Swimrun has seen a surge of popularity among multisport enthusiasts with 200 races being held worldwide in 2016. And Monday 5th September sees the Stockholm archipelago in Sweden play host to the original – and toughest – swimrun race as 120 teams take on the ÖtillÖ grand final.
This marks the culmination of a year of qualifying races that included the new British race, the ÖtillÖ Swimrun Isles of Scilly in June (see report here). Teams of two will swim and run a total of 75km as they traverse the 26 islands from Sandhamn to Utö, a race which breaks down into 10km of cold, rough sea swimming in the Baltic and 65km of tough trails, slippery rocks and rocky terrain (see our beginners’ guide to swimrun here).
The event will include some notable names from the world of multisport, including Scottish triathlete, Ironman UK 2010 winner and three-time Ironman 70.3 winner Fraser Cartmell. He joins ultra-runner Andrew Fargus, who won the Scilly ÖtillÖ race with former pro triathlete Richard Stannard, who is unable to compete in Sweden this time. In total, 12 teams this year will include British athletes.
Another recognisable tri name competing this year is Faris Al Sultan, professional triathlete and 2005 Kona winner, who races with Werner Leitner.
Image: Jakob Edholm
Ones To Watch
Some previous winners and record holders will be heading to the championship race this weekend with titles to defend. Look out for Daniel Hansson and Lelle Moberg who hold the course record (2014) of 8 hours 16 mins. Also competing in the men’s teams are reigning world champs Paul Krochak and Oscar Olsson.
In the mixed race 2015 winners Staffan Björklund and Marika Wagner will be back to see if they can match or better their fifth-overall place of last year. Plus in the women’s teams, reigning world champs Annika Eriksson and Maja Tesch will compete in separate teams, with Kristin Larsson and Bibben Nordblom respectively,
The race will be streamed live online at http://otilloswimrun.com/live from 04:45 UK time. The 220 Triathlon team will also be following the race and posting live updates on Twitter (@220Triathlon) throughout, plus check back here for race reports and interviews.
ÖtillÖ Final 15
Also taking place this weekend is the new ÖtillÖ Final 15 race. Held on Saturday 3rd September, this gives swimrun teams the chance to experience the last stages of the Grand Final course in a shorter race and is one of a series of ‘sprint’ events launched by ÖtillÖ to introduce more athletes to the sport of swimrun.
In total, Final 15 athletes will race just over 2km of swimming and 14km of running, taking in a slightly modified route to the grand final finish line in Üto. Competing for 220 Triathlon is Editor Helen Webster (@Helen_Webster on Twitter) who joins a media team. Helen also competed earlier in the year in the ÖtillÖ swimrun isles of Scilly race with Swedish multi-time ÖtillÖ world champs finisher Göran Wernqvist (read her race blog here).
The Final 15 will also be streamed live at http://otilloswimrun.com/live, starting at 11:15am UK time on Saturday 3rd September.