Up close with nature in Germany

117 teams from 26 different nations competed in the 2017 ÖTILLÖ Swimrun 1000 Lakes to swim and run on a picturesque 42 km course near Berlin, Germany. The weather was more favorable this year than in 2016, but it was still far from delightful. Average temperature in the water was 14 degrees C (57 F), and the air temperatures averaged 13 degrees C (55F). Several pro triathletes also had decided to got their feet wet in this fast growing sport and among them were Germans Per Bittner and Anja Dittmer, and Belgians Bert Jammaer and Bruno Clerbout.

Running through the dense forests of the Mecklenburger Seenplatte.

A bit earlier that day the field of 117 teams of two awaited the start, and defending champions Pontus Lindberg and George Bjälkemo looked confident. Note also how these two are wearing their googles during this run segment.

In the water we go and now it gets real. Teams early on are still in fairly close contact.

The longest swim at Swimrun 1000 Lakes is 1400 meters.

Running through fields to the next swim entry.

No hunters up there on this day with 234 athletes clad in wetsuits and orange, red and green bibs and swimcaps racing through nature.

As the racing continued the field started to spread out.

Back in the water pulling hard with large paddles.

Jonathan Hall and Ben Lambert from the UK on the way to 23rd place in the male division.

The Russian team of Marina Ivanova and Larisa Diakova were chased here by several other female teams. In the end it was 9th place in the female division for them.

Two teams battling for positions on the way to the next swim.

Alone with majestic trees.

There wasn't just nature to admire for the competitors and spectators.

Pontus Lindberg with George Bjälkemo on his heels pushes hard to stay in the lead of the race.

The french duo of Nicolas Remires and Guillaume Heneman were in hot pursuit of the defending champions all day but in the end they fell short.

Simply beautiful terrain, but athletes started to get colder as the race went on.

Swiss Diane Sadik and Swede Annika Ericsson were the number 1 seed in the women's race but they had a hard fight on hand. Here however they were fully entertained by a drum band.

The French team of Marylise Pansart and Franck Martin on the way to capture the mixed title in Germany

The completely happy male champions Pontus Lindberg and George Bjälkemo after crossing the line, with wet stuff from below, above and from the side.

Swedes Ulrika Eriksson and Helena Sivertsson captured the women's title in Germany.

All images © Jakob Edholm / ÖTILLÖ 1000 Lakes except image 20 which is © Pierre Mangez / ÖTILLÖ 1000 Lakes