Fast times high up in the mountains

The ÖtillÖ Swimrun Engadin takes place at 1,800 - 2,100 meters of altitude and features technical trails and cold swims in crystal clear mountain lakes. This venue near St. Moritz in Switzerland is the perfect backdrop for a beautiful and tough race, and 116 teams from 22 different countries were attempting this challenge on the 40km running and 6km swimming course. A day earlier 250 people competed in the shorter Sprint and Experience events, but in this image gallery by Pierre Mangez we focus on the World Series event, the last race of 2019 with automatic entry slots for the 2019 ÖtillÖ Swimrun World Championships in Sweden.

The venue is truly spectacular and athletes often are inspired to return to this venue for vacation or training purposes.

Swedes Joakim Brunzell and Johan Carlsson of Team Simployer early on in the race preparing for their first swim, after running 3km uphill.

The first swim in Lej Cavloc is very cold at 9-10 degrees Celsius (48 F) but it is short and quickly done. And afterwards a narrow trail keeps pointing uphill.

The female favorites Desirée Andersson and Jenny Ramstedt of Team HEAD Swimming had a bit more traffic as they entered Lej Cavloc.

The view from above is very peaceful, but the action below is fierce.

Most teams are power walking the climb after that opening swim as the day is very long and haste early makes waste. Plus passing another team on this section is very difficult.

The higher the race goes the more the teams spread out and the scenery gets more and more beautiful.

But full focus is required as the trails are very technical and a fall could end the race rather fast.

Joakim Brunzell and Johan Carlsson on the way to the title, edging out Daniel Hansson and Lelle Moberg by 3 minutes for the win.

The area is very touristy and folks exploring the Engadin Valley were treated to quite a show. For the athletes there are 8 swims in total and the longest swim is 1,400 meters.

The very experienced Martin Flinta with new partner Johanna Edman of team Thule Crew/ Wolffwear HEAD SR team on the way to second place in the mixed division. But only 1.5 minutes behind the winning team.

The course goes up and down and here and there teams go through quaint mountain villages. Hikers and cyclists can also be encountered everywhere, and athletes are cautioned in the race briefing to be considerate to other trail users. Being rude to others might result in getting kicked out of the race. "We are guests on these courses and must act as such. Just because we wear bib numbers does not make us more important."

Crossing a bridge with hikers looking on.

The swims are pretty cold and most teams deal with it well, but some teams struggle with the cold. Typically however the hard running between swims warms folks up.

Swedes Desirée Andersson and Jenny Ramstedt on the way to the female title.

Swiss Diane Sadik and Norwegian Knut Baadshaug of Team ARK Swimrun grabbed the mixed team title and finished in 5th place overall. Their time of 5:38:37 was about 11 minutes behind the winning male team

A late storm made the sky dark for the teams further back.

Results 2019 ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Engadin
Silvaplana, Switzerland / July 7, 2019

Male teams

1. Joakim Brunzell and Johan Carlsson (SWE) Team Simployer 5:27:29
2. Daniel Hansson and Lelle Moberg (SWE) Team ARK Swimrun 5:30:21
3. Francesc De Lanuza Gimeno and Santi Pellejero Garcia (ESP) Team Head Vo2 5:32:06

Mixed teams

1. Diane Sadik (SUI) and Knut Baadshaug (NOR) Team ARK Swimrun 5:38:37
2. Martin Flinta and Johanna Edman (SWE) Thule Crew/ Wolffwear HEAD SR team 5:40:09
3. Simon Börjeson and Charlotte Eriksson (SWE) Team Garmin 5:49:05

Female teams

1. Desirée Andersson and Jenny Ramstedt (SWE) Team HEAD Swimming 6:17:16
2. Helen Wikmar and Isabella Hedberg (SWE) ARK Souls 6:19:44
3. Emma Davies (IRL) and Jessica Harrison (FRA) MAKO Sports - Dirty Harriets 6:31:58

All images © Pierre Mangez / ÖtillÖ