SRF – News Letter #1

Swimrunners Finland Organisation

Since October 2019 we have been in the process of registering Swimrunners Finland Ry. The good news is that as of February we have a registered (ry) organisation with a mission statement and a Board of Management. We are proud to present that the following four people will represent Swimrunners Finland Ry: Thomas Schreven (Founder and Chairman), Jasmina Glad-Schreven (Vice Chairman), Henrika Backlund (Secretary) and Piia Doyle (Marketing and Promotion) and Laura Askola (Treasury and Accounting). We hope that more people will join the organisation in the future in specific the areas of promotion, coaching, coordination, administration and partnerships. For more specific details go to website under About us.

Partners

It has been hard to find partners without having paying members yet. It’s the old chicken & egg story but we are proud that HEAD, SWIMRUNNERS™ and Nosht Energy have agreed to collaborate with us in some format this year. In addition SRF paid a visit to Triathlon Corner Helsinki and the owner Yan Tapio Busset was so kind to borrow us two Mako swimrunners wetsuits for people to try out. They will receive the new 2020 models some time in March. Triathletes are our closest friends when they are not somewhere biking so our aim is to keep sharing ideas and initiatives in the future in a collaborative mind set. Scandic Siuntio has also played an important facilitating role in enabling us to organise Swimrun workshops and keeping the cost low by sponsoring the lunch breaks.

Website, Facebook and Instagram

It has been a long road to develop the http://www.swimrunnersfinland.com website. Even the book “Websites for Dummies” turned out to be very ambitious for Thomas but eventually with a lot of cursing, crying and broken keyboards we managed to get this website in a state where it will be launched sometime in March. It’s a work in progress so there are still a lot of areas that need more content and detail but we are pleased that the frame work is in place and we have a membership page where people can register to become SRF members. Slowly it’s coming together. In the future we hope that people are interested in writing posts (in Finnish) for the site. Now it has become very easy to link them to specific sections of the website.

We have decided to make the closed Facebook site Swimrunners Finland public so that we have more visibility, and it also allows people to share posts and events. Also, we will make a start to only show part of a post on FB and full post will then be part of the official website.

In order to attract the younger generation we recently opened up an instagram account. It needs some “flashy action photos” so please feel free to send us stuf that we can share.

Membership details

We would like to offer our future members a package that includes a number of things such as a SRF head band, discount offers on products bought from the webshop of HEAD, SWIMRUNNERS™ and Nosht Energy. So once you become a member you will receive an email with a set of unique codes which will allow you to purchase items with the discount through the webshop. In addition we would like to offer members the option to donate something extra for a good cause. We thought of the following 2 options:

Clean water – Isn’t it true that swimrunners love to swim in sea water that is clean, just like the Finnish Norpa? Fact is that the ring seal is still endangered because of many different reasons and one of them is pollution and climate change. So we decided that for every membership fee we donate 2 euros to the Norpa foundation so you don’t only support clean water for you to swim in but you also increase the likelyhood that you will see more norpa’s swimming around you. Matias Hilden from Saimaa Swimrun has had frequent friendly encounters with this beautiful creature so maybe we will spot on in his Saimaa swimrun event.

(in the future) Fair play and Anti Doping: Our aim is to keep the sport of swimrun clean in Finland. So, zero tolerance against (doping) cheaters. The only way to do it proactively is by conducting (unannounced) anti-doping tests at any of the bigger swimrun events. The only action that is required is for the event organisers to update their anti doping policy and commit to a result management policy. SRF is planning to educate the relevant people over the months to come on this subject. The idea is that every member can opt to contribute some money to make this initiative a reality.

In addition, we will offer our members first right readers access to a blog, regular newsletter, interviews, very low registration fees for workshop events and free participation in group training events. Finally, by becoming a member you can also indicate what kind of role you want to play in the organisation. We have lots of ideas but we need people to help bringing these ideas to life! For instance you can opt for volunteer, coach or register as an available swimrunner looking for a partner. Additional membership offers and details will be communicated over the coming months by email. Last but not least we will develop a Members only! section on the website and we hope to offer our members some discounts on participation in some of the Finnish swimrun events or even a collaboration exchange initiative with a swimrun abroad (we are working on this as we speak).

