Swimrun is a sport where racers switch between swimming and running, several times during one single race. In a swimrun race, there has to be at least 2 stages of swimming and of running, and it has to take place outdoors. The first ever swimrun competition was the renowned ÖtillÖ swimrun race and since its inception in 2006, a number of swimrun-races have popped up mainly in Sweden but also abroad. ÖtillÖ with its 75 km race, also known as the Swimrun world championship, is considered as the main event of the year, however a multitude of different swimrun races exists, with varying set-ups and distances. To mention some, you have Utö Swimrun (36,5 km), Amfibiemannen (27,4 km), Kustjägaren (30,6 km), Höga Kusten Swimrun (35 km) and many more.
This year (2015), the swimrun scene has seen the birth of a new form of swimrun racing, i.e. the sprint swimrun race. It stretches in between 8-15 km and is designed to attract those who either want to test a swimrun race for the first time without having to commit to approximately 4-6 hour of heavy racing, or those who just want to race fast. Utö Swimrun hosts sprint swimrun racing, as does Wefixsports in Hellasgården, Stockholm. There are thus 2 types of swimrun races available i.e.; the sprint version and the “regular” swimrun race with the main event ÖtillÖ.
Then what about the ultra aspect of swimrun?
In general sports, an ultra-race can be defined in many ways. In running, an ultra-race, also known as an ultra-marathon, is considered when the race stretches over the distance of a marathon i.e., 42.195 km. In swimming, there are disagreements as to what can be considered to be an “ultra-swim” (also known as a “marathon swim” or “long-distance swim”) however, most actors, including the International Olympic Committee (IOC), consider an ultra-swim to be 10 km.
Swimrun is a sport which has developed fast during the last couple of years and at the moment, there exists approximately 40 known races around the world. The majority of these races are categorized as “regular” swimrun races, in the segment in between 20 – 80 km, with a few now popping up in the segment below 15 km of total racing. To be considered as an ultraswimrun, both threshold levels for ultra-running and ultra-swimming has to be covered in the one single ultraswimrun, i.e. +50 km running and +10 km swimming. In addition to this, the total length has to be over 100 km as the recognized official world record distance event by the International Association of Athletics Federations.