Director Terry Gardiner of Martel Maides and his team mate Iain Lowe from ABN AMRO have successfully completed the Engadin Swimrun 2015 held on the 11th July!
Through the picture perfect landscape of the Engadin Valley in the Swiss Alps, almost 300 competitors from 23 nationalities took on the massive challenge of 34 miles of trail running and open water swimming for the second edition of Engadin Swimrun. In the fast growing sport of Swimrun, competitors race in teams of two, alternating trail running and open water swimming, running in your wetsuit and swimming in your shoes! Björn Englund and Lelle Moberg, swimrun champions from Sweden, proved once again unbeatable and were first over the finish line with the outstanding time 6h 28 min 23 sec.
The exceptional Engadin Swimrun race course is a very tough test for any given athlete. Top sportsmen race alongside well prepared newcomers for a total of approximately 34 miles with 30 miles of trail running over 9 run legs, including 1,450 meters of vertical climb, and 3.75 miles of swimming over the eight different swim legs in the alpine lakes with temperatures of around 12-15 degrees in the water. The differences between the warm summer heat of about 25 degrees and the cold lakes was difficult to handle even for the top teams who were struggling to hold on all the way to the finish.
The race course is harsh but the landscape is stunning. Competitors had the opportunity to enjoy the full alpine experience with snowy mountain tops and green forests, emerald blue lakes, steep mountain trails, flowers, cows and picturesque alpine villages. The race course passed the famous alpine ski resort St. Moritz, as well as the genuine mountain towns Maloja, Sils, Champfer, to finally finish in Silvaplana.
Engadin Swimrun is a sturdy qualifier to the World Championship of Swimrun, ÖTILLÖ, the original swimrun race in the Stockholm archipelago, considered one of the toughest one-day endurance races in the world (see further down for more information). The top 3 men, top 3 mixed, and top 2 women at Engadin Swimrun qualify to ÖTILLÖ.
Whilst Team Guernsey did not trouble the race leaders, Terry and Iain competed in the Men’s category and finished in 8 hrs and 59 minutes. Some 2.5 hrs behind the winners, but a very satisfying 52nd in category and 72nd overall out of the total of 150 teams starting the race. The race tested many months of training which has seen many early morning starts at the Havelet bathing pools with runs out to Portlet and back on the cliffs, dipping into Fermain, Moulin Huet and Petit Bot on the way out, and back! The Guernsey cliffs proved invaluable training as several of the run legs during Engadin involved steep, 350 meter climbs up the otherwise beautiful slopes of the Alps, reducing the pace to a fast hike!
The race sees the teams start at an altitude of 1,790 meters above sea level running up and down the Alps hitting heights of 2,150 meters. With a total elevation gain of 1,450 meters over the full course, there are some serious ups and downs throughout the race, physically and mentally! The challenging terrain is testing and there are tight cut off times. Starting at 08:00, teams failing to reach the 13:45 and 15:40 cut off points are pulled from the race.
Team Guernsey arrived at the first cut off with some 50 minutes to spare and arrived comfortably within the second cut off time. The final 7 mile run and 400 meter swim between the second cut off and the finish line was taken at a more leisurely pace!
Terry and Iain thoroughly recommend the race to any of those who are tempted! The backdrop for this painful and gruelling challenge could not be more spectacular and the scenery, to a certain extent, carries you through the race. However, 5 hour Guernsey cliff runs dipping in and out of the south coast bays are also essential training!
What next? Well training has already started for the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Championship to be held on the 7th September in the Stockholm archipelago. Team Guernsey have qualified on a merit basis for this truly unique event.
ÖTILLÖ is ranked by CNN as one of the toughest, one-day endurance races in the world. It is the original swimrun competition and covers a total of approx. 46 miles. Teams of two run 40 miles across 26 islands and swim a total of 6 miles between them in the Stockholm archipelago in Sweden on September 7th 2015. 120 teams will be on the start line. 550 teams are on the waiting list! ÖTILLÖ is one of the most prestigious endurance races in the world. For more info visit www.otillo.se
Will Team Guernsey successfully conquer these Swedish islands, we shall see!