It’s amazing how fast things are going. From a single crazy adventure in Stockholm archipelago, we’ve seen an almost exponential development of swimrun races the last couple of years. From this nowadays epic ÖtillÖ swimrun world championship, we today count more than 75 races, and more are announced each month.
In the beginning, swimrun was purely a Swedish affair. When undersigned joined the scene in 2009, participating in the only race available, the 3rd edition of ÖtillÖ, the bulk of contestants were Swedes. Despite that this phenomenon was located to the outer parts of the Stockholm archipelago, a few foreigners had found their way onto the starting line, probably wondering what the hell they had gotten themselves into. This was also the first year the race took off, counting the number of participants to over 100 (51 teams). In 2011, two more races were added to the swimrun scene, still only in Sweden and it took nearly 8 years from the 1st race, for swimrun to go international. In 2014 the scene expanded to Norway, Italy and Switzerland, a year that saw a total of 20 races taking place.
Even though the number of races had doubled each year, it was in 2015 the swimrun scene exploded. A total of 53 races took place in an impressive 8 countries in and around Europe. Swimrunners could now also race in France, Denmark, Germany, England, Belgium, Finland, Scotland, and even in Russia.
In light of this strong expansion, the scene also saw the birth of new ways to swimrun. Today the swimrunner not only has the option to choose among some 75 races in 12 countries, but a range of different ways to swimrun. You have the “regular” type of swimrun race which makes out the bulk of what is offered. Some organizers also offers shorter versions in the form of sprint swimrun racing, and there is even a family type event available through Ångaloppet.
For those wanting to go hard core and test their outermost limits, there is an ultraswimrun race version, stretching over 1 or more days, and if you have saturated your lust for racing, you can join the adventure swimrun series. This series is a number of events taking the swimrunner back to the basic idea of swimrun. Taking place in the rough archipelago outback, exploring the unknown, this type of swimrunning focuses of the experience of exploring rather than racing. Here you challenge yourself, not other racers, the classic man-vs-nature, you-are-on-your-own. A goal is set to be reached (a point B), but without following a predetermined route, a specific set of race rules, on a certain starting time without the time-cuts. But, for those still wanting to adventure into the wild with a sense of external competition, there is always the option to beat the fastest known time of the chosen challenge.
In 2016, the number of races will continue to grow, how many we will see and where, no one knows. But one thing is for sure, we swimrunners are eager to see where the next big race will take place. Will it be in Americas, Canada, China, Australia or perhaps the Philippines? Only time will tell.
For this purpose, to give all of you the option to monitor what is going on in the world, we Team Ultraswimrun, today launch The World Swimrun Map. Here you will find the best available statistics for all the races in the world.
Enjoy and stay tuned for more.
– We go further