No Change of Guard in the Swiss Mountains
Author : Press Release
PhotoCredit : Pierre Mangez
The fourth ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series race of the season and the last qualifier before the World Championship in September became a very tough affair.
This fifth edition of ÖTILLÖ Engadin saw nerve-wracking racing at the front again but with the GOLDEN BIB holders in Men and mixed (leaders of the World Series) managing to pull through at the end. The brutal course took its toll!
The Engadin Valley in Switzerland is one of the most beautiful race locations with fantastic trails, hanging glaciers and pristine mountain lakes. The total course is 46 km with a total elevation gain of 1600 metres, of which almost 40 km is on foot and 6 km is swimming.
THE WINNERS and GOLDEN BIB HOLDERS George Bjälkemo & Pontus Lindberg, Team Garmin (SWE), managed to pull away from the leading pack and cross the finish line in Silvaplana as the first team after 5H 20m 40s, eight minutes ahead of Adriel Young (AUS) & Oscar Olsson (SWE), Team Ark Swimrun /o2tri. The very strong Martin Flinta (SWE) & Helena Karaskova Erbenova (CZE) Team Thule Crew finished as first mixed team, with the time of 5:22:39, Second overall! The first women’s team Diane Sadik (SUI) & Desirée Andersson (SWE) Team Envol completed an impressive race and finished after 6:01:01.
“The race is so brutal! But brutally beautiful as well! You can never rest, either you’re going up tough uphills or you’re going fast downhill, legs almost exploding. It was a constant dog-fight with the other front teams. We weren’t feeling confident until the very last run, so we pushed it hard all the way,” said the crushed but thrilled winners Pontus Lindberg after finishing as overall winner with George Bjälkemo (SWE), Team Garmin. Their fifth race in a row!
The ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Engadin course is at 1 800 -2 100 meters of altitude.
The course provides an original setting for a swimrun race, as runners in wetsuits are not quite expected in the alpine terrain. But it is the ideal landscape for swimrun, with challenging, technical alpine trails to run on and emerald blue alpine lakes to swim across. Besides the difficult elevation, the 46 km course consists of 40 km trail running, sometimes very technical, and almost 6 km open-water swimming at eight different swim sections in the cold mountain lakes. The teams of two swam in a water temperature of around 13 degrees C, cooling them off after the tough runs. They had 16 changes between running and swimming throughout the course,
Despite a grueling race course the backdrop of ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Engadin is nothing but spectacular. High mountains with snowy peaks reign over the valley with its scenic lakes, cows and horses grazing on the flowery meadows, close to the picturesque alpine villages surrounded by magical pine forests. It truly is a unique and original swimrun experience that many teams come back to year after year.
The ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Engadin started the international swimrun movement, as the first race ever outside of Sweden for its first edition in 2014
The near perfect weather made it easier than expected but still a very big challenge.
Several teams had to struggle to make it in time for the two cut offs. Some had to abandon along the way. The top teams pushed each other hard, chasing each other in a tight group all the way to the finish line. The level of competition has real exploded!
At all ÖTILLÖ swimrun World Series events teams race in pairs. Using each other’s strengths will push boundaries. The team experience is incomparable and is part of why swimrun is growing so fast in popularity.
175 teams of two from 25 different nations travelled to the Engadin Valley in Switzerland to compete in the ÖTILLÖ Engadin, the last qualifier before the 2018 ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Championship in the Swedish archipelago.
The day prior to the race a shorter more accessible race was organised, the ÖTILLÖ Sprint Engadin, offering the same flavours as the longer, more challenging race but in a smaller format.
This race had 100 teams registered from a total of 19 nations.
Eight top teams at ÖTILLÖ Engadin qualify to the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Championship 2018, on 3 September 2018 in the Stockholm Archipelago; top 3 men, top 3 mixed, top 2 women.
More About This Event
The ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series continues with the race that launched the whole international expansion of the Swimrun