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watch how SwimRun started, in this video 



SwimRun History

The first SwimRun race was the Swedish Ö till ö (island till island, stylized as ÖtillÖ), a 75-kilometre (47 mi) course across 26 islands. In 2002, Anders Malm, the owner of Utö Värdshus (the finish line hotel of ÖtillÖ), his friend Janne Lindberg and some of his staff (the Andersson brothers) had a late night in the bar. They challenged each other – "Last team of two to Sandhamn pays for hotel, dinner and drinks". Two teams of two athletes started the next morning with the only rule being that they had to pass the three different restaurants on the islands between the start and the finish. The last team at the restaurant had to drink and pay what the team ahead of them had ordered for them. It took them more than 24 hours and they were too tired to party on arrival. They tried again the year after (2003) with the same result. They're referred to as Original 4.

In 2006, Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott were asked if they could make a commercial race out of their crazy challenge. The first couple of years only 11 teams started and only two managed to finish within the time limits. They were: Petri Forsman, Ville Niemelä and Johan Hasselmark, Martin Sahlen. Then something happened and the teams learned that the only way to race is by not stopping, with constant movement. Unlike the original course set by the creators, Utö became the finish line while Sandhamn became the start. The race became known as ÖtillÖ. Today the race is internationally recognized as the SwimRun World Championship for ÖtillÖ and has been ranked by CNN as one of the toughest races in the World. It was also later mentioned by one article as one of the toughest 1-day endurance races in the world, and is currently the standard when it comes to rules and style of racing.

In 2011 the style of racing picked up the name "SwimRun", given by Erika Rosenbaum, one of the ÖtillÖ SwimRun World Championship podium finishers.

In 2012 was the race with more than nine (3man/3woman/3mix) finisher teams and the years of the consolidation of the race ref.

In 2014 on August 3, the first SwimRun race done in warm water. Results was Aquaticrunner XTriM ITALY and it started but not with the original rules of SwimRun. It is an individual SwimRun race and not a standard dual-team race such as in ÖtillÖ. The biggest different between Aquaticrunner and the Nordic races are two: the Individual/Solo race (no team) and that swimming tools are not permitted (no fins, snorkel, etc.) with the exception that a pull buoy is allowed (Paddle starting from 2017). The other races done outside of Sweden in 2014 was: Rockman SwimRun and XTERRA SwimRun (stapped in 2016) both in Norway, Engandina in Switzerland and Amphibianman in Italy (this was the first outside of Sweden done on May 10, 2014). Aquaticrunner 2014 was also the first Individual/Solo SwimRun done in the world and it was realized by Matteo Benedetti. In 2014, the organization World of SwimRun / WorldofSwimRun (WoS) was formed (2014 Constitutional meeting). World of SwimRun is a neutral, independent and global non-profit organization: By SwimRunners - for SwimRunners, with a mission to bring SwimRun to everybody and provide the latest SwimRun news. World of SwimRun also hosts the biggest data source on available and active races in the world.

In 2015, the world's first UltraSwimRun, the Stockholm Archipelago Ultra Challenge (SAUC) took place and is considered one of the toughest available SwimRun race challenge in the world, stretching over some 250 km. SAUC is also the official UltraSwimRun open challenge. In 2015 the SwimRun started in Russia with Individual and Team forums. In 2015, the World SwimRun Federation was founded in Switzerland Constitutional meeting (Canton Ticino Switzerland - official language: Italian). The objective of WSRF is to discipline, organize, promote, advance and spread out the sport of SwimRun throughout the wide world in Individual/solo and Team formula. The scope is to promote and develop SwimRun sport in the world in accordance with the principles set out by the Olympic Charter and in protection of physical and mental health of athletes, fighting doping in all its forms. The organization is independent and global non-profit.

In 2016, SwimRun Australia became the first SwimRun not only in Australia but also the southern hemisphere, bathing the way for the growth of SwimRun in the Asia-Pacific region. Most SwimRun races are completed in teams of two. Starting from 2016, there are some individual/solo SwimRun in the world: starting from Italy (Italian SwimRun series 12 races SwimRun Italy, now 17 races), Love SwimRun, Canarie SwimRun and Portugal SwimRun, in Individual and Team forums.

In 2017, In France, SwimRun is linked to the FFTRi, as it is in Finland. Others individual/solo SwimRun on 2017 was Canada Canaqua SwimRun and Uruguay SwimRun. In Africa, Torpedo SwimRun held the first SwimRun race on the continent in Cape Town on January 15, 2017. The race covers 16 km of Cape Town coastline, with swims in the South Atlantic and running at the base of Table Mountain. In 2017 (November) was planned to take place an original SwimRun Sprint (12k) race in Greece (Hydra Island), but finally postponed to take place on November 2018.

In 2018, the world's first book on SwimRun was published SwimRun – The Guide to SwimRun Training & Racing, Stockholm, Sweden (2018). In 2018 Aquaticrunner was the first individual World Championship with 22 nations represented and 250 athletes qualified. The world qualified was done in Fuerteventura, Madeira, Canada, Russia, Uruguay, Belgium, and Italy. On November 2018 the first SwimRun Hydra took place with 26 pair athletes participated. The international focus has been growing in the last years, and on December 28, 2018 there are more than 500 known races in the world, in 24 countries and on 5 continents. In 2018, Ultra SwimRun ALPS consisted in a 127 kilometers (79 mi) run, 4,500 meters (14,800 ft) swim D+, passing through to the alpine lakes and is the SwimRun race with the maximum total elevation.

In 2019, SwimRun U.S. Series Ignite SwimRun became the first SwimRun series in the United States of America with 5 races using the individual/solo formula. SwimRun debuted on March 30, 2019 in Brazil and became the first race in tropical countries. Búzios SwimRun changed to Hero SwimRun in honor of the effort of the athletes. With 200 athletes, the distances were 10 kilometers (6.2 mi) (solo / teams) and 24 kilometers (15 mi) (teams) in 7 different terrains and 17 beaches. The event also carried out environmental actions before the race, collecting 100 kilograms (220 lb) of garbage in partnership with the Swedish Embassy in Brazil and with the local government. In 2019 SwimRun Hydra (Greece) offers a Regular distance race (23,6k) together with a Super Sprint (9,4k).

SwimRun development

2006                       1 race                                        4 pairs finishers

2007                       1 race                                        4 pairs finishers

2008                       1 race                                        6 pairs finishers

2009                       1 race                                      16 pairs finishers

2010                       1 race                                      16 pairs finishers

2011                       3 races                                  196 pairs finishers

2012                       5 races                                  900 pairs finishers

2013                       10 races                               1.948 pairs finishers

2014                       22 races                               3.574 pairs finishers

2015                       55 races                               6.441 pairs finishers

2016                       103 races                             > 7.000 pairs finishers

2018                       > 500 races


Super Sprint                       <10k

Sprint                                    10.1k - 20k

Regular                                 20.1k - 40k

Long                                      40.1k - 70k

Ultra                                      +75k

Multiday                              >24h