Race directors report
For a long time the race in Engadin was a beacon of light for us. Something to hold on to in the storm as we had to postpone or cancel race after race due to Covid-19 circumstances.
Then, as we approached it looked like Engadin might slip out of our grasp too as Sweden was put on a 10-day quarantine list.
We decided that since we always say that we will always go to any extent within the law to put on a safe and responsible race that so also had to be the case here.
We put together the ÖTILLÖ Covid-19 safety management plan and had it approved by the Swedish authorities as a base line. Then we went and put ourselves in 10 days of quarantine in the beautiful Engadin valley. In separate rooms so as to make sure that even if one of us got sick for any reason the others would be able to put on the race weekend.
We spent 10 days in our “gilded cells”, an experience I personally am happy to have had but also hope I never will have again.
As we were let out on the Tuesday before the race weekend we went for a big mountain run. It washed away the quarantine, cleansed our minds and helped to actually put on one of our better race weekends ever.
The race weekend
On the Wednesday we also got the good news that any persons traveling from Sweden were welcome in Switzerland without quarantine. This would ensure some Swedes coming as well.
After 15 years of putting on swimrun races it is actually very refreshing to have to rethink all our practices again. To question how to put on a race in this “new reality”. It made the whole production team come together and put a perfectly executed event into place. Following our Covid 19 safety management plan.
Almost 400 racers
For the weekend we had a little more than 400 racers registered representing 24 nations. These were almost equally spread out over Saturday and Sunday with a few more than half participating in the Saturday Sprint and Experience races. We were allowed to have 1000 each day according to the Swiss regulations.
Saturday was overcast in the morning and opened up to a beautiful day. We had many racers in the Sprint solo but also spread out over the Experience distance and Sprint team race. Saturday’s continue to be a day full of smiles and a meeting between ages and experiences. We had children participating with parents, beginners and even some of the top racers in the world taking part in the fun.
We think the pictures speak for themselves!
The World Series and the first qualifier to ÖTILLÖ, The Swimrun World Championship 2021. The field was smaller than usual but still with many teams at the top level. Also, due to the Covid situation we had the honor of hosting many pro Triathlete’s as their whole season is cancelled.
These together with those coming to enjoy the beautiful Engadin made for a very warm and friendly mix.
The start in the World Series distance is brutal. One steep uphill with a magnificent swim in the middle of it. Then high- speed sightseeing through the small towns of Maloja, Isola and Sils via some beautiful swims and grueling uphill loops. The last loop brings the racers to a massive hill where they see the whole race course laid out before them before a last swim and the finish in Silvaplana.
A majority of all starting teams finished. In the Men’s category two of the predicted podium teams pulled out of the race after about half the distance. Leaving the hard- fought win to Rémi Mariette & Guillaume Henneman, also winners in Malta 2019. Ahead of triathlon Pros Antony Costes & Thom Navarro ahead of yet a third French team!
In mixed Swedish Desiree Andersson (current women’s world champion) & Victor Dahl came in fifth overall and won the mixed category ahead of fellow Swedes Martin Flinta & Johanna Edman (9th overall). The podium was completed with our first Andorra team Eduardo Barcelo & Montse Martinez Guerrero.
Equally impressive racing in the women’s category with Ulrika Eriksson & Hanna Skårbratt crushing it and finishing 10th overall and taking the win ahead of the young French team of Eugénie Plane & Bailly. These two teams were joined on the podium by swimrun icons and former women’s world champions Kristin Larsson & Annika Ericsson from Sweden too.
The story of the weekend
On Saturday evening, after dinner and a good day of racing I by chance checked the official Instagram and found a message stating “Hello, we are two French Pro Triathlete’s and we want to race on tomorrow in the World Series, is it still possible?”
I answered yes. And they answered “Great, see you in the morning we have to start driving now!”
So, the wife of one of them drove all night to make it to the start in time. They took the start and raced like hell. They finished second overall.
Welcome to Swimrun Thomas Navarro and Antony Costes (winner Ironman Barcelona 2018). We hope you took your wife out to a big dinner as thank you!
Thank you all for taking part in this event. Thank you for showing that it is possible to put on safe and responsible events In these trying times. This might be the way it will be in the future and we must learn how to adapt.
On Saturday afternoon the local health authority came and checked out our race area. They left happy with how we managed the race.
This gives us the will to try to put on all the races left this season. We will try to manage within the full extent of the law. Four weeks before each race we will communicate what and how we will do.
Thank you for the trust!
See you next time!