Solvalla Swimrun has a course that suits Tomas Granberg and me just perfectly. The trails and nature in Noux are very much like the trails close to home in Tyresta that we enjoy alot. It’s the terrain we enjoy the most and what we train in, both running and swimrun. We are not the fastest on flat runnable, but running over stones and tree roots we can keep a decent pace. That and our second place last year got us psyched to come back in 2018. Since we live in Stockholm it is just a boat trip away and we didn’t even spend a night in Finland since Tomas is always pressed for time.
Last year’s winners, the kumiukots Teemu Toivanen and Teemu Lemmettylä, were nowhere to be seen when we arrived. I suppose they were satisfied with a respectable 08:23 at the recent ÖTILLÖ World Champs and considered the swimrun season to be over after that. We knew that Finish triathletes Tuomas Lampainen and Markus Lampainen were in the start list and might be a cause for concern. Tomas had also scouted the Russian mixed team of Sergey Mikhalev and Irina Borevich who did well at the World Champs and could be contenders. Other than that we didn’t know too much going in.
The plan we made up on the boat from Stockholm was simply to go at our own pace since we had no clue whether the one or two teams possibly ahead of us would offer suitable drafting. As it turned out we were alone after the first kilometer and it stayed that way. After about 90 min of racing we got high fives from the at that point second place team Markko Lehtosalo and Janne Blomqvist when they entered the 700 m swim as we exited (it’s a loop swim around a buoy). However, in the back of my mind I wanted us to beat last year’s winner time.
That proved a bit too hard on the day. My own form on the day wasn’t perfect with a lack of sleep the nights before. Also the wind might or might not have affected the swims. Anyway, we managed to enjoy ourselves through the pristine forest and clear lakes. It’s nice that our ÖTILLÖ Merit Race shares it’s latter part of the course with the shorter Endurance Race distance and that the Endurance participants are ahead. Chasing people adds a nice spice to the race.
We were a few seconds faster this year than last and more importantly, one place up on the podium. I would like to go back in 2019 but that is still a full year away. Regardless, it was a very enjoyable experience and a nicely organized event!
You may also read last year’s report (in Swedish).
Check out splits and stuff at Swimrun Watch.
Feature photo: Petteri Rantanen / Solvalla Swimrun.