On a near perfect and beautiful day on the Stockholm archipelago, teams in all 3 division managed to obliterate all existing records and this may not yet be the end in terms of what is possible. The race now in its 13th edition however did not have super fast times throughout, there were plenty of teams who spent 10 hours or more running 65 km across 24 islands and swimming 10 km between them. At the IRONMAN World Championships in Hawaii in the first few years the times improved rapidly but then stabilized to some degree until 1986 when Dave Scott's time of 8:28:37 destroyed the 1985 course record time by Scott Tinley (8:50:54) and just the year before in 1984 the magic 9 hour barrier was finally broken, also by Dave Scott.
During the 2016 ÖtillÖ World Championships the 8 hour barrier was finally broken by Lelle Moberg and Daniel Hansson of team Swedish Armed Forces in a time of 7:59:04, and that had seemed impossible. The next year Daniel Hansson with new partner Jesper Svensson pushed the record even lower on a very tough day and managed a 7:58:06.
But this year Swedes Fredrik Axegård and Alex Flores captured the men's race in 7:39:25 seconds and that was an astonishing 19 minutes faster than the record set in 2017. Plus 3 more male teams managed to go under that previous best time.
Top 3 male teams
1. Fredrik Axegård and Alex Flores (SWE) - Team Sport Office 7:39:25
2. Jonas Ekman Fischer and Lars Ekman (SWE) - Sailfish Team Bröderna Bäver 7:42:07
3. Oscar Olsson (SWE) and Adriel Young (AUS) - Team Ark Swimrun-HUUB 7:44:20
The women's race was equally exciting and impressive and Annika Ericsson and Kristin Larsson (SWE) stormed to a win in 8:56:26 - 39 minutes faster than the course record they set in 2016. Four more female teams also managed to stay below that 9:32:02 course record time.
Top 3 female teams
1. Kristin Larsson and Annika Ericsson (SWE) - Team Outdoor Experten 8:56:26
2. Fanny Danckwardt and Desirée Andersson (SWE) - Team Envol 9:00:15
3. Charlotte Eriksson and Renée Huuva (SWE) - Yo Running Club 9:07:11
In the mixed division Martin Flinta (SWE) and Helena Erbenova Karaskova (CZE) captured the win in 8:16:15 and that time bested the previous best time by 33 minutes. The next 3 teams also stayed under that time of 8:49:58.
Top 3 Mixed Teams
1. Martin Flinta (SWE) and Helena Erbenova Karaskova (CZE) - Thule Crew/Wolffwear Swimrun 8:16:15
2. Sam Clark (NZL) and Marika Wagner (SWE) - Apollo Sports 8:30:19
3. Thomas Schreven (NED) and Jasmina Glad-Schreven (FIN) - Say no! to doping 8:36:29
All images below by Jakob Edholm and Pierre Mangez
The winning time by Fredrik Axegård and Alex Flores is truly stunning. 7:39:25 for 65km of trail running and 10km of ocean open water swimming.
Full focus at the start as 160 teams from 25 different nations took off for a hard and memorable day.
The first swim section is typically the only time when it looks like a big school of fish in action.
Fredrik Granström and Ludvig Myrenberg of Team Grinder Man seemingly played out their team name at one of the swim exits.
The famous Swedish rapper Petter in action during the 2018 ÖtillÖ Swimrun World Champions with his mixed team partner Therese Alshammar - a Swedish swimmer with 3 Olympic medals to her name.
Team Undone Tribe had a very long day with a time of 13:42:21 but they had a great time along the way.
What a difference a year makes. In 2017 all swims were rough and cold, but this year the swims were calm and beautiful.
Americans Nate Larlee and John Stevens (Team Maine Event) on their way to 50th place in the men's race with a time of 10:26:54.
Oscar Olsson (SWE) with new team mate Adriel Young (AUS) hung in tough all day but had to settle for 3rd place in the end.
The Swimrun Germany team by Head with Barbara Seidel and Tanja Neumann watching their footing as they navigate across slippery ground.
The 2016 champions Lelle Moberg and Daniel Hansson wore bib number 1 (Hansson also won in 2017 but with a different partner) but this year they finished in 7th place in 8:15:35.
Teams running along at the edge of one of the 24 islands that teams have to cross.
Swedes Magnus Myhrborg and Andreas Kronberg on the way to 17th place in the men's division with a time of 8:48:09
We mentioned earlier that the women's race was very tight and it was Fanny Danckwardt and Desirée Andersson of Team Envol who really pushed the winning team to their limit. At the end Team Envol finished 2nd in a time of 9:00:15.
Three mixed teams are navigating a tricky descent section with the help of a rope, and in SwimRun teams usually assist each other in such situations.
The female champions Kristin Larsson and Annika Ericsson were amazingly fast on that day, and their time of 8:56:25 placed them 26th overall.
Sometimes it is a balancing act to get out of the water.
And there is also the option to play hide and seek, but it is best to move forward to the next swim as mixed team ARK souls Lotta Lundbäck and Tony Edmundsson show here on the way to 9th place in the mixed division.
Hail to the victors in the mixed division. Martin Flinta (SWE) and Helena Erbenova Karaskova (CZE) of team Thule Crew/Wolffwear Swimrun crushed the course record in a time of 8:16:15 and that was 8th place overall.
Complete results can be found right here
All images 1, 2, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 13, 14, 15, 18, 19 are © Jakob Edholm / ÖtillÖ. Images 3, 12, 16, 17 are © Pierre Mangez / ÖtillÖ