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ST: Why that event and would you do it again?
Dan: I was looking for something different and a way to challenge myself. I would absolutely love to do it again.
ST: Can you describe why this found you so well?
Dan: The UltraTri Sweden was just an absolutely amazing event. The race organizers, Anne Mari and Robert, did such an amazing job in establishing a race that transcends into a journey across Sweden. As I have gotten older I have found the longer the race and usually events with multiple days fit me better. The mix of beautiful swims, cycling through Swedish countryside and technical forest running was an absolute blast.
ST: Did you have family along for that trip?
Dan: Unfortunately the family did not make this trip and that is one of the main reasons to take my wife back later this year to do some trail running. My good friend Bjorn, whom I did ÖTILLÖ with is 2014, was my support and shall I say psychiatrist during this event. He made sure my gear was set and ready at every transition and supported via car during the bike leg and even got some running in with me at the end of the race. Honestly, during the last 3k of the run as we ran along the water in Stockholm, all I wanted to do was stop for a hot dog and Coke but Bjorn kept me moving.
ST: About a month later you partnered with Marcus Barton to race in the inaugural SwimRun Casco Bay in Maine. How did you find this new event?
Dan: It was very well received. Very different from what you would see overseas - a very challenging and exciting venue. I believe that these types of races are much more difficult to put on in the US and the race directors did an excellent job. It was a surprisingly challenging course that offered some technical running and strong currents for the swim. The community was very supportive and helped enhance the experience
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ST: I think your team battled the leading female squad all day.
Dan: Yeah, we leap frogged back and forth some. They got us by a little bit in the end with better judgement of the current during the last swim. I have to admit, after UltraTri Sweden I felt great. During the last few swims when the current kicked up in our faces, I could start to feel the fatigue of the UltraTri in my shoulders.
ST: So I assume you were using the paddles. Were you also pacing and pulling Marcus?
Dan: Yes, I used the red stroke master paddles. I did the pulling and pacing and to be quite honest we went into this race blind. Usually we take a good chunk of time to train together and prepare but with my return from Sweden and taking the opportunity to eat and relax and Marcus’ preparation for his big races in the fall, we just showed up without any time together. I had not swam with shoes or ran in a wetsuit since ÖTILLÖ the year prior. In the end it was a great time and I think all things considered we did pretty well.
ST: You have also raced ÖTILLÖ in Sweden and the unique RockMan SwimRun event. Of these various SwimRun races which one has found you well, and why?
Dan: Both. I did ÖTILLÖ in 2014 and 2015. In 2015 I also competed in RockMan. Each race offers a completely different experience and challenge. ÖTILLÖ is a very long day crossing many technical islands and a lot can happen. It is also a race where teamwork and consistency pays off big time. RockMan can be very cold (as it was in 2015 where we had snow on top of the fjord) and has a lot of vertical and technical running. Here in addition to teamwork, strength plays a big component. I believe both are exceptional experiences but I had better luck at RockMan.
ST: How did you prepare for these events with Marcus Barton?
Dan: I started to prepare for ÖTILLÖ in 2014 with my friend Bjorn Norman. He had done some swim run in Gothenburg and even though he was located in Sweden, with occasional trips to the US, I relied on the experiences he shared for the first go round. From there I was able to get a grip on what worked and didn’t to help formulate a plan that Marcus and I used to get ready for both races. Nothing drastic changed from what Bjorn and I did, just some equipment tweaks and a knowledge of the volume of training needed to compete. We did a ton of swim- run bricks in a variety of conditions and distances for the most part. Technical running and training in the wetsuits as much as possible.
ST: Can you describe the gear you used at Casco Bay and did it differ from the other SwimRuns?
Dan: I used the same gear that I used for ÖTILLÖ. Head SwimRun wetsuit, Inov-8 trail shoes, pull buoy and paddles. I did not carry any nutrition as the race was short enough and had 6 aid stations. We used a pull line between us after the first swim to keep us together in the water but it also worked well on the run.
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ST: And how did you two connect in the first place?
Dan: I met Marcus when he was a race director of the first race I ever did. From there he talked me into doing some XTERRA triathlons, we became training partners and the rest is history.
ST: What about triathlons? Can you talk about your background and how you got started in endurance sports?
Dan: I came from a contact sports background, having played rugby for many years. I got away from that after a knee operation and sought another way to stay active. Marcus introduced me to XTERRA and it just evolved into anything endurance related. I have been fortunate to be a member of the Timex Factory Team for the last 4 years, compete in multiple World Championships and represent Team USA both on and off road multiple times. Racing has allowed me to visit many different countries and meet some very passionate and wonderful people.
ST: Of all the events you have done, which one would you consider the highlight?
Dan: That is a tough question. In 2012 I was lucky enough to get a bronze medal at the ITU Cross Triathlon World Championships and that was great as the race was in the US. All of my swim run experiences were phenomenal but I have to say the best accomplishment to date was the swim portion of UltraTri Sweden. The reason I say this is that I am your typical adult onset swimmer. I grew up at the beach but never did any competitive swimming until 2010. By then at the age of 37, my body had some good wear and tear on it. I have spent a lot of time to try to be a swimmer and in that race it all came together. It was a very controlled and relaxed effort and a very enjoyable experience and it really set the tone for the rest of the race. For that reason I would have to say that not only the swim but the entire experience this past July has stood out as my most fond accomplishment.
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ST: So what is next for you?
Dan: Right now I am planning another trip to Sweden to do some trail running with my wife. Besides that I have a 50k this fall and I am keeping my eye on an UltraMan for 2017. I am always looking for new and exciting experiences to challenge my abilities. I am really keen on multi day events in a variety of conditions.
ST: Talk about your day job.
Dan: I work full time overseeing the South East USA as a Director of Sales. It involves long days and travel which can be good or bad as far as training goes. Sometimes I can structure my travel around a race or place I want to train at and other times I have to make the best with what I have at hand. Time management is key to staying balanced.
ST: Anything else we should know?
Dan: If you have a dream and a desire, then go for it. There is always enough time to fit in your training if you can get creative. Stay active and have fun.