What a perfect Saturday. The weather gods were kind to us with a sunny day with a bit of wind and very pleasant temperatures in the air and in the water. In total we had 232 racers from 18 nations, which is our biggest starting field to date in a Sprint race.
It is quite a special morning as most of the racers arrive via ferry from the mainland in the morning; we then do a quick registration in the harbour of Utö before loading another ferry to go to Ornö where the start is.
At the start line you could feel the atmosphere. So different from a World Series race and one of the reasons why the Sprint races are so great. People are chatting, laughing, some are nervous and some are cool. Some are very experienced and some are absolute rookies, some are young and some are old. You can feel the warmth and how the collective soul of the group is soaring with anticipation.
The start and the race are in everyone’s pace. The front is very fast with World Series winners and a former World Champion pushing the pace. The rest of the group follow.
Throughout the race course everyone is happy and smiling, the course itself has lots of variation; one long swim, some short swims, one long run, many short runs, island- hopping, gravel roads, single track trails, no trails and no asphalt except maybe 400 meters in total. In the water you see lots of clear, harmless jellyfish, an actual proof that the water is getting cleaner, 10 years ago there were none. Some of the swims have a little bit of current and some small waves, I think everyone is in awe of the World Championship racers that will come down this stretch of the course after already having done 60 km of racing. When speaking to some of the racers that have done the World Championship they all say that they do not remember much of this last bit of the course and how fun it is.
In the end we get to hug all racers but two when crossing the finish line. Fastest of all is Adriel Young, former World Champion doing his first ÖTILLÖ Solo appearance. We have a beautiful mix of people on the final podiums and best of all we have many smiles and laughters in our hearts after the day is done. We would particularly like to mention the young girls racing with such poise together with a parent. The youngest being just 12 years old. When will we have equally young boys participating too?
Thank you all for the trust and for bringing so much positive energy to a perfect day of Swimrun Propaganda. Please come back for more and please bring a friend.
Michael Lemmel and the whole ÖTILLÖ team.