Mother Nature is unpredictable and we have to live in harmony with her. The weather played a big role in the 2017 ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Championships and made this very tough 65k running and 10k swimming race over 26 island extremely difficult with high winds and rain. But the athletes hung in tough. Here are some stunning images plus a video from the 2017 ÖTILLÖ World Championships in Sweden.
The French team of Julien Valette and Pierre-André Anizan during one of the swim exits realizing that getting out might not be so easy. Rain and moss made the swim entrances and exits like fantastic natural Slip and Slides. The same was apparently true for certain run segments.
Swimming in these tough conditions required skill, bravado and endurance.
Early on the teams were bunched up rather tightly, but that did not last very long. The course and Mother Nature spread out the teams with intensity.
In the men's race 4 teams hung tough together and sliced through the rough waters like a hot knife through ice cream.
These four Swedish teams were Daniel Hansson and Jesper Svensson (Swedish Armed Forces), Jonas Ekman and Lars Ekman (Sailfish team Bröderna Bäver), Oscar Olsson and Martin Flinta (Team Löplabbet) and triathletes Pontus Lindberg and George Bjälkemo (Team Garmin).
Many eyes were on the French Olympian David Hauss and his French triathlon team mate Cederic Fleureton. The two athletes managed an impressive 7th place in the race but they ended up 51 minutes behind the winning team of Daniel Hansson and Jesper Svensson.
Daniel Hansson and Jesper Svensson in action during the race. Fast running and swimming combined with smooth team work, despite only being connected shortly before the race. But outside observers would not have been wiser when watching that great team effort.
The mixed Apollo Sports / Head Swimming team of Staffan Björklund and Marika Wagner ended up second in the mixed division by a narrow 30 second margin. Both athletes swim without googles and are not alone in this sport choosing to do so.
The American Houston based Danger Zone team of John Craft and Josh Rayner narrowly escaped from Houston to face Mother Nature again in Sweden.
Meanwhile up front it was pretty smooth sailing on course record pace despite the rough seas.
Climbing and scrambling skills came in handy many times on this long day. And on the slippery rocks even shoes with aggressive treads sometimes had to beg for mercy.
The California based team of Andrew Hewitt and Daemon Anastas (California SwimRun) finished 51st, 3:09:31 behind the winning team. Andrew Hewitt runs the California SwimRun events with his friend Sean Durkin.
Protected from wind and rain and running on somewhat level and smooth ground. Oh the humanity.
Swedes Marcus Ahlström and Fredrik Rosenholm (Swimshop.se) running along pushing the envelope of the mandatory 10 meter contact.
Oscar Olsson and Martin Flinta (Team Löplabbet) pushed the pace up front and looked very strong but in the end had to be content with 3rd place, 9:34 behind the winners. Flinta's wife Eva Nyström meanwhile captured the mixed title with Adriel Young.
Americans Chris Hauth and Rich Roll (Finding Ultra) have great resumes to their names and many folks were curious how they would do. When it was all said and done the 2 California based athletes finished 41st, 2:46:40 behind Daniel Hansson and Jesper Svensson.
Getting into the water was at times very tricky too, and athletes used various techniques to accomplish that feat.
This mixed teams has Swimrun specific Patto Fins in hand. These carbon fins fit over running shoes and can also be used as paddles. Thus many refer to them as Patto Faddles.
The video below is a very fine recap of the action.
All images © Jakob Edholm and Pierre Mangez / ÖTILLÖ