Interviews

At the start of the year have had the pleasure to meet up with Kaisa Sali from Nosht, Soren and Maj Britt from SWIMRUNNERS, Hubbe and Mats from Åland swimrun and Folkhälsan (Solvalla) swimrun. We also approached Matias Hilden, Tero Koski and Janne Räsanen to talk about different matters. All of which will be revealed in due time. Later in the year we would also like to approach VJ sports (Finnish Trail shoe brand) to see if they are interested in joining us in some kind of format. One step at a time.

Workshop events with Swimrun event organisers

We will have one workshop in June with Folkhälsan Swimrun and another one with Åland Swimrun sometime in August. Both workshops will be tailored for beginners swimrunners but experienced swimrunners can also learn from it as we go back to basics on running and swimming. In addition we plan to have a stand at the Helsinki triathlon expo and plan to organise equipment demo events some time in June and July. Public appearances at Kirkkonummi päivät are also on the agenda.

Investment for marketing purpose

SRF invested funds in the following areas: Social Media (WordPress account and domain name registration), Merchandise (TRIMTEX to fabricate 60 tailor made bi-elastic headbands with the SRF logo in two colour settings). We also invested in two roll-up banners and flyers to market SRF, partners and Finnish swimrun events. These products will come in handy when we want to be visible at workshops, group training sessions, equipment try out events and public events such as expo’s.

Blog posts

Swimrun vs Triathlon – There are quite a few triathletes coming to our swimrun workshops with the goal to do a swimrun in the summer, which is a great thing if you ask me. Curious about this rather weird looking sport a lot of time is spend on trying to explain the main differences between triathlon and swimrun. It’s an interesting process and as the day unfolds most people start to realise and understand that both sports are so radically different that they need a completely different approach if you want to train and prepare for a race. So in summary: “Just leaving your bike at home doesn’t necessarily help to become a swimrunner…” Of course, the same thing can be said about swimrunners: “biking 20 minutes up and down to work every other day does not make you a triathlete over night….”

Pacing and energy management – The first blog post when the website is launched is protected but you can unlock it with the following password: Iamswimrun. The post gives 10 mantras to take into consideration: smooth operator, superman has a short life span, ten meters is all you get, see no evil hear no evil, energy preservation is king, refrigerator vs sauna effect, feeling hot hot hot, you can’t put on what you left behind, train to race, 5 seconds for safety, know your way home.

Ambassadors of the Sport

People do make the difference. Without an open mind-set of “collaboration and sharing” the sport is not going to grow beyond a certain annual event or one-off initiative. The community aspect is slowly disapearing in a time where everything is “served at our finger tips”. So we encourage more real face-to-face time and less screen time. We would like to revive the community aspect and give credit to those who truly share and contribute in a healthy team spirit. For this reaon SRF will dedicate some time and effort on developing a section on the website called: Ambassadors of the Sport. There will be different categories such as: promotion, expertise and skills, volunteering, coaching, events & initiatives, equipment & services, sponsorship and donations. We are very pleased to have our first Ambassador in the form of is Tero Koski and we will be posting the results of our digital interview soon. Other people in the pipeline are: Janne Räsanen (Swimrun Finland website), Jaakko Kallio (Meiko Swimrun), Laura Askola (SRF Board member) . Anybody you want us to approach let us know and we will try to arrange it.

Funding

It’s not getting easier to obtain funding from the government and / or local municipalities for these kind of initiatives. One of the criteria to obtain funding is to demonstrate that the organisation has active members which is particularly hard to show in swimrun because the sport can be done in so many different places. In other words we don’t necessarily have to meet at a clubhouse, pool or athletics track. Still, we hope that people by now understand and appreciate our effort and ambition to grow the sport with this initiative and want to be part of the swimrun community spirit.

Media exposure

Now that we have the website and memberships registration in place we can start promoting the sport because people have a place or platform to go. We will arrange for interviews with Helsinki Sanomat, HBL, juoksu magazine and if possible Finnair inflight magazine. These things take time and a lot of effort to make it happen. TV is another medium that is difficult to penetrate – but with the right contacts, timing and a bit of luck it might just happen.

Thank you!

The SRF Team

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