Often conditions are pretty cold at the Rockman Swimrun in Norway, but the water and air temperatures were surprisingly warm and the racing hot in this ÖtillÖ merit race, and that was actually true last year too. And for the third time in a row a mixed team managed to win the race outright. Swedes Simon Börjeson and Charlotte Eriksson crossed the line in 7:15:46, while the next male team needed 7:32:13 to finish the race.
According to the race director Thor Hesselberg the water temp in the fjord was 17 degrees Celsius versus the typical 12-14 degrees, and the lake swim temps were about 18 degrees compared to 8-14 degrees from other years. And the air temperature started with a mellow 18 degrees in the morning and heated up to 26 degrees by midday.
The race itself is 39 km in total with 10 swims (6 km total) and 10 runs (33 km total) plus 2,500 meters of elevation gain and the infamous Flørli section with 4,444 steps or possibly a few more.
Similar to the Norseman Xtreme Triathlon, the athletes of the Rockman Swimrun start their day with a launch off a boat near Fantahåla.
The views in this Swimrun race are stunning and teams quickly spread out.
Some of the Rockman swim exits are rather tricky, but there is a common thread in many of these Swimrun events - many happy smiles.
Swedes Emil Aberg and André Andersson of Team Buckmen seen here navigating a tricky rocky section on the way to the next swim. And trail running shoes are certainly recommended in this race.
At the front of the race it is indeed about winning and or placing high, but some teams are in these events for the unique adventure and experience, and the main goal is to avoid time cuts and have fun. Here the mixed team with Eeva Liesirova and Jaakko Pajunen from Finland are on their way to the next swim and 39th place overall in 11:55:12.
Nicolay Jonassen Harbin and Frode Jordbrekk of Team pampers fully focused on the task at hand and these Norwegian male team managed 19th place overall in 10:08:11.
Tethered together back into the water for another swim for Team Lost. Swedes Fanny Ahlfors and Patrik Widell show how it is done on the way to 7th place overall in 8:57:27 for this mixed team. Diving head first into the water from the shore is not permitted in most races as there are too many dangers.
The USA team Oregoonians with Anne Heiner and Julia Frey on the way to the female title and 17th place overall in 10:00:21. Running with poles is very popular in trail running events but very rare in Swimrun, likely not seen before.
Teams on the earlier mentioned Flørli section of the course and this is indeed tough. There is not much running here and Spaniards Francisco Javier Merencio Perez and Oscar Pastor Garcia follow other teams up the more than 4,444 steps.
With the fjord way below Norwegians Tor Brommeland and Håvard Ølstørn still have a long way to go.
Success and happiness on the course is different for each team. Team HokaOneOne Time to Fly with Swedes Kenneth Löfman and Ulrika Östlund clearly happy to just be there and on the way to 21st place overall.
Here is step 4,444 but it appears that there is still some distance to go.
Are you ready? Team Max2 with Marie Tedesco and Lionel Quil from France about to start another swim.
The RUNICORN Team HEAD / arturkurek.PRO team with Marek Szymczak and Artur Kurek on the way to 5th place overall in 8:35:34.
There is no time here to look at the photographer for Petri Kanerva and Magnus Hellström from Finland are well aware that being distracted may cause a fall and possibly an injury. They finished 22nd overall in 10:34:32
There are faster running sections too but not necessarily easy.
Americans Kristen Smith Jeno and Jenny Ledford of Team Sole Sistas with a bit of a balancing act.
The overall champions. The mixed team YO Running Club with Charlotte Eriksson and Simon Börjeson put on quite a show and dominated this race.
Photos here by Jose Miguel Muñoz Egea and courtesy of Rockman Swimrun