A victory in the mixed or women category seems not enough. Just lately Kristin Larsson wrote SwimRun history when herself and partner Daniel Hansson grabbed the overall win at the Ötillö Engadin SwimRun competition in Switzerland. Nobody else had completed the exciting course faster before. The Stockholm duo shattered the course record and took the overall win. Inspiring!

It is not only SwimRun where Kristin leaves her fast marks. Mountain running, Adventure- or Expedition racing is where the competition fears her.

A couple of days before Annika Ericsson and Kristin will be trying to shock this years Ötillö competition, the mother of a two-year old son found the time to answers some questions.

Runssel: Pretty uncommon for a girl from northern Sweden you were involved in Nordic skiing from an early age. Did you skate on national or international level? Why did you stop? 

Kristin: Growing up in a small village outside the tiny town of Överkalix (just below the Arctic Circle), cross-country skiing was my major sport until junior age. Moving south to start my studies at the University made me discover other sports and I found a big passion in Multisport (MTB, kayaking and running) and mainly Adventure Racing (e.g. non stop Expedition races up to 7 days and nights in teams of 4 persons).

Runssel: In addition to the skating what other sports did you do when you were young? 

Kristin: As a child I tried almost all sports that were available in my hometown. Getting older I focused mainly on cross-country skiing but I also played soccer and did some trail running during summer time.

Kristin during the 2016 Haglöfs Åre Extreme Challenge. (Picture: Ola Rockberg)

Runssel: Besides your notable mountain running career you have a very remarkable pedigree when it comes to Multisport and Adventure racing. How did you end up in this sport? What is the splendour of this sport for you?

Kristin: At first Adventure Racing tempted me mainly for pushing my limits and curiosity of the adventures. I did focus on Adventure Racing for many years but stopped racing in this discipline three years ago and now my focus is mainly on Multisport and SwimRun. Adventure Racing is an extreme sport and I like the complexity of it including the teamwork and the mental aspects of pushing hard despite lack of sleep and rest. At the same time I feel that the sport has not developed during the last years and I think that the shorter multisport races are more competitive and more fun to race.

Runssel: You raced and won your first SwimRun competition in 2013 version of the Angaloppet. Subsequently it seems that you are racing every weekend. Why SwimRun? What is so special? 

Kristin: Today my focus is split between SwimRun and Multisport. In 2013 I was only doing Multisport competitions and raced Ångaloppet just for fun and managed to win. In 2014 our son was born two months before ÖtillÖ. When I was standing with him at the finish line in Utö, watching Daniel and Lelle smashing a new course record, I thought that this is a sport I want to try too. During the last two years I have been focusing equal on multisport and SwimRun. Of course, it had been easier to focus on only one sport but if I would train “only” swimming and running I would really miss my mountain biking and kayaking.
I like SwimRun a lot because of the simplicity. Obviously it is much less gear than Adventure Racing where you need to fill a garage for each race. I like the balance between running and swimming and it’s a great feeling of freedom to combine these sports. Recently we did a race in Norway (Rockman SwimRun and Kristins Race Report) with an awesome racecourse; swimming in the fjords and running in the mountains attracts me so much and I hope there will be more races like this in the future!

A busy day of family training! (Picture: Thule)

 Runssel: Your husband Daniel Hansson and yourself delivered one of the most exciting SwimRun performances during the Engadin SwimRun this year. You won the overall race by more than 10 minutes and left everyone speechless with a new course record. Looking back, was this the “perfect day” for the two of you? 

Kristin: Sure we had a good day. We had mainly been focusing on Multisport in June as we were racing the open European Championship in Are the weekend before Engadin. We could do the race with no pressure and both of us managed to keep the speed up and push hard all the way. I like Engadin a lot as it is like running and swimming in a fairy tale. It is an extremely beautiful environment.

Kristin and Daniel stormed to a record setting win at the 2016 Ötillö Engadin SwimRun. This was also the first time a women took the overall victory in a SwimRun race. (Picture: Private)

 Runssel: With ÖtillÖ in a few weeks’ time you must be very busy training. How does a typical week of training look like in the build up? How often do you train on the course? Do you have any special SwimRun workouts? 

Kristin: With 2 weeks left to ÖtillÖ I will focus on keeping healthy (our son is in the Kindergarten). We had three sessions on the racecourse during the last weekend, as we want to have an overview of the course but also because it is great fun to be out in the archipelago. I don’t follow a schedule and my training is always subject to everyday life; Transport training to/from work, training at lunch and/or evening depending on how/when it works in combination with work and family. My training sessions are mainly running, kayaking, biking or swimming. During summer time and race season I try to do some block training and SwimRun sessions.

Runssel: As a mother of a young boy how long did it take you to get back into serious training? 

Kristin: I was lucky to not encounter any bigger problems during my pregnancy and could keep some light training all the way to labour (which actually started while I was out biking). After giving birth to my son I focused on training my core muscles before anything else. I had no stress or specific dates set when to be back racing and that helped me to make a steady progress with no drawbacks.

Daniel leading Kristin out of the cold waters during the Utö SwimRun (Picture: Jakob Edholm)

Runssel: How do you combine your daily family life with training and racing? 

Kristin: It’s important to find the balance between family, work and training. Daniel and me help each other to find time for training but we do also often combine family time with training. Our Thule Chariot buggy has been very well used the last two years. It’s not that much harder to find time for training when you have kids, but it’s definitely much harder to find time for rest and recovery.

Runssel: With such a busy life, do you find the time for some non-sport hobbies?

Kristin: I love to be in the mountains and I wish I had more time just hiking in the mountains and take in the views with no stress. At the same time I think I can do more of that when I’m older so I’m taking the opportunity to run now when I can do it and as long as I think it is fun!

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