Tight battle at ÖTILLÖ, the Swimrun World Championship 2019
It was a hard fought race when 320 athletes from 25 nations pushed each other to an incredible pace at the 14th edition of ÖTILLÖ, the Swimrun World Championship. Pontus Lindberg and George Bjälkemo of Sweden managed to pull away from the leading pack towards the end and passed the finish line with the fastest time of the day: 7h 47min 48 sec.
The first mixed team, Charlotte Eriksson and Simon Börjeson, finished 9th in total after an exciting battle with the top mixed teams. The favorites in the women’s category, Fanny Danckwardt and Desirée Andersson, dominated the whole race.
Slippery rocks from the morning rain made the 75 km long race through the Stockholm archipelago even harder. But that didn’t seem to stop the top teams that fought a fierce battle for top honours. The four leading teams ran and swam neck and neck for over five hours. At the long run far into the race on the island of Ornö, Pontus Lindberg and George Bjälkemo managed to pull away from the pack with the reigning world champions and course record holders Alex Flores and Fredrik Axegård chasing them from behind.
”It was brutal. We have worked for this for three years. We messed up with our tactics last year but now we did everything right and it paid off. We (the four top teams) pushed each other hard and we couldn’t feel safe until the finish line. One minute you feel strong and the next you are about to fall apart, so close to cramping”, said a happy but exhausted Pontus Lindberg with his team mate George Bjälkemo at the finish on the island of Utö.
Lindberg and Bjälkemo gave everything they had to win today, their first podium on ÖTILLÖ, the Swimrun World Championship. The duo won all qualifiying races of the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series 2018 but this year they put all their focus on training for the World Championship.
The impressive winners of the mixed category Charlotte Eriksson and Simon Börjeson of Sweden crossed the finish line as ninth team in total. During a long part of the race Swiss Diane Sadik and Norwegian Knut Baadshaug led the mixed teams but Eriksson and Börjesson put pressure from behind and took over the lead towards the end.
In the women’s category the strong Swedish duo and last year’s runners up Fanny Danckwardt and Desirée Andersson dominated the whole race and took victory with a fantastic finishing time, 09:05:29, not far from last year’s course record despite harder conditions this year.
The competitors tackled 65 km trail running and 10 km open water swimming over and between 24 islands in the stunning Stockholm archipelago. ÖTILLÖ is long and it is painful but racing with the elements of nature is a unique experience. As a competitor you need to be well prepared, race it wisely with your team mate to excel and find a pace that will take you all the way to the finish line, making the cut offs before dark.
Top 3 results ÖTILLÖ 2019:
1. Pontus Lindberg and George Bjälkemo (SWE), Team ATG Sport, 7:47:48
2. Fredrik Axegård and Alex Flores (SWE), Ark Swimrun, 7:50:14
3. Lars Ekman and Jonas Ekman Fischer (SWE), Sailfish team Bröderna Bäver, 7:55:10
1. Charlotte Eriksson and Simon Börjeson (SWE), Team Garmin, 8:38:10
2. Jasmina Glad-Schreven and Thomas Schreven (SWE), 8:47:31
3. Diane Sadik (SUI) and Knut Baadshaug (NOR), 9:01:28
1. Fanny Danckwardt and Desirée Andersson (SWE), Team Envol, 9:05:29
2. Susie Moonan and Anna Hellström (SWE), Team Envol, 9:27:31
3. Isabella Hedberg and Helen Wikmar (SWE), Team ARKsouls Addnature, 9:32:37
Complete result list: www.otilloswimrun.com/races/OtillO/results-2019