Here is a booming discipline, coming from the Nordic countries, where the famous final takes place today with the Otillo Swim-Run.
This discipline comes with many advantages:
- The equipment is limited: no need for a bike, which allows you to travel much lighter
- The event is run in teams of 2, thus providing a solidarity dimension that may be lacking in triathlon and other endurance sports.
- The material choices are left to the participants: paddles, sweaters, wetsuits, etc … Because if they save you time on certain swimming portions, you must also carry them with you during the run.
- Return to nature with routes that go from island to island, off the beaten track.
The number of competitions is expanding rapidly, and Canada should be a beautiful playground for the future with all is lakes and rivers.
But nothing better than to make you experience one of these events from the inside: David, the swimmer with the Swim Smooth Montéral Squad, shares his experience here:
Casco Bay Islands USA Swim And Run review by David:
I was extremely fortunate to be part of one of 120 two-person teams competing in this endurance event in Portland, Maine. This is the first “Otillo” style event in North America. Otillo means from island to island in Swedish where the first race took place 10 years ago in Sweden.
This race is now the Swim and Run World Championship, as Kona is the Ironman World Championship.
The test, therefore, consists of crossing several islands, swimming between the islands, and running on the islands. We never come back to the same place so no transition zones!
We have the right to use sweaters, paddles, and/or fins but must be dragged along on the run!
The most popular setup is to swim with shoes and paddles.
The pros and amateurs take the start together and are part of the same classification.
So I found myself with a friend, Olivier Maynard, on a ferry leaving Portland at 5:45 am on a Sunday morning.
Mist on the menu en route to an island in the Casco Bay Islands, Chebeague Island.
I feel a mixture of restlessness and anxiety. Feverish at the idea of participating in this unique event, anxious at the idea of swimming 6.4 km at sea assuming that you are swimming in a straight line …
Having trained very little because of work since January, I hardly set myself any goals except to have fun (I also aim not to finish last men’s team and sub 5:00 but it will be tight)
The ferry drops us off on the quay from where the departure will be launched. We start with a 2.8 km race, the first of ten wetsuit races.
Things are going well in the race but waking up suddenly when swimming and lifeguard class. This bay is not a swimming pool! Not too many waves but a lot of currents. We must forget our swimming pool spaces, it’s another world. I understand why we have to be attached to swimming, we would certainly get lost otherwise. Return to the mainland much appreciated …
A few swims followed and a few races where one thing is clear. There are the swimmers and there are us. We are constantly passed by swimming. We play cat and mouse since we run past people without stopping. On the other hand, there is a lot more swimming than running which favors the swimmers.
Otillo races usually have a little more running. After 3 swims, I ask Olivier if he thinks that there are still teams behind us and I am told that probably very few 😉 Fortunately, there were a good fifty left.
We “run” on Vail Island, a race which is above all a 500m obstacle course on rocks, the pace of 15min / km! Although we are having fun, we think of the 1700m long swim between Long and Peaks Island. 1700 m with the current, it can be long.
And it was painful, the hunger after 600m which turns into nausea after 1000m.
I am very happy to be back on solid ground without having vomited!
And 4km of the race which awaits us, really great although it is hot to run in wetsuit….
The last three swims are painful, I have no more arms. I gaze at dry land, fantasizing about running instead of swimming.
I am only briefly satiated with short yet beautiful races including the one through Fort Scammel on House Island.
Finally, the last swim ends.
I managed to fall down the steps towards the finish, so as not to go unnoticed.
We finish in 4:49, very far from the winners in 3:32 (pro triathletes).
But goal accomplished, we are not the last men’s team and we finish 56/120 in the middle of the peloton.
It was a memorable experience.
Truly magical to go from island to island this way. 16 km of trail running and 6.4km of swimming (plus 500m for those who swim crooked!) Shared with friends.
I suffered but that’s a lot of endurance events and one of the reasons why we keep going back.
I’ll probably get hooked on SwimRun.
I also suspect that I will not be the only one….