Seven teams started at Arholma to challenge all physical and mental limits by competing over 250 kilometers of running, swimming and orienteering — nonstop, across Stockholm’s archipelago. Only three teams made it to the finish line at Landsort.
The weather conditions were quite fair, but the chilly nights, the extreme distances and the lack of nutrition and sleep was a big challenge for every team.
First day and night the teams were feeling strong.
“The weather was miserable at that point, but our motivation was high and we felt great to be right in the fight. Both Swedish teams then followed our lead for about 30 mins before Team 4 Sweden/Aus took a different, and decisive route choice- adding an extra swim, where we chose to run further left, through a marsh section, that ultimately proved to be slower and they got the lead again.” – Team 8 Australia
With the second night approaching there were necks no longer getting along with their swimsuits, arms no longer agreeing to swim with paddles, knees boycotting running when cold and legs starting to give out.
“It was a slow shift from pure enjoyment of the whole experience to dreading every transition with the second night approaching — especially when we got the fourth stage maps and realized that multiple two-to-four kilometer swims were in our future.” – Team 1 USA
Team 1 USA was the first team to retire from the race after 35 hours. The other teams kept fighting against the different challenges and by now the teams also began to battle some sleep deprivation issues. There was some slurred speech and slow reactions to questions, and even a bigger challenge to handle the navigation during sleep deprivation and in pitch darkness. Team 7 and Team 3 were next to retire.
“It was a sad, tough decision and we were certainly not satisfied with not finishing but we were still proud of our performance as a team to make it this far. Thus our journey ended on the swimrun mecca of Utö.” – Team 3 USA
By now the winning team Team 4 Sweden/Australia have already reached the finish line at Landsort. Still in the competition was Team 2 Sweden and Team 8 Australia that continued to fight through the various challenges before the final push to the finish line.
“As is always the case, with enough patience and persistence, we eventually reached land after the long swim. Such a welcome relief. A few more islands and the sun came up again. A sleepy march across one island around dawn was the only hint of our bodies actually exhibiting how tired we really were. Another immersion as we swam to the next island and we were awoken again and ready for our final push to the finish line.” – Team 8 Australia