We interviewed Anders and Johanna Wallensten from Team Ultraswimrun on their experience of the inaugural Isle of Scilly race.
W: Hi Anders and Johanna. You came in fourth in mixed, Congratulations!
W: We do short race reports go beyond the stats and give people a feeling for different races to help swim-runners pick races best suited for them. So to kick-off on this theme, how was the race? Can you describe it?
A&J: To state it short; a well organised race in stunning environment with some challenging swims.
W: What do you think about the course?
A&J: It was nice and varied, with a mix of long and shorter swims and some easy and some more difficult runs. The longest swim (2,4 km) was tough and some of the running on narrow paths along paths on the hills was quite challenging.
W: The race is a bit far away if you look at the map, how was it to get there?
A&J: Not that easy, but on the other hand really rewarding. We flew in from the mainland on a really small plane. The plane ride was exciting by itself, but it also gave you the opportunity to get fantastic views of the island from the air. On the way back the flight was cancelled due to bad weather and we got on a jet boat instead. This was a true adventure in really high swells and well worth the extra cost.
W: You did well coming in fourth mixed. Did the race go according to plan?
A&J: Not really, we swam well, but I (Anders) had no energy for the runs. Part of it was me being out of shape and part was due to overheating. I chose a long wetsuit to stay warm during the long swims, but got punished on land when the sun came out.
W: What was you “Kodak-moment?”
A&J: The whole race course would qualify for a Kodak moment, but I think something that will stick to memory for a lot of us who did the race was getting caught in seaweed. It was definitely a new experience. If you did not manage to swim around it, the seaweed really trapped you by entwining your arms and legs. A bit scary until you learnt how to find your way through.
W: …and what’s next?
A&J: For Johanna Höga Kusten and then the ÖtillÖ championships. For Anders some rehab and then perhaps a swimrun adventure or two with the Ultraswimrun team.
W: Is there something the race organisers can develop for the future?
A&J: I would say the race organisers had managed to get everything right concerning the race. A fantastic job. Everything worked smoothly and the volunteers were fantastic. The only thing would be to perhaps charter a boat for all participants to make the journey to and from the islands less weather sensitive.
W: Finally any advice to those doing the Scilly race next year?
A&J: First of all make sure to take in the fantastic views while running. When it comes to the racing the trick is to dress warmly enough for the long swims but without getting overheated on the runs. One idea could be to get into the water the day before the race to get a feel for the temperature.
W: Great and thanks for your time!