What an awesome year it has been!
We launched World of Swimrun (WoS) as a response to the need expressed by our fellow swimrunners we met at races around the world. We kept hearing about how hard it was to find good information on races, to meet other swimrunners or to read about the development of swimrun and its gear. And since we race frequently, with more than 20 race entries for 2016, we decided to put our heads together and find a way to share our knowledge with all of you. Consequently, WoS was born.
Since the start, WoS has published over 120 articles covering topics such as; race reports, race calendar, race world map, guides and reviews, in-depth editorials, science, health and medicine. Our mission is to provide all of you out there with the best and most accurate info available, and all-in-all we’ve had a massive response with over half a million visits during 2016. We are humbled by the feedback we get from you, when giving us a heads-up of a coming race, or just asking a basic question on swimrun gear. It doesn’t matter if you are a beginner or an ÖtillÖ champion, there are no stupid questions or ideas! Keep them coming, our door is always open. We do this for the swimrun community, as enthusiasts, why we truly appreciate your support.
It’s been a fantastic year in terms of races and swimrun teams. Several teams are now established on the many circuits and are well-known around the world, where the top-tier racers seem to be familiar to most new people taking up swimrunning. One of them is Annica Ericson, who yet again won the wc ÖtillÖ, this year with the phenomenal Kristine Larsson.
And let’s not forget the men’s team, where Daniel Hansson and Lennart Lelle Moberg totally crushed the previous record and came in at 7 hours 59 minutes and 4 seconds! We should also give a big shout-out to the many other teams who are competing or just racing to have fun. Without you there wouldn’t be any swimrun racing at all. During the year, WoS has had the pleasure of following teams like; Team Ultraswimrun, Team Happy Swimrun by Orca, Team Headswimming, Team Kattegatt and their crazy adventures, Team CoolTours and Team Suunto Swimrun, we’ve also enjoyed the company of teams like Wolff-Wear SwimRun, Swimrun Europe, Team CAMPZ.com, Team Sportextreme.com, California SwimRun, Team Swimrunners-tm.com, Swimshop.se, Ångaloppet, Prattgaard/Teammaximfivesweden, Girls Wot Can and many more!
All you guys spread so much joy, making us look forward to seeing you again in 2017!
Swimrun race development
Looking back at 2016, the fast development of the sport makes it difficult to put things in perspective. In early 2016 we counted 118 known races around the world, up from 54 in mid-2015, and soon we’re about to reach 300. France has become the 2nd largest swimrun country in the world, with close to 50 races announced for 2017. And as this post was written it was announced that swimrun in France will have its own, and the worlds first, SwimRun National Tour (SNT). SwimRun Cote Vermeille, SwimRun Vassivière and SwimRun The Riviera have come together to form this swimrun circuit, but are open for more organisers, so we can expect more races to join. A possible Swimrun Tour De France?
Our latest edition to the World of Swimrun is Portugal who we hope will offer us some crazy races with their coastline and big waves. Bring out your swimrun surfboard, 2017 will definitely take us for a joy-ride!
Formation of swimrun entities
On the technical side, we’ve seen several race organisers joining forces to co-host races, to support or to collaborate in different race entities. As varying examples we have the Italian national swimrun series, the local Stockholm Swimrun Cup, the stand-alone ÖtillÖ series and the most recent example, the National Swimrun Tour in France. Plenty more embryos have been planted and we expect more series, cups or leagues to emerge during 2017. In relation to this we’ve also seen the development of at least 6 different swimrun ranking systems worldwide. In addition to these different formations, some countries are either investigating or are in the process of creating national swimrun federations.
On the downside, 2016 has shown what we believe is the beginning of a consolidation effect for some countries, since more than 40 races worldwide were either cancelled or never started.
Gear-wise it has been incredible with so many new product coming out or being upgraded, too many to list here. The biggest change according to us was the 1st hybrid wetsuit brought forward by HEAD, mixing closed and open neoprene material. Quite simply a combo of the Camaro 2.0 and Colting wetsuit and it has been well accepted by the swimrun community despite the loss of buoyancy.
