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SLOWTWITCH: How have you been spending most of your time these days?
FARIS AL-SULTAN: Still training, being a brand ambassador for crivit Pro, coaching a few pros and spending time with the kids.
SLOWTWITCH: How did you first hear about ÖTILLÖ?
FARIS: I saw it on TV and it didn't take long in spite of my hating cold water and not being keen on running that long.
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SLOWTWITCH: Given your background and career in long distance triathlon racing have you found the training similar or quite different? If different, how so?
FARIS: I haven't trained a lot. I've been swimming and running constantly and did two long runs and a few swim sessions with more than 5 km. I did a few swim and run sessions but having been a triathlete for so long it hasn't been a big thing. Obviously in the race with a partner and the conditions it's going to be different.
SLOWTWITCH: Your teammate for ÖTILLÖ was listed as Werner Leitner, but you recently told us about a teammate change. Can you tell us what happened and what your new racing plan is?
FARIS: Unfortunately Werner, my longtime friend, former pro and former manager of our Abu Dhabi Triathlon Team had a medical. Now I'm teaming up with Peter Oom a Swedish age-group triathlete and ÖTILLÖ finisher. I'm sure we get along and manage.
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SLOWTWITCH: Have you sought out advice from any top swimrun athletes or did you do most of your own trial and error research?
FARIS: Both. I had the pleasure to meet Jonas Colting out of the blue back home at an outdoor pool in Munich and drain info from him. I met Marcus Hultgren at Playitas and was in touch with Marcus Rössel who shares his experiences about swimrun on Slowtwitch.
SLOWTWITCH: What types of equipment will you be using in Sweden?
FARIS: I go pretty raw. I use an Aquasphere long-sleeve wetsuit prototype, goggles and maybe paddles. No pull buoy, no drink bladder, and still no compression socks.
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SLOWTWITCH: We saw you won a 19k swimrun event in Rheinberg, Germany in July with Werner. Was this your first swimrun event? What did you learn?
FARIS: Yes it was, and it was great. You need a rope if the swim performance is different. We forgot ours and would have done much better.
SLOWTWITCH: With your lengthy list of career accolades as an IRONMAN Hawaii World Champion and 7x IRONMAN and long-distance triathlon winner, do you see yourself as a favorite to compete for the win at ÖTILLÖ? Or do you have different goals for this race?
FARIS: No I told Paul Krochak, the defending winner of the race, if I wanted to be in winning shape I would need to train on a different program. I don't know a lot about my new partner Peter but I'd like to be solid.
SLOWTWITCH: Anything else you’d like to add about your perceptions of swimrun?
FARIS: I think it's a lot of fun. Personally I think without a wetsuit in warmer areas it's even more fun.