By Josefine Ås
TITLE: Swimrun World Champion Men’s Category 2016
TEAM NAME: Swedish Armed Forces
PARTNER: Daniel Hansson
HOME: Nacka, Sweden
Josefine Ås: Could you give us an overview of your “swimrun career”?
LM: I have been racing ÖTILLÖ since 2011, five times on the podium and three times winning the race.
JA: How did you get involved in the sport?
LM: My friends and successful swimrunners Antti Antonov and Björn Englund talked about ÖTILLÖ and I became interested in doing a sport without biking – my worst discipline in triathlon.
JA: You and Daniel Hansson have been an exceptional swimrun team. How did you keep that amazing pace all along the racecourse?
LM: Hard training, smart race plan, good energy plan, have the best equipment and, most of all, to have a great teamwork. You also need to be mentally prepared because in the end – the last 3 hours – it’s all about a lot of pain.
JA: Did you aim for a certain time at last year’s World Championship?
LM: Yes, we tried to plan the race in advance to go sub 8-hours.
JA: How do you train for an ÖTILLÖ World Championship race?
LM: If we’re not injured, we run and swim almost every day and we do more specific swimrun training in the right environment closer to the race.
JA: There have been really tight World Champion races, like last year when you guys managed to stay cool and pull away in the end. Do you talk a lot during the race or do you know each other so well do what has to be done?
LM: We have a plan for our race tactics before the start and we almost always keep to that plan. A smart thing is to keep extra gear for unexpected developments during the race. By now we know each other so well that we rarely speak during races other than a pep talk.
JA: Describe the feeling when you hit the 2016 finish line one minute under the magic Sub 8-hours! Did you know you would make it?
LM: It looked possible during the race. Close to the finish line we discovered that the last 300m of the course was adjusted and that did bring some panic to our team so we started to sprint with heavy legs towards the finish line before we saw the magical numbers on the scoreboard 7:59:04. That was truly an amazing feeling and long-time dream come true.
JA: What does ÖTILLÖ mean to you?
LM: It’s a long, rough, tough and fantastic day doing what I love to do – swimming and running through the magical archipelago of Stockholm.
JA: You have done many other swimrun races as well. What’s another race that sticks out for you?
LM: Koster! The course has specific character with a lot of small islands. It’s a really relaxed spirit before, during and especially after the race. It’s a must for a swimrunner’s Bucket List.
JA: We are very sad that you won’t be on the start line this year. Please give us an update on your injury?
LM: I have a problem with my foot and have been resting from running since ÖTILLÖ Hvar in April. I have done A LOT OF REHAB TRAINING and made some progress but I’m still not ready for a long and tough race as ÖTILLÖ.
JA: How does it feel not to be able to defend the WC title and course record?
LM: It is really hard to focus on anything other than the race right now. It feels like my body is self-preparing for battle even though I won’t be at the start line this year.
JA: What do you think the odds are that a team next week beats the 2016 record you set with Daniel?
LM: It depends on the conditions and how well the other teams have prepared. I know that there are some really strong teams this year who are well prepared so I wish them all the best of luck.
JA: Will you be back at the ÖTILLÖ start next year?
Article first published August 2017