Portland, Maine will host the first ÖTILLÖ SwimRun-inspired event in North America, so you best organize a teammate, swim paddles and pull buoys.
”SwimRun has had an explosive growth in Scandinavia and Europe over the past few years. From the humble beginnings in the Swedish archipelago 10 years ago, there are now thousands of participants and over 50 races in Sweden annually. Races all over Europe are popping up and selling out. And now, finally, an American SwimRun race,” said Jonas Colting, 3-time winner of ÖTILLÖ and the only person to complete in all ten editions of the SwimRun World Championships.
Consisting of multiple alternating swim and overland running legs (island roads, trails, and shoreline scrambles) between 8 islands in Portland’s spectacular Casco Bay, this adventure will test competitors with run legs across nearly 10 miles of varied island terrain and a combined 4 miles of open water swimming.
“Maine’s Casco Bay is famed for its assorted islands of spectacular beauty that make it a natural location to stage the first ‘OTILLO-style’ SwimRun in the US”, says Jeff Cole, co-organizer of the event.
The Casco Bay Islands SwimRun is a two-person team event. Rules permit swim aids such as hand paddles, pull buoys, wetsuits and even swim fins to name a few, as long as they are carried the full distance. Hydration and race fuel are typically carried by the competitors as well. Certain safety gear is mandated by race rules. Changing from trail shoes to swim fins, or tending to awkward gear, can chew up valuable time. Thus having the right teammate and equipment can make all the difference.
”Why is SwimRun growing so fast? Because it’s an extremely laid back racing environment with events that focus heavily on providing beautiful yet challenging courses, combining rugged running on trails and wild open water swimming for hours on end! It´s really an amphibious adventure! And it´s very social as it is a two-person team sport,” added Colting.
“Teams will experience scrambles over rocky island shores or stretches of remote beaches, running island roads of hard gravel, paved and grass surfaces, and woods trails through conservation lands as well as some remarkable fortification remnants from the Civil War that dot a few of the islands,” adds Cole, a lifelong Mainer.
Long known as the fastest female swimmer in triathlon, Sara McLarty competed at ÖTILLÖ in 2015 with teammate Misty Becerra and had this to say: “We are thrilled to hear SwimRun will be making an appearance in the USA this year. One look at Google Earth and we know the Casco Bay area is going to provide a challenge similar to the Swedish Archipelago. We find out on January 28th if we have been accepted to ÖTILLÖ again but either way, expect to see team Good'Nuff in Portland this August!”
Casco Bay Islands SwimRun is produced by Valhalla Sports Group in conjunction with USA-SwimRun and will be limited to 100 teams.
Applications for 20 team positions on merit consideration and 80 team race slots for a lottery pool will open on January 8 at usa-swimrun.com. There is no fee for the lottery or merit application entries. Merit team applicants will be required to submit a summary of each member’s record of competitive achievement that should include endurance and/or adventure racing, Ironman or other long distance triathlon, multisport or ultra distance competitions and any commercial sponsorship relationships. Race organizers will have sole discretion in selecting merit team candidates. Selections will be made of the most outstanding men, women, and mixed teams that apply for merit consideration. On April 3rd, a random drawing of lottery entries will be used to award the 80 lottery team slots. Successful merit and lottery winners will be required to submit their team's full registration details and race fee in full by April 6th, otherwise the unsecured spots will roll down to the next ordered merit applicant or lottery candidate drawn.
Successful merit and lottery applicants being awarded a team race slot must be at least 18 years of age as of August 14, 2016 and when submitting their team's race entry details, lottery applicants must provide verifiable race results within the last two years for each team member showing either a 1500m, 1.2mi., or 2.4mi open water swim time NOT exceeding 35 minutes, 48 minutes, or 85 minutes respectively for women, and 33 minutes, 45 minutes, or 75 minutes respectively for men. Certification of a one mile pool swim of not more than 33 min for women or 31 min for men from a certified Red Cross lifeguard at a nearby YMCA/YWCA or club will be accepted.
“The open water swims will require sighting and navigating strategies to better an estimated time to finish of 4.5 - 5 hours. Casco Bay Islands SwimRun will set the bar for the future of this unique endurance team sport in the US,” explains Cole.
Hopefuls are encouraged to visit the official ÖTILLÖ website and the Official Film ÖTILLÖ 2015 The SwimRun World Championship to learn more about this challenging event and gain insight on optimal gear selection.
For more on USA-Swimrun please visit: usa-swimrun.com
For more on Valhalla Sports Group please visit: www.valhallasportsgroup.com