OTILLO Personalities | Q&A With A Swimrun Couple

As a sponsor of what is known as the toughest and most rewarding race in the world, ÖtillÖ, we strive to support the sport in reaching new levels and give you a more personal insight to what makes the athletes tick. With this in mind, we teamed up pro Swimrun racer and trainer Nicolas Remires to bring you an 8-part series running you through everything you’ll need to know before you run your first ÖtillÖ race. Nicolas has over 10 years experience as a Swimrun racer and hosts the official training camps for ÖtillÖ, so it’s fair to say he is the best man for the job.

In this weeks 3 feature posts Nicolas brings us with 3 very different racers from ÖtillÖ, one novice beginner, a casual racer and a former champion now veteran, to delve a bit deeper into what made them advocates of the Swimrun revolution.  Read on to learn all about how a married couple who balance 2 kids, work and training for ÖtillÖ, while doing it all for the fun of it!

The Casual Racers – Patric and Åsa 

Patric, and Åsa are married and have two children. They are swimrunners for a number of years now and live in Hammarby Sjöstad, the swimrun hoods of Stockholm. Åsa wanted to try a new sport to get strong again and Patric had tried Swimrun with a friend before so they decided to try it together as well and see if their marriage would sustain.

After their first swimrun in the city of Karlstad in Sweden Åsa thought never again… she was so wrong! A week later they were registering their team for the popular Ångaloppet. Three years later they are still competing together.

Q. Both of you have done many swimrun races, together or with different partners. What do you like most about the sport that keep you going year after year?

Åsa: I like the fact that the course is never the same, you must plan for the unpredictable and you are outdoors in the nature, I love the energy you get when you play outdoors with your friends. I feel powerful and it has a feeling of freedom when I know I can cross a lake, run over an island and just keep going. I also like the fact that you can have several partners, some people like short races, some long races and myself I actually like both!

Patric: To have a mutual interest makes it more inspiring and is easier to sustain. It’s easier to understand each other’s training needs and to support one another. I like when we set the goals early to have races to train for, it makes it more fun and it’s easier to make sure to get out no matter what weather or day it is. I like to be outdoors and I like the adventure part of it. It takes us to places we would not see if we would not do what we do.

Q. You are racing together and are also married. Is it a challenge to team up with your partner in life? What do you like the most by racing with your partner?

Åsa: The best thing is that we are supportive towards each other. We are happy when one of us are able to go out and train and get some kilometer into our bodies. The little one at home is probably the most supportive of us, when me or Patric puts our training gear he starts shouting “Heja Heja” because he knows that whenever time permits we go out and cheer for the one training and the other one play with the kids nearby. When you got two kids and no relatives close by to help with the kids as babysitters it’s a way of life to make it happen when we race, that’s why we race in Karlstad every year (my sister and her family supports us with housing, food and babysits when we compete there). The challenge to team up with Patric is probably that I’m a bit to chatty when we compete and he goes on mute, he does not have the ability to run and talk at the same time. So we are a bit different there, but I guess it’s good that he always uses earplugs!

Patric: For me it’s no problem competing with my partner. I do not understand the people that have a problem with that…. To compete with your spouse is not only fun in the moment but also in the planning phase and in training as well as in competitions. We share the memories in competing and train together more than the ordinary partner and that is always good. She is strong mentally and physically as well as fast.

Q. Did you get into any family conflicts because of bad racing choices and results?

Åsa: Well I guess our second year at Karlstad swimrun we were not the best of friends. We missed a turn and ran longer than needed. Patric was suffering from an injured calf and was hurting and nagging a lot, I was trying to pull him in the runs. Let’s say it surely was one of the worst competitions….

Patric: Not really, at least nothing big. We are trying to lift each other sprit up when it’s get rough. But sometimes I go on mute. I think Åsa would love to talk all the way through the races… I can only remember one conflict in a race, that is when we took two wrong turns in Karlstad Swimrun in the same run. We have never argued about a result..

Q. How do you train in swimrun when you have two kids and full time jobs? Do you manage to train together?

Åsa: We do not train together very often since we also like to spend time with the kids and they are still so young. So in our daily life we train separately. I train during lunch or in the evenings after we put the kids to bed one of us goes out and do a session. I have a philosophy that any training is better than none, so if I get an hour at lunch it’s such a bonus! Also we join each other’s training just for company if the weather is nice and play with the kids while supporting the one training. In the summers when we are up at our summerhouse we have great neighbors so there we can actually train together and we have our own Swimrun course there where we can do laps.

Q. What would you recommend to couple in life who wants to start teaming up together? What will be the biggest issue to deal with?

Åsa: Make sure you have aligned your goals so the expectations are the same. Are you doing it for fun or are you aiming higher than that, and do both parties agree on the goal? I think that is key. You have to have great respect for each other and be humble.

Patric: If you already have some issues or disrespect with your partner in the daily life it might actually be worse when you race together. Especially if one have higher ambitions or different goals.

Q. 2017 swimrun season is just starting and you are on the starting line of ÖtillÖ Utö. How do you choose the races you will do together and the ones you will do with other partners?

Åsa: We choose Utö as our biggest challenge to see if we can pull through it. We have never done such a long and cold race before and it will be an adventure. Patric is the one who likes the more adventures races and the one who gets better the longer it goes on. So we are doing a few of those this year. We will see how it works out after next weekend. I have never ran 37 km before so that will be my PB for this year once we finish.

I will also do a few swimruns with other partners and Patric as well, when we have good friends that likes the same it’s always good to try that as well. I do not really know how we choose, it just happens!

Patric: We do as many races we can together. I like to choose the races on how tough they are. I love technical running with a lot of altitude as well a lot of transitions and wherever there is a more swimming than the average race. Sometimes the babysitter gets to choose the race !

Q. What are the next swimrun challenges during summer?

Vansbro Swimrun, Höga Kusten, Ångaloppet, Karlstad Swimrun and ÖtillÖ Final 15k.

Q. Do you decide some goals when you are planning your races?

Åsa: Well Patric likes statistics and usually do the goals planning and I just train and show up! My goal is more to have fun and be strong and fast when I have to be.

Patric: I set the time goals for the races, Åsa is just laughing at me and says she will have fun. I’m going to set a goal to kiss Åsa at every swim transition when we get up from it. I’m also thinking about having that goal despite of partner, so we’ll see who is up for a challenge 😉

Q. What about equipment?

Åsa: I do have a husband who make sure I have all equipment needed and some extras…I’m more into less is more and that is something we can debate about at times! I have one Orca RS1 with short arms and legs for warmer races and a Head Race for colder races with long arms and short legs. Then I choose shoes depending on the race.

Patric: Pipe insulation calfs (I’m a plumber ;-), mid size paddles, rövtorpeden formally known as pull bouy which is home made as well. Swimrunshop pullbelt and 3m elastic cord, clear swim goggles and earplugs.


Stay tuned for the next episode in the series coming tomorrow where Nicolas will interview a past OTILLO champion who is always chasing the win.

Alan Lund

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