A swimrun training adventure

Jul 27, 2017 | 1 comment

By Nancy Heslin

In the summer of 2014, Simon Bôrjeson and Rasmus Regnstrand were driving across Norway, discussing how to plan the following season’s training. Rasmus suggested that they make an adventure out of it, and Simon, who like all Swedes seem to, happened to have a map of Scandinavia on his knee when something grabbed his attention: “Let’s swimrun across Åland Archipelago,” he said.

The swimrun boom in the Stockholm Archipelago at this point was well underway, with ÖTILLÖ being the driving force, but as far as Team Addnature Östersjösimmet knew, the neighbouring archipelago of Åland still remained unchartered swimrun territory, waiting to be discovered.

“A quick Google search revealing that this archipelago is the world’s largest with over 40,000 islands made us even more stoked,” Simon told SLM. “The decision was taken there and then. Together with Rasmus, we would swimrun across Åland Archipelago.”

Once back in Sweden, the duo presented their new idea to their sponsor Addnature, who approved but wanted to add one detail – a start from mainland Sweden. “Neither Rasmus or myself was amused by this idea,” Simon explained, “since it meant that in order to reach the archipelago of Åland, we first had to swim across the Sea of Åland (Ålands hav), a 45km stretch of open water swimming and then a 65km run across the Island of Åland.”

Simon said that they had started to see themselves as swimrunners, no longer swimmers and especially not runners.

The plan was to start on Singö, north of Stockholm, sometime in July 2015, depending on the weather, and to finish in Åbo, on mainland Finland. “We estimated the trip to take 11 days, setting the rules ourselves,” Simon described. “We’d have a support boat bringing food and drinks and dry clothes, sleeping bags and our tents for the nights, but we were not allowed to ever rest on the boat or even touch it.”

In order to improve public awareness about the ever increasing problem of litter in the Baltic Sea, Simon and Rasmus teamed up with Håll Sverige Rent and Östersjöfonden. “On the surface, it was a brilliant idea to collect all the garbage we could find along the way but in practice, this unfortunately became a far bigger challenge than we could have imagined due to the vast amount of littering along shorelines and trails. There sure was no shortage of garbage!”

They guys spent three full days swimming, only stopping on two tiny islands in the middle of the Åland Sea. “The first night we slept in tents but the island was very small and not flat. Luckily we found some driftwood that we could build a platform for the tent.

“The second night we slept in the lighthouse of Märket. Although surprised by how we reached the island, we were very well taken care of by four people from the Finish Lighthouse Society, who were the only people on the island, an island that can only be visited by a small ferry that goes there only a few times every month, and only in good weather. The Finnish-Swedish boarder is painted straight across the rocky island.”

Although our bodies were starting to feel slightly worn out, the following five days were just amazing in so many ways

At the end of the last swim day, a 20km stretch in stormy seas, Simon and Rasmus finally reached Åland: “Our happiness after having completed is well illustrated with our victory dance in our Instagram account. Even though we still had another seven days to go, we continued celebrations with two sauna sessions to warm up and a few beers. After all, we had now reached the land of sauna,” Simon shared.

Early the next morning they set out on a 2-day run crossing the island of Åland. After having slept in tents and lighthouses, they said it felt luxurious to be back to civilisation and all it comes with, including endlessice cream stops along the way. On the evening of Day 5, they reached what they had been looking for: the swimrun playground of the Åland´s Archipelago.

“Although our bodies were starting to feel slightly worn out, the following five days were just amazing in so many ways,” Simon expressed. “So much to see, so much laughter and so many friendly, inviting and curious people, all in beautiful nature. Swimrun at its best! Only once, during one of the few moments we were without the support boat, when I accidentally lost the GPS did we got a little nervous …”

On August 1st, 2015, after having covered 70km of swimming and 230km of running, Simon and Rasmus reached their final destination, the city of Åbo. “An amazing feeling for an hour or so until we realised that all hotels were fully booked due to a sailing yacht festival, which resulted in us having to jump on the first ferry back home.”

Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue # 3 (July 2017)

1 Comment

  1. BASTIANI

    giant!!
    I like that!

    Reply

Submit a Comment

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

More magazine articles

Humanitarian response workers in Iraq team up for ÖTILLÖ swimrun in Germany

Sean Casey and Mitch McTough are both aid workers in Iraq working on the humanitarian response around the offensive against ISIS and the large-scale displacements the terrorist group has caused. They have teamed up for ÖTILLÖ 1000 Lakes in Germany on October 1. Their biggest challenge? Training in a 16-metre basement pool and running in 40-50°C (104-122°F) temps.

Meet a World Champion: Lelle Moberg

In 2016, Lelle Moberg and teammate Daniel Hansson smashed the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Championship course record crossing the finish line under 8 hours. This year, Lelle will be racing in spirit only as he cheers from the sidelines recovering from an injury.

Meet a World Champion: Daniel Hansson

Daniel Hansson and his teammate Lelle Moberg smoked the 2016 ÖTILLÖ World Championship and set a new course record of sub 8-hours. Can he do it again next week with Jesper Svensson?

Swimrun Life #3 2017 – A word from the editor

The ferry ride. As a kid in the Seventies, a ferry ride meant an adventure – water, waves, fun, and freedom to run around, watching the mainland disappear into the horizon. You were leaving the crowded city with its big boring buildings for fresh air on a spacious island, where nature was beckoning to be explored, insects inspected, and tree roots to be tripped on.

Race Directors’ Moment: It has been a whirlwind of a season

It has been a whirlwind of a season.At ÖTILLÖ Utö, most of the teams were terrified of the cold water. In fact, almost everyone baked. At ÖTILLÖ Isles of Scilly, the Atlantic Ocean was like a swimming pool and who will ever forget the last night outside the pub, hanging on the sea wall and watching the sunset together? At ÖTILLÖ Engadin, a mega thunderstorm in the middle of the race clearly showed us all that nature will never be tamed. We now have a couple of weeks to prepare for the 2017 ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Championship. At this point, it’s safe to say that …

ÖTILLÖ LEGEND #3: Jonas Colting

One of Sweden’s most recognised triathletes, Jonas Colting is the only person to compete in every single ÖTILLÖ World Championship race since its inception in 2006. Colting, who promotes swim safety as a way of integrating refugees and immigrants in Sweden, just finished a 300km swim in the Baltic Sea to raise awareness about the need for public swimming pools in the country.

International partners
  • Head
  • Campz Addnature
  • Garmin
  • Vivo Barefoot