Interview – Åland Swimrun a September challange

Why åland swimrun?
With an archipelago consisting of 6757 islands and a water area of 11990 square kilometers there could hardly be a more suitable location for arranging a unique swimrun- event. We ensure our participants an experience that will not soon be forgotten! Åland Swimrun shall from the start be “tough enough” – both for the experienced athlete but also for the curious exerciser.The longer distance (LONG) raced in couple is one of the most demanding courses in rough weather over really open water and harsh rockies on the northern sea! The shorter distance (SHORT) is a chance for everybody who does not want to run in couples but still get a challenge. Eventhough 15km might not sound challenging it is not a course made as a “walk in the park”. These are races for those convenient to swim in rough waters! The new distance for 2017, SUPERSPRINT, is perfect for those who wants to try the sport and maybe even bring the familys a little older kids!

Background?
When we started up the event- business we wanted to be able to offer different sports events for our costumers. After having seen how fast the swimrun- culture was growing and knew what unique environments we have at our disposal the decision wasn´t that hard to make. A swimrun -event also felt to fit in among our other events, i.a. Käringsund Triathlon, in September 2015 we arranged a small test -swimrun race with some ” local test rabbits” on the Short-route and fast after that is was decided that Åland Swimrun will be our next new event!
How did 2016 race go?
The 2016- race was the first edition of Åland Swimrun. We had a lot of experience in arranging different events, but this was our first official swimrun-.event. Of course it is always harder and feels more insecure when you don´t have anything to look and lean back towards. No similar event to evolve from – everything should be done from the beginning. But mostly everything went as planned and we had satisfied participants that crossed the finishline. Of course there are, as always, a number of minor things that will change before the year’s edition of the race, but overall we were really satisfied with the event. We had fewer participants than expected, but we can afterwards see it was good for us. We had the opportunity to give everyone and everything our full attention and thus got a better basis to continue to build the event from.
 
Tell me more about the race course? What to expect?

Nature in these areas of the archipelago alternates from isles with forests, barren and windswept skerries and granite outcrops polished smooth by the mighty and roaring sea. With the route partly along the west side of the outer islands towards the open sea and Sweden as the next neighbor the race will be a tough challenge – how tough it will be depends on the weather.

The LONG– route of about 51km is a challenging course in the beautiful but at times raw and unprotected outer archipelago of Åland and is intended for the experienced athlete who has the stamina to push themselves forward for several hours. The running takes place on trails, in forests and on mountain cliffs both along the coast on the main island but also over the islands which the participants swim to. The swimming takes place both in the open sea and in more “quiet coves” that nevertheless can mean tough swimming depending on the strength and direction of the wind. The LONG – race will give participants a challenge that is not meant for weaklings but at the same time give them a amazing experience as they fight their way through the stunning surroundings. Long is about 41km running (80%) and about 10km swimming (20%).

The Short is meant for persons who exercise regularly and are not afraid of challenges beyond the usual training. Although this route goes in weather-wise more protected terrains and the distances are fewer and shorter can also the Short-participants get a taste of the open sea when they at times make their way at the outer western coastline. A little shorter and a little easier terrain, but still a tough challenge. No one will go totally unaffected through these 15km and is recommended for those convenient to swim in open water. Short-distance is also a perfect option for those who don´t want to run in pairs but still get to participate in a tough race. You can choose to participate individually (single) or with a pair (duo).

Supersprint is an easy, beginner friendly distance for those who want to try the sport. The route is a total under 5km in the surroundings of the start and finish area in Käringsund. The running takes place mainly on existing roads and trails, swimming (100-250m / segment) takes place in the quiet inner bays. If you can swim and run you can do the supersprint!

23 sept sounds cold? Or?
Refreshing we would like to call it! Last year the water was 14 degrees celsius and actually only after the longer swim distances on the LONG-route some of the participants said they felt a little bit cold but only until they started to run again. The temperture in the water usually doesn´t  drop so fast in the fall so a week here och there isn´t that big difference. So please don´t let that scare you.
 
Why should i don’t miss this race this year?
You shouldn´t miss it this year, neither the coming years. This will be a race that will be on the swim runners bucket-list! But seriously, as mentioned the surroundings are something out of the ordinary and perfect for an swimrun – event. And not only do we offer a tough challenge, we also give you the possibility to compete individually in swimrun, both in the beginner- friendly supersprint but also inte the Short-distance. That is a chance for everybody who doesn´t want to run in couples but still get a tough challenge. This year we will arrange the first ever Finnish championship in swimrun on the Long-distance. To compete for the FM-title you must be a member of a triathlon association belonging to the Finnish Triathlon Association.
Links: You can read more about our race at www.alandevent.ax and of course always contact us at info@alandevent.com