Swimrun Life #3 2017 – A word from the editor

Jul 27, 2017

The ferry ride. As a kid in the Seventies, a ferry ride meant an adventure – water, waves, fun, and freedom to run around, watching the mainland disappear into the horizon. You were leaving the crowded city with its big boring buildings for fresh air on a spacious island, where nature was beckoning to be explored, insects inspected, and tree roots to be tripped on.

The return journey home, most likely with a few newly added scratches and bruises, was spent reliving all the glorious moments spent on the isle, as told by you to your Mom or Dad or anyone else within earshot.

In short, the ferry ride was a much apart of the memory of the trip as the destination itself.

As my generation got older, the introduction of low-cost airlines and Google changed the way we went from Point A to Point B. The world became smaller but the travelling demographic bigger. Along the way, we lost patience for travel that wasn’t door-to-door or where natives didn’t speak “some English”.

Even when we are travelling to marathons or triathlons, aside from the logistics of a bike box, we’re accustomed to events being easy to get to in an urban environment: we board, disembark, go to event, embark, fly home. Maybe throw a bus or taxi ride into the equation, but all in all, it’s hassle-free travel and with little interaction with other participants.

Then ÖTILLÖ comes along with its “unique races in unique places” and, for the majority of their swimrun events, that means a ferry ride.

Yup, it makes your journey a little longer and takes time behind a screen to figure out how to buy tickets and from where the ferry departs. But the ferry ride is what distinguishes ÖTILLÖ swimruns from other sporting events: you have nothing but time to hang out with other swimrunners, and inclusiveness is the magic of ÖTILLÖ.

In short, the ferry ride was a much apart of the memory of the trip as the destination itself.

My first ÖTILLÖ ferry ride was to Utö with my husband. I was anxious about the unknown; he was transported back to childhood, like a kid on an amusement ride. The return trip was filled with racers, all of us reminiscing about a great race day, with lots of goodbye hugs from new swimrun friends. Ditto for Hvar.

With the ÖTILLÖ World Championship, racers travel together to Sandhamn. You start off, for the most part, as strangers and end up as teams supporting other teams.

ÖTILLÖ Isles of Scilly is truly a remote destination: a 6-hour bus ride from Heathrow Airport and then a three-hour ferry. Yet spectacular Scilly, with its Caribbean-like crystal blue waters and white sand beaches, reminds us of how travel used to be, when the adventure starts the minute you leave home.

Hands down, Scilly was one of the most fun weekends of my life. Sunsets at the Mermaid wall will not be forgotten by anyone, and on Monday morning, as we made our way to the ferry en masse, we would cherish those last few hours at sea before returning to reality.

Ah, the ferry ride.

For those who think the Isles of Scilly is too far, I share the words of Henrik Wahlberg from team Swimrun.com, winners of the 2017 Mixed Category at Scilly: “Don’t even think about it!”

Nancy Heslin, Editor

Article first published in Swimrun Life Magazine Issue #3 (July 2017)

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