André Hook first heard of swimrun almost four years ago, when a friend from his triathlon club sent him the link to the video of the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Championship 2013.
“I was right on fire,” he tells SLM, “because I just loved the pictures of athletes fighting their way through nature. I wanted to be there myself.”
André convinced his brother-in-law to give it a try and in their first ÖTILLÖ qualifier race, they managed to get a spot for the ÖTILLÖ World Championship in 2014.
“From then on, we knew that this is ‘our’ sport and over the previous years we enjoyed lots of races in the most beautiful landscapes all over Europe.”
André is proud of his 2nd place position at ÖTILLÖ Engadin, 3rd place at Rockman in Norway and 2nd place at LochGuLoch in Scotland – all in 2016.
“We also loved to finish closely behind the elite teams in the previous ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Championships. However, in the end, this ‘fame’ fades quite easily and superfast,” explains the German swimrunner, who in June, spent a “fantastic week” with his Team CAMPZ.com partner Wolfgang Grohé in the Alps to train for ÖTILLÖ Engadin.
From then on, we knew that this is ‘our’ sport and over the previous years we enjoyed lots of races in the most beautiful landscapes all over Europe.
“What lasts is the memories of great events and the trainings together with special people. Making this happen – as a family man and office guy – is probably the greatest achievement. In this regard, I am also very thankful for all the support I receive from my family.”
For André, swimrun allows him to enjoy great adventures, which he has always loved, in just a day or two, and the training can be easily squeezed into everyday life. “Hiking and climbing 500 kilometres from Munich to Venice via the Alps, swimming ‘crisscross’ through gorgeous Slovenia, biking all the way through Germany … you name it!” But, he adds, with all the responsibilities as a father but also with respect to my job, these types of challenges are hardly possible.
Since the ÖTILLÖ directors promise “unique races in unique places”, you get to know the most incredible places and landscapes. “I really love this sport that brings me so close to nature and its elements.”
André has recently written a swimrun guide for his team’s sponsor, CAMPZ. “They even supported us when I was injured at the end of the last season. By writing this e-book, I could finally return the favour and thank them for a great cooperation.”
The guide is a swimrun-appetizer, and André tried to gather and include as much information as possible to give the reader a first impression of what swimrun is all about. “I also failed miserably, because first, you understand the sport better if you jump into your wetsuit and shoes to actually give swimrun a practical try and, two, there are so many talented swimrunners and writers with great thoughts on swimrun out there that it makes sense to also take a look at their articles and blogs to get the whole picture of the swimrun story and spirit.”
Campz free Swimrun Guide, which can be downloaded for free in several languages, is divided into six chapters. Chapter 1 sheds light on the history of swimrun – how it all began and how the sport developed (“soon, this chapter will be outdated since the sport develops so fast”); Chapter 2 explains why swimrun is more than just “triathlon without cycling”; Chapter 3 and 4 describe what is needed to participate in a swimrun and the recommended equipment; Chapter 5 and 6 provide information about how to train and where to race. The e-guide also gives some handy hints and tricks.
“I want more people to try this fantastic sport,” André enthuses. “The guide ends with a little interview that shows that even as a full-time working family guy, I can train for and race swimruns. And so should you …”
Download a free copy of Campz Swimrun Guide
Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue #3 (July 2017)