Since the first Ötillö race in 2006, Swimrun became a sporting craze that has been confined to Sweden and other Nordic countries until very recently. We caught up with one of Swimrun's founders Swedish Erika Rosenbaum to find out the history of this sport and why it's growing so quickly and becoming a must-do for adventure racers around the world.
What is SwimRun? Please fill us in on what a race generally entails.
Swimrun is a new fast growing sport where you alternately swim and run bringing the same gear throughout the whole race. That means you run with your wetsuit and swim with your shoes on. Swimrun includes open water and more than one swim distance as well as more than one run distance.
What has been your involvement in the SwimRun race movement?
I fell in love with the sport during the race Ötillö and wanted more people to discover the sport due to its simplicity and connection to adventure racing. So I coined the expression Swimrun and i launched a training race called Swimrun in 2012. The race was taking place every Thursday and after that summer everyone started to call the sport Swimrun.
How has the race scene changed over the years you’ve been involved?
It has grown from three races to 50 over all of Sweden and the sport is being practiced all over by triathletes, multisporters, runners, swimmers etc. My training race Swimrun is still on, but way bigger. I still bake and make coffee every week and we have the best time. Starting this year my race is now a part of the Ötillö family and is allso called an Ötillö training sprint with several partners and loads of awards.
What is the most important gear (the essentials) to have for competing in SwimRun events?
I would say a flexible wetsuit, shoes and a swimcap. Personally i swim outside without goggles.
Is there a ruling body for SwimRun races?
Safety is always most important but each race is a separately run event.
What do you think makes the Otillo race so popular?
Because it hasn't been done before. It is something that seems to be impossible but is actually doable.
Why would you recommend someone should try a SwimRun race event?
It is just as fun as triathlon but less complicated. I just love the variety and the nature experience. In the water you get to rest your legs and you get to cool off from the run. When it gets too cold you just get up and run yourself warm! But off course most importantly it is because of all the wonderful Swimrun athletes that makes this sport the best!
Check out our newly released Swimrun specific wetsuit the Orca RS1 SwimRun Fullsleeve.