In our ambition to promote the wonderful sport of swimrun around the world, we present some of the driving spirits behind this, the enthusiasts. Last week we talked to the swimrun enthusiasts Maj-Britt Klok and Sören Engholm about their swimrun careers. Today we continue talking to them about their dreams with swimrunshop.com and their own brand ‘Swimrunners’!
/The WoS Team
Hi Maj-Britt and Sören, great to have you back!
You’ve also started your own swimrun brand ‘Swimrunners’ Can you tell us a bit about that and what your vision for this it?
M: Our vision is to help every kind of athlete to enjoy swimrun. We understand that improving technique is the secret to go faster, our products help athletes of all abilities master the basics to excellence. We make swimrun more comfortable and fun, because we want everyone to have the chance to enjoy swimrun. We want to evolve swimrun through high quality products, and a commitment to make products that helps the team get the job done.
S: Maj-Britt is a graduate teacher in design and crafts so it was easy to make a prototype for our first product which we called ‘the pull belt’ – a combined belt, pull buoy and elastic cord. So we started Swimrunners TM product line and started selling it on our web shop SwimRunShop.com. Now we have retailers in Europe selling SWIMRUNNERS TM, so it will be possible to buy our products in the local stores as well. We have spent the last 2 years improving our SWIMRUNNERS TM products. Innovation is very important to us, and we need to move forward in the sport all the time.
Was it difficult in the beginning and how is it going now?
M: The hardest thing is to find the time. It has been really difficult to fit in our regular jobs, keep up with the growing sale on the web shop, managing our brand SWIMRUNNERS TM, and not least finding time training swimrun, travel and participating in a lot of races. We have been a bit worn out here at the end of the season. It has been a tough, but definitely a fantastic year.
The wetsuit has come a long way in development since the first swimrun race and which equipment do you think will be next to undergo a complete change?
S: There is no doubt that we have come a long way in developing a complete swimrun wetsuit, but there is still room for improvement. We think that the shoes will be the next piece of equipment to undergo a complete change regarding less water resistance and better buoyancy, and less resistance in the heel cap while swimming.
How do you think swimrun will develop in the world during the next 5-10 years?
M & S: It will be very big, we cannot imagine otherwise. We extensively follow the progress of new races in Europe and worldwide. The number of new swimrunners who write to us with questions about equipment and how to get started is huge. From 2013 to 2016, the number of swimrunners has doubled each year. This trend doesn’t seem to change.
Once you’ve tried swimrun, you want more. You want to race again…and again. It is nearly what all new swimrunners are telling us after their first race.
What question do you get regarding swimrun equipment? What do people want to know?
M: Mostly new swimrunners have studied pictures from swim run races, and they wonder why we choose to carry a pull buoy, why we swim 10k with paddles, or if will it be cold in the water, if will you get blisters from running in wet shoes, etc. We also get a lot of questions about the teamwork, and how to use the elastic cord in our Swimrunners TM pull belt while swimming and running. I guess you soon forget how strange swimrun can be for a beginner, but every time we talk to new swimrunners we are reminded of it.
Who is asking, old swimmers, runners, triathletes or perhaps pure swimrunners?
It is especially new swimrunners who seeks advice, but they are still mainly experienced endurance athletes. Experienced swimrunners also comes to us with questions, feedback or a good idea to improve our swimrunners TM products. We highly appreciate our cooperation with our Swimrunners TM profiles who are among the best swimrunners in the world.
Do you see any interest among the younger generation or is it still ‘more experienced’ people contacting you?
We continue to see many younger swimrunners – under 30 years – and the more the sport grows the more diverse swimrunners will be in age and background. But swimrun probably still appeals mainly to experienced athletes with some years of competing/racing in other endurance sports.
More and more swimrunners have started to explore and do their own swimrun adventures, outside of the racing scene. As a product developer, do you foresee any new equipment coming out here?
Customizing is a keyword for us in our product development right now. There are many different types of races now, which all require different types of equipment. Our focus for next year will be to develop products that can be customized to different types of trail running, distances of running, distances of swimming, number of transitions and swimming in lakes in contrast to the ocean (fresh water/seawater).
The equipment should also be adaptable to different ways of team-working. We strive to give our customers many different products, but mainly products that you can customize and adjust to the individual team and race.
OK! Last but not least, given that you have your own swimrun brand, but also are in close contact with the swimrun manufacturers, can we expect some exiting swimrun gear developments for 2017? Or perhaps from your own brand Swimrunners?
M & S: We are working together with some brands to improve the swimrun wetsuits, and we use our own experience, but also the feedback we get from our customers.
In 2017 we will add a third belt to our ‘pull belt’ products. This will be a simpler belt, for the experienced team with equally strong athletes, who needs all traditions to be super-fast – and it will also be possible to change position in the water with the elastic cord. Our swimrunners paddles will come in black on one side and different colours on the other side and with pre-printed lines for the distances on the coloured side.
Swimrun is a great sport because you can make your own equipment, or you can choose the easy way and get it from a store. Never the less, lot of ideas emerge and are being exchanged every time swimrunners meet at races. We design and produce the equipment we need ourselves, and we give other swimrunners the opportunity to get it as well.
Ok, we are excited. Thanks for taking the time to talk to us at WoS. We look forward to next years developments!
NEW TO SWIMRUN OR LOOKING TO ADVANCE YOUR SKILLS?
- Don’t forget to check out our #swimrun race calendar for 2017. It’s being updated with all the new dates but also all the new races popping up around the world. At the moment we’re at 248 confirmed races worldwide and in 24 countries!
- Have a look at our science corner. Here you will find all info on the latest research!
- Check out our swimrun equipment tests. We live and breathe swimrun racing and equipment development.
- How should you train for swimrun? We know how to get down and get busy. Read about it here.
- Do you feel that something is missing, or perhaps have something you would like to share with the community? Then join us!