Ö till Ö Final 15 – Race Report

OK, where do I begin…

Final 15 might not be a tough race. Or is it? I recommend it to anyone who wants to try out swimrun and feel that other races might be a too big step. This is a light, fun, intense and quite rough race. After all, it’s the end of the world championships in swimrun. You run over holy ground for swimrunners and over a phase during the world championships where most look down deep into the abyss and your goal image seems further and further away. But that’s the beauty of it right?

I had looked forward so much doing this race with my friend Philip ”Svettpahjarnan” (Sweat on the brain) Robson, aka SirRunALot, aka… S… I’ll get to that.

I love endurance sport. Period. I love the adventure. I love the variation that swimrun has to offer where you never know what’s around the next corner (despite writing down those damn times and distances on your paddles). It’s fantastic.

I might not have taken Ö till Ö Final 15 seriously, or did I? Philip, being a Ö till Ö veteran with five (5) times in his resume, it was a wonderful race. ”It’s the first time I get to run that fucking last stretch and not be in a blur.” OK. I get it.

Fuck it, let’s go. Philip picks me up and we drive to the port at Årsta Brygga where we’ve stand so many times shivering from the cold and rain going to races, or in the sun going to party on the islands. Our boat takes us through the archipelago and on the boat we meet several swimrun-buddies. Most of them will not compete in the world championships on Monday, for natural reasons.

At Utö, we change from our civilized clothes into full combat gear and the boat to Ornö leaves at 11 sharp. Equipment check!

Equipment:

  • HEAD Tiger Mid goggles
  • HEAD Aero Swimrun Race suit (cut legs above the knee and 1/5 cut arms to leave the wrists open)
  • HEAD Swimrun west.
  • FusionComp3 tights
  • Colting Wetsuits Calf Guards
  • GoGoCo compressionsocks (black for color matching)
  • Hoka One One ATR Challenger 2 (Too much asphalt running for me…)
  • Strokemaster mid paddles
  • Pull Buoy made from  a kids floating device attached to my elastic cord with an elastic band from old swimming goggles.
  • Elastical cord with a hook (equal length between us)
  • Garmin Fenix 3 HR
  • 3 SIS Gels (with caffein 400 kcal per portion)

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I’ve suffered a bit from pains since Rockman Swimrun so I stuff mysel with painkillers before we leave for Ornö.

 

We get on the boat to Ornö and the spirit is high. First-time swimrunners and veterans such as Björn Englund and my partner Philip Robson are mixed in a wonderful

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Swimrun race brief one the boat from Utö to Ornö. Holy ground for swimrun.

swimruncocktail. The race brief is mostly nostalgia and the usual security measures (not to taken lightly), but most importantly Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott pushes the family feeling which I love so much about swimrun. Everybody suppors each other – pros and noobs. No divas allowed. Perfect.

The start is at 12:15pm… sharp… uphill with the church at Ornö on our right hand side. We push hard in a 4:30 / km pace to escape the horde of swim runners but it seems like most have got the same strategy planned.

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Final 15 - 2016. Foto: JakobEdholm.com

The start of  ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Final 15 – 2016. Photo:  JakobEdholm.com

We push on and jump into the water. My Garmin is set on 40 minutes for an even energy intake. Blurry memories how we got into the water, but I know we did the mistake of NOT hooking our lines together, but only Philips line, making it way to short. The 900 m swim between Kyrkviken and Ängsholmen is quite straight forward, but the adrenaline is high and there are many swim runners in the water. We pass a couple of new comers who swim in parallel with the line between them, like a trawl and we swim straight into their line. Close formation is a must people!

I like a couple of short swims and runs before you get to the longer ones, but this race have their longest swim first.

We get up from the first swim and both me and Philip are irritated by the bad start and we move on up on the same hill where we started, only this time we take a left after Ornö Kyrka (church). Asphalt…. asphalt and more asphalt. I hate asphalt running and my legs take a lot of damage despite running in my Hoka One One’s, which I wore during Utö Swimrun 2016.

I really don’t like this type of running. It’s horrible so early in a race and I understand why Ornö, not only because of the infamous 22 km right in the middle of the world championships, have a mark in swimrun history. To me, this wasn’t good at all. My left calf hurt like a mofo and my ankle to. This was not fun.

After about 6 km we turn into a trail and it’s a bit of fun trail running. I like that as I only run trails. The motivation goes up and we move on. After a couple of +300m swims we enter a 1800m run. Half way there…

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Final 15 - 2016. Foto: JakobEdholm.com
Bushmen on ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Final 15 – 2016. Photo: JakobEdholm.com

We press on and now the island hopping start which would have been insanely fun, if it wasn’t for my pain. Some time along the road I stop and as Philip if it’s normal that that my foot shakes uncontrollably. He respons ”Fuck do I know, dude. Let’s move on.” The whole time all I can think of is that this is my last race of the season. This was supposed to be so insanely fun. I get to go into war with my friend Philip!

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Final 15 - 2016. Foto: JakobEdholm.com
It’s all about the team dynamics. When I stared into the abyss, I got a firm and friendly push and things became much better. Foto: JakobEdholm.com

We cross the finish line around three hours which is ok. It was so much fun to do this race with Philip, but madly sad to be in pain. I said that this race was my last for this season. I have a few more planned so we shall see my friends. We shall see.

What went right:

  • Partner (see above)
  • No experiments… 40 minutes energy intake.
  • My wetsuit… Head Aero Swimrun suit… holy f-ing shit what a suit.
  • The Colting Wetsuit Calf Guards… Holy moly.. try them on!
  • Motivation
  • Camaraderie

Vad som gick fel: 

  • My pain.
  • Pull buoy. What a mess.
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A swimrun machine and a swimrun pulp. So much fun doing this race with  Philip.

Anyways. I never quit. NEVER. That word is not in my vocabulary unless my head is separated from my body or I have livor mortis. I don’t give a shit how much pain I’m in.

I can’t wait to face the next season. I’ll write about this year later, but tomorrow, from my business class seat on my SAS flight to New York, I’ll follow my swimrun friends Elin Lilja & Jonas Colting (Team Colting Wetsuits), Marika Wagner & Staffan Björklund (Winners Mix 2015), Daniel Becker & James Pratt (Team Sportextreme) and Petter Askergren and Mårten Vidlund (Team Addnature/Heja Stina) and many more.

Push yourself to the limit my dear friends. You are my heroes!

Photos on Flickr from Ö till Ö Final 15:

Jakob Edholm Foto FLICKR