Ötillö, the creators of swimrun, hosted their first event since lockdown with Swimrun Engadin, in Switzerland last weekend (26 July). The main race attracted 78 teams from 21 countries, which includes around 40km of running and 6km of swimming.
Outdoor Swimmer editor Jonathan Cowie completed Swimrun Engadin in 2017 and described the course as “beautiful but brutal”. With a starting elevation of 1700m, an additional 1499m of elevation to scale, two time cut-offs to beat, water temperatures of between 10 and 14 degrees, and a longest run section of 8.5km, it’s remarkable that 85% of the participants managed to finish.
Strict Covid-19 precautions were enforced from registration through to prize giving. These included all participants being required to wear face coverings for registration and in the starting area, although not while racing. The race briefing was recorded and posted online. The start area was expanded and segmented to allow social distancing, with the fastest racers starting in front. Feed stations were enlarged, with energy drinks pre-poured into recyclable cups and nutrition products individually wrapped. Participants were encouraged to carry their own gels and drinks.
The top six teams (two men’s, two women’s and two mixed) qualified for the Ötillö Swimrun World Championships 2021, scheduled for 6 September in the Stockholm Archipelago. The 2020 World Championships, which was scheduled for September 2020, has been cancelled.
The women’s race featured several of the fastest female swimrunners in the world. Ulrika Eriksson & Hanna Skårbratt (SWE) of Team ARK Swimrun eventually finished first in 5:48:36, 10 minutes ahead of Alexia Bailly & Eugenie Plane (FRA) of Team Altrisquad. Former world champions Annika Eriksson & Kristin Larson (SWE) also from team ARK Swimrun, finished third.
In mixed the competition Victor Dahl & current world champion Desirée Andersson (SWE) from Team Envol crossed the line first in 5:37:53, which also put them in fifth position overall. Martin Flinta & Johanna Edman (SWE) of Team Thule Crew were second and Montse Martinez Guerrero & Eduard Barcelo (AND) of Team Envol Andorra took third place.
Finally, in the men’s event, Remi Mariette & Guillaume Henneman (FRA) of Team Gravelines Triathlon collected their second Ötillö Swimrun World Series title in 5:21:56, a little less than 2 1/2 minutes ahead of Antony Costes & Thomas Navarro (FRA) of Team "Les DT Suisse. It was clearly France’s day as another French team, ARGON 18, (Pierre Massonneau & Fabien Besancon) finished third in 5:32:43.
Image © Ötillö