Swimrun Life #1 2017 – A word from the Editor

Feb 17, 2017

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)

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International partners
  • Vivo Barefoot
  • ARK Swimrun
  • Mr Green