lives for the better. I was hooked from the first page.” Jessica Hepburn, author of 21 Miles

“Even in the face of life-changing challenges, Hutchings discovers that endurance sport can be more than an escape; it can help provide the answers. Downriver Nomad explores what happens when you release insecurities, release the stigma of control—in life and in competition—and simply get lost to find yourself. A must-read for anyone with a desire to push the limits of endurance and a wanderlust for adventure.” Donna Phelan, Professional Triathlete and Triathlon Coach

“Rob’s story is an honest, easy and emotional read that shows us that swimming is not just a ‘thing’ we do; it becomes part of our life’s journey. Perhaps marathon swimming is an aquatic metaphor for life? Downriver Nomad is a personal account of life and swimming, sharing twists and bends, smooth runs and scary, uncertain rapids.

The ‘start’ of a marathon swim is never as a swimmer enters the water. Rob steps us right back into his childhood, giving a profoundly honest account of his formative years. Experiences, conversations, journeys, adventures and interactions all combine to lead to the ‘here and now.’ Rob shares the hilarious and heartbreaking moments that set him off on a journey that many years later take him to New Zealand about to jump into the Clutha River to tackle an epic and unprecedented marathon swim.” Dan Abel, New Zealand Open Water Swimming Coach, founder of Fit & Abel and Real Swim Adventures

“Rob’s dedication and commitment to tackling life’s challenges, both sporting and personal, with determination and a never-say-die attitude is prevalent in his book. Rob conveys the perseverance needed to tackle such gruelling and challenging sporting events and life’s rapids. – The Team at Rapid Ascent, Australia’s premier organization for Endurance, Mulit-sport and Adventure Races.

About Rob Hutchings

Rob Hutchings began training for triathlons in 1989 and marathon swimming in 1993. He competed for the Canadian National Triathlon team in the 20-24 age group in the 1998  World Championships. He earned his chiropractic degree from the Anglo-European College of Chiropractic in 2002. In 2020, he became the first person to swim the full length of the 256 km Clutha River, from Wanaka to the Pacific Ocean in New Zealand. He works as a chiropractor and lives with his wife in Christchurch, New Zealand.