The new and growing endurance sport of swimrun, is reported to be ‘exploding in Europe’. Its origins come from Sweden via the gruelling ÖTILLÖ race in the Stockholm archipelago, which is considered one of the toughest endurance challenges in the world.
With the increasing demand for swimrun races around the world, a whole new set of races are being launched as the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series. On 18 June – 120 teams of two will take on the first edition of ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Isles of Scilly, positioned as a tough but stunning race course of 45 km swimming and running on and around the beautiful islands on the south west tip of England.
More than 150 events are on the ÖTILLÖ swimrun calendar for 2016 with ‘over 10,000 keen athletes, increasing every day’. The organisers point out that the essence of swimrun is alternating between trail running and open water swimming in unique places and wild nature. ‘There is no time to lose between the two disciplines, which means that you run in your wetsuit and you swim in your shoes!’ Athletes always race in teams of two for safety and to add the team spirit to the mix.
The ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series events are qualifier events to ÖTILLÖ, the Swimrun World Championship, in the Stockholm archipelago, taking place on 5 September 2016. ÖTILLÖ is renown as one of the toughest one-day races in the world. Participants run 65 km on island trails, slippery rocks, unbeaten terrain and swim a total of 10 km in the cold water of the Baltic Sea.
The course in the Stockholm archipelago passes over and between 26 islands. The qualifier races of the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series are almost as tough as the original race and are based on the same philosophy as ÖTILLÖ, to create unique races in unique places in wild nature.
For 2016 the World Series consists of four events including a sprint version at each event, the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Sprints, for those who want to try out a shorter, more accessible course. For 2017 more races in new countries will be added to the list. The organisers add that the choice of venue is ‘very selective so the process takes time!’ Eight teams total per ÖTILLÖ World Series event qualify for the main ÖTILLÖ event in Sweden.