(Jan 2020) – Find below an interview with Hubertus Von Frenckell and his swimrun event in Åland.
Hi Hubertus or is it Hubbe? I think people call you Hubbe, right? Anyway, tell us what makes Åland swimrun so special compared to other swimruns in Finland?
Yes, I also go by the name of Hubbe but just to answer your question….most swimruns in Finland are in relatively quiet lake settings but ours is in the open sea between islands. The nature is rough and rocky. There are times that you feel really small as a human being in the midst of so much water and open space. Åland swimrun will make you immediately aware that Nature can be liberating but also intimidating if you’re not used to having it around. There are remote and untouched islands so isolated that when you get on them it almost feels like you just made a new discovery! As far as the long 51km race is concerned it’s not “a walk in the park” and should only be considered by swimrunners with a fair bit of open water swimrun experience under their belts. The reason is that the swim ratio is fairly high and in combination with rough seas and high winds it can be really challenging even for experienced and strong swimmers. In addition there is a lot of technical running on rocks and on some of the smaller islands you have to orientate to the next water entry point. It’s fun but not for those who don’t like surprises. So if all this sounds a bit “too much and extreme” then there is also a 15km swimrun that’s shorter but still features all the challenges of an open water swimrun where big waves can be your main opponent of the day.
Rough seas, big waves, cold water…..mmmmmh do you also have an event for entry-level swimrunners in conditions that are a bit less demanding?
Yes absolutely! We have a new 8km event where the swim distances are relatviely short and in protected waters. The run stretches are mostly on gravel roads and easy trails on the main island. Even if you have never done a swimrun you will be able to start and finish this one! We will help you to get through with our volunteers who will be on the course to cheer you on. Best of all the seawater temperature in September is fairly OK and optimal. Last year we had an average temperature of around 13-15 degrees and at some spots even above 15 degrees. If you want, you can do this race in team format so you don’t have to fear nature by yourself.
Finally, is there an opportunity for people to come to the islands of Åland and try out swimrun before the race event (planned for the 12th of September)?
Yes, sometime in August we will organize a multi-day training event together with Swimrunners Finland. It’s a perfect opportunity for people, who have never done a swimrun before, to experience the sport in beautiful nature as part of a short holiday trip. There will be specific days for entry level athletes where we will go through the ins and outs of essential swimrun equipment. In addition, you will learn the fundamentals of open water swimming, trail running and managing transitions. Theory is combined with practice so every time you learn something new we will try it for real.
Great, and what about experienced swimrunners who want to get ready for the long 51km swimrun?
Yes, for this group we will focus more on the details to become faster and more efficient. There is always room to improve swim technique, running posture as well as guidelines how to train and optimally prepare for a race in terms of planning, pacing, team dynamics and equipment set-up.As soon as we have the dates confirmed we will post the event details on both Swimrunners Finland social media site and Åland swimrun website for people to sign up.
Thanks for the interview Hubbe and see you soon on the islands. I love the video that you guys produced.