Getting your feet wet: a beginner’s testimonial

Feb 16, 2017

ÖTILLÖ Sprint 1000 Lakes, Nena Glocker

Jutta Fuchs

First-time swimmrunner Nena Glocker tackles an ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Sprint at the inaugural 1000 Lakes in Rheinsberg, Germany.

Nena Glocker from Stuttgart, Germany, works in Events and Sponsorship Management for CAMPZ, one of Europe’s leading online stores for outdoor adventure equipment. For some time, a colleague at Addnature in Sweden had been telling Nena about swimrunning and all the positive elements of being out in nature. After visiting her first ÖTTILÖ race in Engadin for work, the 31-year-old decided she wanted to give swimrun a go.

“Watching the racers in Engadin, I had a feeling that there were no boundaries, just movement. I never thought I would do that but then I saw how swimrun was more about the spirit than the sport.”

A fan of skiing and Pilates, Nena has never done endurance sports so the shorter distance ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Sprint 1000 Lakes seemed a good place to start, with a total race distance of 15.12 km – which includes only fours swim sections and the longest run coming under 5 km.

The 1000 Lakes event was added to the ÖTILLÖ 2016 calendar after Race Directors Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott were introduced to the Mecklenburger Seenplatte district, northeast of Berlin, basically at Sweden’s “back door”. With 3,000 lakes dancing next to beech tree forests, the late fall course would be like swimrunning across a living Monet canvas.

“What I appreciated about training with a partner is how you push each other during training and that you race even harder so you don’t disappoint your teammate.”

“The first challenge was to find a team partner who had a bit more experience than me,” Nena explains, “but wouldn’t be bored by my entry level into the sport.”

Nena paired up with her co-worker, Melanie, and they started training three months before the race. “I never felt that I was well prepared – I couldn’t do the crawl in the beginning and my longest run, which was a year before, was three kilometres.”

Nena and Melanie – Team CAMPZ Newbies – started their training from ground zero and had a great time together, meeting twice a week for swimming and running sessions, and then doing one long run at the weekend, either jointly or alone.

“What I appreciated about training with a partner is how you push each other during training and that you race even harder so you don’t disappoint your teammate.”

Nena, who loved the friendly atmosphere she discovered at the Swimrun Sprint starting line on October 23, says that she and Melanie quickly found their perfect pace. “At the first swim section we quickly realised that it was freezing cold and, after a few kilometres, Melanie couldn’t speak because her jaw was frozen. We had a rough time during the long swim due to the temperature, but we managed to keep our spirits up and motivated each other by yelling at one another. I have never felt so lucky to cross a finish line.”

Admitting she was really nervous beforehand, Nena says they were determined to finish. “We went into the race with an Olympic mindset – which in German means we did it to participate and not to win.”

In hindsight, Nena admits that it would’ve been better to start her training with more swimming than running. “I’m taking swimming lessons now to work on my technique.”

As for her next ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Sprint, she’s undecided. I feel honoured to have participated in the race and so enjoyed the spirit. I’d recommend the Swimrun Sprint to anyone thinking of trying a swimrun!”

Course details

Total race distance 43 370 m
Trail-running 33 345 m
Swimming 10 025 m
Swim sections 11
Longest swim 1 500 m
Longest run 7 900 m

More about ÖTILLÖ Sprint 1000 Lakes

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

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