We know the wetsuit development-race is on for 2017 and expect new products to be show-cased soon. As an example we saw Colting launch their swimpants, designed for both swimming and swimrunning, and with their calfs and a neoprene west, preferably with longer arms, we believe many swimrunners will go for a minimalistic outfit for races next year where it’s not to cold in the water.
When will we see the 1st full swimrun race vest with a full front zipper? The wetsuit development we have called for on several occasions!
We also like the many smaller yet significant gear developments. Several self-made swimrun inventors are producing interesting ideas such as plastic bottle buoys or pipe-insulation-calf-guards, and the industry seem to pick up on many of them.
This shows that the industry has the ear to the ground, bringing us swimrunners several new and innovative products. And as the community showed in our recent vote, the most desired gear for the industry to develop is the wetsuit, the shoes and the buoy.
However, we also need to caution ourselves in the gear department and see in which direction we are heading. The introduction of federations might imply stricter rules in the future, and just recently ÖtillÖ announced they will regulate the usage of fins in their races. Is what we are seeing the beginning of a swimrun-wide gear regulation process? All sports will face the difficulty of having to regulate the usage of gear at one point, especially if they give some people an advantage over others. Remember the swim-world and their big debate regarding whole-body polyurethane swimsuits. But, it is harder in swimrun since the sport attracts both runners and swimmers, i.e. people from disciplines with different pre-conditions. Finding the right balance will be tricky and only time will tell what will happen to swimrun and its gear.
Best swimrun logos in 2016
What an epic vote we had with over a 1000 people voting on their favourite logo. We congratulate the winner Uddevalla Swimrun. You guys have really done a great job with you logo and captured what swim and run, Swimrun, is all about. We also want to congratulate Garden State Swimrun and thank the voters for your confidence in our own logo, coming in at 3rd place. But we are all winners in this, there is no specific format that states what a swimrun logo should look like. 2016 is just the 1st of many years to come, so let your imagination guide you when you create a new or modify your old one. At the end of this post you can find all those who received votes but didn’t make it to the top 10 list, e.g. above 5% of the votes.
The community has spoken. Soft shapes and the combination of a runner and swimmer seem to do the trick!
The hot debate topics for 2017
We expect 2017 to be vibrant and stimulating as more actors get involved in the swimrun development. Open, inclusive and transparent debates will be the cornerstone of a healthy future development of swimrun, and you all need to partake in this. It is important that you voice your opinions, ideas or concerns, since they are what make out the foundation of this sport. You are the back-bone, the community, the swimrun movement. No one else.
In 2017, WoS will also become more vibrant and discuss what we believe are burning topics for the continuation of developing swimrun. We will start posting opinion-pieces, our own and others. Not all want to- or have the capacity to express their opinions openly, why we will help reflect what is on your minds. We are happy to channel your thoughts to the rest of the swimrun community through our platforms. If you have something on your mind and you want to get it out there for reflection, just get in touch and we will take it from there.
For 2017, listening in to what people are discussing around the world, we understand there are a number of interesting debates on the horizon. Below you will find some of them and we are sure more will appear as the development continue;
- Team, individual or both – Are they all considered swimrun?
- Swimrun equipment – Is regulation the new new?
- Federations – When they start, what impact will they have?
- Young swimrunners – How do we attract the younger generation swimrunners below 30 years old?
- Championships worldwide – By friendly invitation, lottery or through best result?
- New equipment – How far can we bring gear-development before it becomes banned?
- Different ranking systems – Is winning a race not enough anymore?
- Swimrun leagues, series and cups – One for all or many different?
For us at WoS, 2016 has been a fun and exciting year. We just love to hear about all the new people who are taking an interest in swimrun and sharing their wonderful experiences. We welcome all new people and say thank you to all of those who we have met during the year, and for all the kind words and support! As a token of appreciation we can tell you as much, that you’ll be in line for a nice surprise in the early 2017. So stay tuned 😉 !
Below we have gathered the top 10 posts that really engaged the swimrun community during 2016!
Have a great Christmas and a happy New swimrun year!
We will see each other in 2017!
/The WoS Team
All logos with votes but under 5 %