Tomorrow will see Sweden’s ÖtillÖ race celebrate its 10th anniversary, as 120 International teams of two take on one of the world’s most challenging multisport endurance races.
Held on Stockholm’s picturesque archipelago, each team will start at Sandhamn and traverse the 26 islands and sea stretches to complete a total distance of 65km of running and 10km of swimming. The time to beat is last year’s course record by world champions Lennart Moberg and Daniel Hansson from Sweden, who finished in 8 hours 16 minutes – although the race will see competitors enduring the challenging sea swims and rocky, island trail runs for up to 14 hours with a strict cut-off time based on sunset.
UK event to launch
Competition for places is fierce with two qualifying events – Uto and Engadin – held annually, as well as merit places being allocated. However with the rise in popularity of swim-run races, the organisers are planning to expand into Germany and the UK in 2016 with a race in the Lake District being planned. There will then be further qualifying races in France and the Mediterranean in 2017.
Also, Sprint category races next year will give athletes the chance to try the swim-run format. Dates and distances for the UK sprint race are unconfirmed at present, but will be approximately 20km, incorporating 2-3km of swimming.
This year’s ÖtillÖ event see several GB teams taking part, including Pippa Middleton racing with Sweden’s Jöns Bartholdson. Reigning world champions and course record holders in all three disciplines Lennart Moberg and Daniel Hansson (men), Ulrika Eriksson with new team mate Peter Oom (mixed), mother and daughter Bibben Nordblom and Charlotta Nilsson (women) will meet a strong field of athletes. The full start list is here.
ÖtillÖ have also today announced an initiative #swimrunforlife, to raise funds to help the Red Cross in their work with refugees. Race founder Michael Lemmel said at today’s race briefing: “We want to race for people who are swimming and running for life – to their safety. We’re a really cool community, we want to do something good.” Find out more here.