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ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Malta, race report

What a race we got to experience. This was our first World Series race! We have done ÖtillÖ sprints before that you can read about here – Hvar , Utö , Engadin. We did this race powered by Mr Green. 

If you want to read about our whole weekend in Malta we have a longer post about it HERE.

Race video
We got to feel the power of the nature

Saturday 
The forecast was storm and rain and the sun was shining. We looked at the sprint race, attended the Clean the ocean event, picked up our race kit and got to know all about the race at the race briefing. It looked like the stormy weather was coming for our race day and they changed the course a little bit. We were happy for that afterwards.

The course along the island with a total of 39,6 km with 13 swims of which the longest was 1 600 metres. A total of 8 700 metres of swimming.

Fanny felt extra nervous because she felt a little bit sick and didn’t know if she would be able to do the race. 

Sunday – Race day
We had an early breakfast at our hotel room and at the same time it was rain and thunder outside. Fanny felt better and we decided to do the race! We had a pick up that took us to the race bus. The bus took all participants from the finish line at hotel Golden Sands Beach to the start in Valletta.

Ready for start

The start was in the middle in the city Valletta and we started with 1300 meters of running.

Start line

We started out pretty slow in the start due to the slippery stones and came far behind on the first swim. It was a great wake up call to realised how many teams who were in this race. Over 200 teams and 400 people. It was crazy in the water. So many people everywhere and it was a real struggle. With that in mind we should have pushed harder from the beginning so we’d swim with those with a little more speed than the ones we fought with. We came up whole and kept on running. The other swim was much better and the field had split up a lot.

After that it was a really nice course with quite short swims and running a long the coast of the town. We met a running race and everyone was cheering on each other in the rain. We came to some longer swims and it was a little bit hard to see the end point. The waves and the rain maked it harder. We switched who was in the front when we were swimming. We both felt a little bit more tired than we use to do.

We think everyone who did the race will remember mudland. Holy shit. Tough mudder, Tjurruset etc, you have nothing to compare with this. It was a real struggle but we manage through without falling. Some long swims later and we had done like 2/3 of the race we started to reach the top of the island and the stormy side. Yes, it was like Koster Swimrun 2018 all over again, but worse. It was sometime a little bit hard to see the markings because the wind took them down but overall it was an amazing job from ÖTILLÖ marking and remarking the course. We ran about 100 meters wrong at one point but we had our map in our watches so we just checked the watch and realised that we need to run back to find the right path. 

Amazing trails

The last bit of the race was the most interesting bit. Amazing trails on the hills of Malta. It was a real adventure. We both felt much stronger uphill and could run slowly uphill when we normally needed to walk. We came to the third last swim and that was the one they had taken away. When we saw how the water looked like we were really happy that we were running and not swimming at that place. The waves were big.

Popeye Villiage

We ran a bit more before we reached a village, Popeye Village build for a film. We had some energy and got some motivation words from Rikard at Mr Green before we should do a short little swim across the bay. It was like 100 meters. The waves were sick and hard currents under the surface. Patrik swam first on this one and when we had around 10 meters left we couldn’t swim to the ladder, we stood still. Fanny came up with the idea to swim to the side and climb the rocks up. A dangerous stunt but we managed it. We came up and we both were really tired.  Just some more teams got to do this swim before they closed it and the other teams had to run around instead.

We just had the last run left before we should reach the last swim. They had done the last swim shorter and we thought it should be a short and nice one. We hade it all wrong. When we saw the entry of the last swim we were like, omg are we gonna swim in that?! Yes we are… it was really hard wind and the waves were like 1,5-2m high. A man stood there and screaming. “You have to swim out first then to the beach or else you’re going to hit the cliffs. Omg?! Ok let’s go!

Super big waves

We started to swim out and the waves were big and when we started to change direction to the beach big wave started to hit us hard. We went down under the water and Patrik loosed his googles. Fanny got some panic and just wanted to be still and wait for the waves to leave. It didn’t go fast but we made it to the beach and to the finish line.

This race was and adventure of its own. We have never experienced anything like this before. Thank you MrGreen, Visit Malta and ÖtillÖ for an amazing race.