Between a rock and a wet place – A word from the Editor

Feb 17, 2017 | 0 comments

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Utö 2016 (Photo: Jakob Edholm)

“You guys are crazy.” First thought that popped into my head when friends Jasmina Glad-Schreven and Thomas Schreven Skyped to tell me about this team sport “swimrun”, where you run in your wetsuit and swim in your running shoes while crossing the Stockholm archipelago.

“It was apparently started by these drunk Swedes who made a bet …” I heard them explain as I contemplatively looked out my window at the Mediterranean Sea. Living less than 500 metres from the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, island hopping across technical, rocky terrain and braving icy Baltic Sea temps seemed unimaginable, borderline ridiculous.

Ignorance is bliss, my husband and I signed up for ÖTILLÖ Utö 2015. Frozen sinuses and bloodied legs later, we were addicted … but not just because we crossed the finish line.

Swimrun is a magnificent adventure, like a playdate with Mother Nature where you want her to like you but chances are she’s going give you the (very) cold shoulder.

When I interviewed Race Directors and swimrun founders Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott for an airline magazine feature, I will never forget Michael’s words: “Nature dictates.”

These two words have become my swimrun mantra, to get me through those training sessions when jellyfish are gnawing at me like an all-you-can-eat buffet; the jellies are not in my way, I’m in theirs. Thanks Michael.

Yet it’s this “Us versus Nature” element that instantly unites swimrunners, no matter their ranking. To make it to the starting line, each team has had to endure months of tough outdoor preparation, both physically and mentally. Whether it’s “Hey, did you hear that Team Addnature swam from Finland to Sweden as part of their ÖTILLÖ training?” or, like Nena Glocker, signed up for a Sprint Race without knowing how to do the front crawl, we’ve earned our rites of swimrun passage.

Swimrun is a magnificent adventure, like a playdate with Mother Nature where you want her to like you but chances are she’s going give you the (very) cold shoulder.

As the sport is still in its infancy, actually planning for a swimrun is a work-in-progress because, unlike for ultras and the Ironman, there’s relatively little training information out there, and there’s no standard set of equipment every team is required to use. For outsiders, it can seem a daunting sport.

This new Swimrun Life Magazine intends to bring together a community of les sportifs, a crossbreed of adventure racers, endurance junkies, and, like me, those who aren’t athletically gifted but embrace the holistic benefits swimrun brings to our lives.

From new races to familiar faces, and from training tips to gear and gadgets, Swimrun Life Magazine is the inside track to “All you’ll ever need to know about swimrun but were afraid ask”. It’s not just about focusing on the pros but encouraging those new to the sport to have a little swimfun, so if you’re looking to try a race and need a partner, check out our forum.

These days, swimrunning along the Prom as we gear up for the new race season which starts in Hvar April 2, our friends just shake their heads and say, “You guys are crazy.”

Nancy Heslin, Editor

Contributors in this issue:
Josefine Ås, Galahad Clark, Jonas Colting, Jakob Edholm, Charles d’Hauss, Nancy Heslin, Michael Lemmel, Stuart McInnes, Marcus Wärme, Nils Zätterström

Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue # 1 (Feb/Mar 2017)

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

More magazine articles

A word from the editor

When I was in Hvar, Croatia; for the kick off to the ÖTILLÖ swimrun season, I popped my head into to hear Michael Lemmel giving a presentation on the history of ÖTILLÖ and the evolution of the sport of swimrun. My jaw dropped when he showed the cover of 220 Triathlon magazine with the headline “The Rise of Swimrun: The New Endurance Race to Rival Ironman?”

Race Directors’ Moment: a screaming start to the season

Only one team is left in the pursuit of one million Swedish Krona, but the boys in the Golden Jersey will be chased yet again by the top world teams at ÖTILLÖ Utö on May 28th. For an extremely intense course like this, the tougher your training conditions the better so that you can be ready for anything.

UTÖ: a tribute to swimrun

In 2013, Mats Skott and Michael Lemmel had more demand for the original ÖTILLÖ event than they could handle so they decided to do a qualifying race in late spring. It was a given that the first qualifier would be on Utö, as a tribute to the origin of swimrun.

ÖTILLÖ Legend #2: Navy Seal Joe

In 2007, a team from Navy Seals in San Diego signed up for “a new swimrunning race in Sweden. They arrived at Stockholm airport directly from a mission at an undisclosed location. Joe had been throwing up the whole flight. The next day, the pair were at the start and went for it.

Meet a World Champion: Kristin Larsson

As one of swimrun’s most exceptional athletes Kristin Larsson is one of a kind having won six swimrun races in 2016 and broken numerous course records. A mom to her three-year-old son, motherhood has not stopped her. In fact it seems to have made her stronger than ever.

Getting a-HEAD with the right swimrun

While everybody knows that swimrun originated in the Stockholm archipelago, it’s less known that the headquarters of HEAD Swimming, which produce swimrun wetsuits, is situated in the town of Rapallo, on the Mediterranean coast of northern Italy.

International partners
  • Head
  • Campz Addnature
  • Garmin
  • Vivo Barefoot
Processing...
Thank you! Your subscription has been confirmed. You'll hear from us soon.
Subscribe to Swimrun Life Magazine newsletter
ErrorHere