Race Report: Åland Swimrun 2017

“I have been to hell and back and let me tell you it was EPIC”

The cold water of the Baltic Sea was not only beginning to affect my judgement, it was in full blossom. I could only think of two things: a hot sauna and “What the hell are we doing here”.

When first I got into the business of running in a wetsuit and swimming in shoes some ten years ago, I had NO clue what I was doing. We were absolute beginners who kind of made up the sport as we went along. As many of you know, many teams used quiet big backpacks and floatation devices designed for kids. The sport of swimrun was literally being born in front of us. The first years of Swimrun offered only one competition: ÖtillÖ, today the world Championship. In fact the sport didn’t even have a name back in the early years. We where just people who liked a good challenge and didn’t care too much about the “strangeness” of running around in the woods with wetsuits. But the spirit of teamwork, nature and of course really hard mental and physical challenges have appealed to many people these last years. The beautiful and sometimes harsh Stockholm Archipelago with its many Islands offers a perfect setting for a spectacular sport. Over the years I have done other swimrun races, but I have always found ÖtillÖ to be the original.

The ingredients for a swimrun should in my humble opinion include: A course from A to B, long and hard swims, technical trail running. Some waves to stir up things.  A good teammate and some epic nature. Swimrun have been a part of my life for almost ten years now. These past years have only consisted of a few swimruns every year to concentrate on the distant cousin: Triathlon.

 

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Choose your swimrun training music wisely – It can help you progress!

Do you do exercise with or without music?

Well if not, you should think of trying since it can enhance your performance. A recent study has found that music could possibly do this, especially during fatigue.

Now of course people also enjoy the silence or perhaps ‘presence’ of nature, being one-with-the-birds, and listening to music while swimming can be a bit challenging. But, if you’re about to push your own boundaries and take your training to the next level, this might be the extra tool you’re looking for.

 

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Risks and dangers for racers in Swimrun

As a prelude to the discussion about the risks of Swimrun on the body, it seems essential to present this activity in full expansion in Europe and throughout the world.

There were 40 races in Europe (2-3 countries maximum) but today there are more than 50 events in France alone. France being the second nation after Sweden the cradle of the discipline in terms of race and competitor.

But this is important, the Swimrun is also in his mind outside the races in training sessions or simply sharing a sporting moment with other people. For a while, communities are forming and outings are organized without any goal to go towards the competition but only enjoy the moment. Some even engage in adventure roaming Swimrun by transporting bivouac equipment like The Swimrun Mediterranean raid last June or the expedition to Lake Baikal scheduled in the summer of 2018.

 

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Åland Swimrun geting close.

On the 23 of september is the Åland Swimrun is held for the second time, and we on World of Swimrun is curius how the planing is going. What to expect and so forth. We found contact with the race directors Ia Colerius and Hubert von Frenckell.

Close to race now! Is the race course well market?

Yes, it´s getting closer. Well marked? At the moment only the supersprint course is marked but gradually we will start to mark the Short course. The Long- course will this year only be partially marked (at the start and in the end). Instead the Long- participants will get a map and find themselves a way from A, where they get up from the water to B, the start of the next swimming segment.The swimming segments for all three routes will be marked both at the decline into water (flag) and at the ascent from the water (buoys / signs)

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Lostwater Swimrun Orienteering – Your own way through nature

Imagine standing before a swimrun race not knowing exactly where and how far you will go. A few seconds to start and you lean forward, preparing to pick up the waterproof map placed on the ground, back up.  

That Swimrun Orienteering origins from Sweden is perhaps not so hard to imagine. Both Swimrun and Orienteering cultures are strong here. The Founder and Race Director Erik Froode is exited about the premiere.

“I really hope I can convey the joy and adventure when going your own way through nature, and it will be interesting to see what will happen when these two sports come together to form one”.

Swimrun Orienteering combines Swimrun and Foot Orienteering and will take you out on a boundless adventure where you as a team decide how to move from one checkpoint to another. One limitation is that you must use the designated water entry/exit points (WEPs). It is a safety precaution and also a way to control the amount of swimming. Besides that you are free to go your own way between checkpoints, both on land and in water. Checkpoint platforms has been designed and built where a standard orienteering checkpoint/marker pole is integrated.

 

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