It is not an uncommon sign – two Swedes cross the finish line of a SwimRun competition in first place. Magnus Myhrborg and his mate Jesper Hassel grabbed the first place at last weekends Loch Gu Loch SwimRun in around the second largest Scottish loch, the world famous Loch Ness. The two are not only fast athletes, while Magnus owns the sporting-goods website his friend Jesper is the co-founder of health tech start-up I caught up with Gothenburg-based Magnus to talk about their race and their plans ahead.

Picture Credit: SwimRun Scotland

Runssel: Together with Jesper Hassel you earned the top spot at last weekends Loch Gu Loch SwimRun around the spectacular Scottish highlands. What scared you most – Nessie during the cold swims throughout the icy Loch or the elevation gain through the run portions?
Magnus Myhrborg: In the beginning of the race I think it was the extremly cold water because I panicked when I jumped into the water and wanted to return to land and go home again. In the last part of the race it was the elevation, both Jesper and I are good runners when it´s flat so we had some problems with cramps during the last 6 k run.

Picture Credit: Anna-Karin Lundin

Runssel: How did the race progress for you guys? When did you realise you won the battle?
Magnus Myhrborg: We had a really good start with two good swims and OK running, so when we started the 3rd run (9 k running) the course was perfect for us, a bit downhill and some flat where I think we were averaging a running pace of around 4.30 min/km. I think it was that run that gave us a few minutes lead. I think I knew that we were going to win during the last 6 k of running, but Jesper wasn’t sure until we had come out of the water on the last swim and therefore we did not want to celebrate before we past the finish line. We couldn’t see the teams behind us for some time, but we have never been leading a race before so it was a new experience.

Picture Credit: Andy Kirkland

Runssel: Why did you pick the Loch Gu Loch race and in what way did you prepare for the competition? Did you fine-tune your training to the course profile?
Magnus Myhrborg: We picked this race because we wanted to see more of Scotland. I have never been there before so it´s a cool way to explore a country. In regards to our training, it was pretty bad actually. I competed in Ö-loppet in the beginning of August and got hurt. My physiotherapist advised me 2 days before i went to Scotland that Loch Gu Loch was not a good idea. Thus I haven’t run more than 5k 2 times a week for some time. The good thing about that was that i could focus more on my swimming and started swimming with Simcoachen and the awesome coach Anna-Karin Lundin. Jesper has been traveling a lot in his work and could only really get runs in, even though it was not near as much as he had been hoping for. So in all honesty we weren’t as prepared for this race as we would have liked.

Picture Credits: Anna Schlosser

Runssel: What was your team tactic? Do you change the front swimmer during the race? Who is leading the runs?
Magnus Myhrborg: We did not have any particular tactics. Right now I’m the best swimmer so i was in the front all the time in the swimming. We know our strength and weaknesses so we just focus on enjoying the race and being happy all the time. After a bit over 20 k of running i felt that my body was not up for it, so then we put the rope between us and Jesper helped to pull me along a little. On the steeper uphills we walked because we wanted to save energy and we also know that we can run pretty fast downhill and on the flat.

Runssel: You raced several SwimRun races throughout Sweden. What makes this race stick out to the competitions you raced so far?
Magnus Myhrborg: Yes we have been doing this a few years now and we are always looking for new races because it´s an amazing way to explore the nature. This is actually the race that hade the most amazing nature that we have done a SwimRun in. As a result of the race we can say that we really have seen Loch Ness and the nature surrounding it =)

Runssel: Was this your last race in 2016? Any plans for the upcoming season? 
Magnus Myhrborg: No, we have one race left – 1000 Lakes in Germany. So far we have not planned any races. However, there are a couple that we would like to do and it would also be fantastic if we would get the opportunity to compete in the SwimRun World Championship, ÖtillÖ next year.