In our ambition to promote the wonderful sport of swimrun around the world, we present some of the driving spirits behind this, the enthusiasts.
/The WoS Team
Hi Maj-Britt and Sören and thanks for taking the time to talk to us here at Worldofswimrun.com
M & S: Hi and thanks for having us!
Now, tell us, who are Maj-Britt Klok and Sören Engholm, the swimrun-enthusiast we see coming to many of the swimrun races in Europe?
M & S: We are Swimrunners, Scandinavian and inventors. We are located in Randers in Denmark, and train in the nearby lakes and forest. We think swimrun 24/7, and we’re obsessed with the know-how of swimrun. We are dedicated to developing the next big thing, and we collaborate with an extended family of swimrunners-friends and coaches around the world to stay at the forefront of swimrun technology.
How did you, being from Denmark, end up swimrunning?
M & S: In 2012 we read about ÖtillÖ in the book ”The World’s Toughest Endurance Challenges”, and was immediately fascinated by swimrun. We just had to try this sport ourselves. We signed up for Utö swimrun, and since our first race we have been dedicated to our awesome sport.
In the beginning, how did you prepare for the races. We understand that Denmark is quite flat with few islands?
S: We both live near lakes and forests with very good trail run options, so the swimrun training is no problem. It is true many believe Denmark is flat, but we have good opportunities to train challenging trail running – off course we are a bit challenged if we want to practice running in mountains or on rocks.
M: We actually have 400 islands in Denmark, and many unique nature areas such as; ‘Limfjorden/Fur’, ‘Bornholm’, ‘Rold forest’, ‘Mols Bjerge’, and ‘Søhøjlandet’. Also ‘Vadehavet’ and ‘Stevns klint’ is quite unique and on UNESCOS world heritage list. No matter where you live in Denmark you will be able to find open water within a half hour drive. There are countless rivers, streams, lakes and of course the North Sea and the Baltic Sea that surrounds Denmark.
Since the start, how many races have you done and where?
M & S: So far we have done these races; Utö swimrun 2013, 2014 & 2016, Swimrun Norway 2014, 2015 & 2016, Amphiman 2015 & 2016, XTERRA Denmark Swimrun 2015 & 2016, ÖtillÖ World Championship 2013 & 2016, LED swimrun 2015 & 2016, Engadin Swimrun 2015, Breca Buttermere 2016, Trakai Swimrun 2016, Loch Gu Loch 2016, 1000lakes 2016,
So, all in all 19 races in 9 different countries; Sweden, Denmark, Norway, Belgium, Lithuania, United Kingdom, Scotland, Switzerland and Germany.
Next year we will include Croatia, Finland and France to the list.
How would you describe swimrun to a new-comer?
M & S: Swimrun is all about having fun, enjoying an adventure in beautiful surroundings together with your teammate – and being part of a growing swimrun-family of friends. The Spirit of swimrun is hard to describe, but once you have done your first race, you know what it is all swimrunners are talking about. The swimrun-spirit is cheering for and helping each other even though it is your competition. It is respecting the nature and environment we are fortunately to race in. It is knowing not the best athlete wins, but the best performing team. It is having fun racing hard, or having fun taken it nice and easy – either way, this is the spirit and the beauty of the swimrun.
At one point, you started your own swimrunshop, can you tell us a bit about how that idea came to life?
M: Living in Denmark, we had a hard time finding the right equipment for swimrun, and we wanted to help new swimrunners who might have the same difficulties finding the right equipment. Our goal was to make it easy to find know-how and the best swimrun equipment in just one store. In our web shop you can find everything that is needed for swimrun, and we only sell swimrun equipment that we have tested ourselves and find useful.
Is Swimrun big in Denmark? Is it popular?
M & S: Swimrun is not big in Denmark yet, but people are certainly interested in the sport and we help many new Danish swimrunners finding the right equipment and give advice on races in Europe – but Denmark is not our primary market regarding the web shop and brand. With 70 teams on the start line to the Xterra swimrun Denmark in 2016 and 55 teams starting this year, the sport seems grow in Denmark too. Unfortunately, we have only one race in Denmark yet, but hopefully this will change soon. We know a lot of ideas for swimrun races are taking shape in Denmark.
How do you think Swimrun will develop in Denmark in the next 2-3 years?
M & S: There will definitely be 2-3 more races over the next year. Triathlon is a very popular sport in Denmark, and we see a lot of athletes from triathlon interested in trying swimrun. Several sports clubs have small swimrun races in the planning stages, so we predict the same growth as in the rest of Europe.
Which is your dream race to do? Bucket list?
M: There are so many great races worldwide now. At every race we come to, the race directors are doing their very best to give the athletes a unique experience. It is awesome what they do for us, and it makes it very hard to pick out races. Personally I’m looking forward to Hvar swimrun in Croatia next year, but a bucket list dream race must be Breca Wanaka in New Zealand.
S: We have been fortunate and privileged to participate in most races we’ve been dreaming about, and therefore have been all around in Europe. But ÖtillÖ is always something special, and a race in a league of its own. It is surprising how beautiful and tough that race it is every time.
Thanks for this!
Soon Maj-Britt and Sören will be back to talk about their own brand ‘Swimrunners’, and its significance for the development of the swimrun sport!
/The WoS Team