Otillo – Is it too hard?

This year on September 30th there is the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series 1000 Lakes in Sweden.


How cool does this look?

Source: Otillo.com

Or scary, I suppose, depending on how good a swimmer you are.


Despite not especially liking cycling in the rain I don’t mind getting wet when I run and I’ve even got to the point where I look forward to splashing about in a wetsuit in a lake every summer. Along a similar vein a ‘sense of adventure’ is always something I hope I have.

Couple all of that with my admiration of the beauty of nature, then surely Otillo is for me?

Otillo is a PAIRED SwimRun event – ie multiple, consecutive swimming and running events completed with a buddy. Otillo is considered the World Championships along a similar vein to Ironman in the triathlon world and, maybe, Powerman in the duathlon world.

Yes I would love to do Otillo. Except I suspect that it might be just a bit too hard for me.

Putting boredom to one side, I can swim an Ironman 3.8k lake swim relatively comfortably. However Otillo’s 1000 lakes involves sea swimming twice as far as in an Ironman (7.5k) AND running a not-quite-a-marathon distance. I often cramp when swimming in the evening after running during the day and I don’t fancy a bout of cramps a few hundred metres from shore in one of the later swim stages.

So, with a not insignificant risk of personal death, I may well duck out of Otillo 1000 lakes.

Here are the course details (and a link):

  • Total race distance 41 360 m
  • Trail-running 33 800 m
  • Swimming 7 560 m
  • Swim sections 10
  • Longest swim 1 300 m
  • Longest run 7 100 m

Or at least that was my original thinking.

I had assumed that other Otillo events were the same standard(ish) distance, just like an Ironman event is pretty much the same distance as every other Ironman event.

Then someone else pointed out that Otillo have sprint events and suggested that I glance at the Otillo race in the UK’s beautiful Scilly Isles – a helicopter ride or ferry ride from England’s South Westernmost corner. These course details are notably easier-looking (June 9th 2018).

  • Total race distance 14 785 m
  • Trail-running 11 600 m
  • Swimming 3 185 m
  • Swim sections 8
  • Longest swim 1 000 m
  • Longest run 2 500 m

And when you post your Garmin GPS track afterwards on Facebook it will look SUPER-COOL. Something like this:

Clicks to source


and it will probably be a Garmin track as no other GPS watch supports multiple swim-Run legs AFAIK.

Except I still don’t fancy the sea that much. My choice of an Ironman last year revolved around the ‘not in the sea‘ criteria. I DO sea-swim but….

So. There we go. I’ve found lots of reasons never to do an Otillo race.

But then I stumbled across the Virginia SwimRun


clicks to source


And then I looked further and found Breca – Another swimrun event series in New Zealand and UK IN LAKES


Red Bull | Breca Wanaka 2017 - What on earth is a swimrun?

Perhaps 2018/2019 will be SwimRun year after all?

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13 thoughts on “Otillo – Is it too hard?

  1. Nice advert for otillo. How much did you get paid to write it or did you only get a free entry to the race?

    1. sorry. no money. no race entry. no freebies. no nothing.
      Just content to provide my small bit of help for the sport of triathlon (well, swimrun)
      to be clear: whilst “no nothing” is a double negative, it is a UK-english phrase that still means “nothing”.
      sorry to disapoint. I don’t get free Garmins either (no-one does AFAIK)

      1. You shouldn’t worry. I have already made the payment for a villa here in Marbella. Maybe yours is stuck in an international wire transfer. But you will be enjoying the Ferrari in no time.

  2. I’m with you… I don’t see myself swimming in a lake after running 30k.

    And I guess we are talking with no wetsuit at all, right?

      1. Fins? But I guess that whatever you want to use, you have to carry it yourself between swims. Which takes me to a different question… What happens with your running gear? Do you also have to swim with it?

      2. yep.
        i think they cut holes in their shoes to let the water out. at my lake there are always two people training for otillo. i haven’t looked that closely but they carry lots of stuff and have other bits (float) strapped to them

      3. Hi, I’ve never done a full IM, but did a few 70.3’s. I’ve also done some long swim runs: ÖtilÖ Har ( http://www.movescount.com/moves/move149794080#table-year=2018 ) Costa Brava ( http://www.movescount.com/moves/move101671281#table-year=2018 )
        I consider the 70.3’s being tougher, since the intensity is a lot higher. The swim runs are much more an experience. You’re in the middle of what mother nature has to offer.
        My advice; find a team-mate, try it and fall in love with the concept. You won’t regret!

      4. the Gerona swimrun looks a cool move!
        my personal concern is the swimming difficulty not overall physical difficulty. actually something like Gerona in the UK I would like to do, it seems psychologically ‘safer’ to me swimming across sea bays (which i have done many times)

      5. Both were breathtaking nature experiences. I’m used at ocean swimming, living at the coast in Norway. The waves make the whole thing a little more exciting. You can compare it with tarmac running and trail running. The Croatia (Hvar) move includes a 3.6 km swim with 1m waves. That was big fun!
        It’s all about how you approach it in your own mind. If you convince yourself that it’s fun, it will be. When you’re able to do a IM swim in a lake, you’re perfectly capable of doing an ÖtilÖ.

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