When we left the sunlit Utö island a couple of weeks ago we met Björn at the local dock playing with his dog. “Nope. Unfortunately not!” was his reply when I enquired about another get-together in Switzerland in a few months. Coincidentally he was not accurate and he will be wearing the bib with the number 1 in this year’s Engadin SwimRun meeting. Before heading over to the remarkable Engadin vale I chatted with one half of last year’s Engadin SwimRun winning team as he will be attacking the competition in union with fellow swede and SwimRun extraordinaire Lelle Moberg, present SwimRun World Champion.
|Daniel Hansson on the left wont be able to race Saturdays Engadin SwimRun. Current World Champ Lelle Moberg on the right will be teaming up with Björn. Picture: Nadja Odenhage|
Runssel: You and your companion Paul Krochak had a fruitful outing at last year’s Engadin SwimRun competition. This year you are back to preserve your title with 50% of the up-to-date ÖtillÖ winning team, Lelle Moberg. How did this mix come about?
Björn: Lelle contacted me just last week asking if I wanted to race Engadin SwimRun with him as his usual partner, Daniel Hansson, is injured unfortunately. I got a day off from the boss and did some last minute flight and accommodation bookings and managed to get all the logistics together, with A LOT of help from my sponsor HEAD swimming.
Runssel: As the course in Switzerland differs to your normal Swedish racing set-up, did you do something distinct in training to prepare for this?
Björn: As this was a last minute decision I have not trained as much specific mountain running as last year. Nevertheless I have run a LOT and done some lengthy sessions of open water swimming. Already I have done two SwimRun races this season. However, me and Lelle have not yet raced together. This will be the first time for us competing as a team.
|Björn on the left leading the bunch out of Utö harbour. Picture: Nadja Odenhage|
Runssel: Tell us a bit about the equipment you are going to use this Saturday?
Björn: I will race in the most recent HEAD SwimRun race suit. I will use ordinary hand paddles and the brand new HEAD pull-buoy. I will use two swim caps (one extra under the race swim cap). For shoes I’ll use the Inov8 x-talon 190.
Runssel: A drop-out rate of about 50% exhibited that a lot of teams underrated the conditions of an alpine race in this format. Besides overtaking Lelle and yourself, which vital tip would you give away to fellow competitors?
Björn: My tip for fellow competitors would be to go easy on the first climbs, you will need good legs for the second part of the competition. Talk with each other during the race, be open about how your body feels, if you need to go slower, communicate it to your partner. If you are the stronger team member, help you partner. Always stay positive! And don’t forget to lift your eyes from the ground in front of you. Have a look at the scenery, this is a truly spectacular course!
|Lelle Moberg with partner Carolin Holmqvist crushing the competition at last years Engadin SwimRun. Foto: JakobEdholm.com|
Runssel: What is your preferred part of the course and why?
Björn: The two most rememberable parts from last year was the one where we were heading down to the striking Mountain lake for the first swim. The other one was swimming in the small lake above the turning point in St.Moritz, the 17 degree water felt like a warm bubbelbath!
Runssel: All the best for Saturday!
|Björn exits the water during this years Utö SwimRun. Picture: Nadja Odenhage|