Race Preview: ÖTILLÖ Cannes 2022 – Will This Be The Biggest Swimrun Race Ever?

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Cannes in the sunny Mediterranean returns this weekend, and with over 600 entrants already and more expected this week, the previous record of 637 could be broken which would make it the biggest swimrun race ever by attendance.

It marks a positive tend for ÖTILLÖ who have seen over 600 participants both in Gothenburg and at the World Championship / Final 15km weekends.

Swimrun.com caught up with a cheerful Michael Lemmel, co-founder at ÖTILLÖ to chat about this weekends race.

With good attendance expected in Cannes, are we at a tipping point where swimrun becomes a mass participation sport? Michael thinks not, with the the sweet spot around 1000 participants. The important thing is keeping the sense of adventure and finding a setup which is commercially viable – less we forgot the outdoor events sector has been hammered over the last three years.

France fast becoming a swimrun superpower

Let’s talk about France. Forget cheese and fine wines, swimrun in the country is booming, why is this?  

Since the French Triathlon Union took on swimrun as an under-section, every triathlon club in the country needs to put on swimrun events to access funding. There is growth at all ages and especially with younger athletes. Most people who do swimrun in France come from triathlon, Michael think they come as they are looking for something new.

The second part of France’s success is to do with the warm waters and temperate climate, which allows a much longer season than other European neighbours.

France is a country which has quickly acquired a broader base, Michael hopes that there will be adventure style races where skill and knowledge remain important.

What is an ÖTILLÖ course doing in a city?

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun is synonymous with nature and natural environments, it might surprise some to learn of an urban course.

Michael explains that the purpose of the World Series is to put on races which have different characteristics and vary from the island to island concept. ÖTILLÖ wants to show the possibility of doing swimrun and adventure racing in lots of different locations which includes an urban setting.

ÖTILLÖ Cannes is a lot more than people expect

Michael Lemmel

When you have done it for the first time, you are very surprised by the fantastic swimming and the water is very clear. Then the mixture of running through trail, streets and nature. It is our most varied course and just a very cool thing.

Cannes is definitely one of my favourite venues, the whole weekend and finish line at the beach is great. I really like the location

2021 winner, Max Andersson

World Series, Sprint & Experience races

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Cannes offers three distances:

The World Series has a total distance of 40km made up of 32km of running (11 runs) and 8km (11 swims) of swimming.

The Sprint race has a total distance of 13km made up of 10km of running (5 runs) and 3km (5 swims) of swimming.

The Experience race has a total distance of 7km long made up of 5km running (4 runs) and 2km swimming (4 swims).

What are some of the challenges?

On paper ÖTILLÖ Cannes looks very-doable but do not be complacent as plenty of challenges lurk.

You will surprised by the amount of vertical! The World Series has two big hills and the Sprint, one large hill. Sprint racers will have to negotiate a tough trail, ÖTILLÖ call it ‘the Jungle Trail’, it is a very technical trail which takes you off the back of the big hill.

A lot of people think it is warm water so I don’t have to wear a wetsuit, you stack up all the swims and you can get cold very easily. Cannes is a constant game to try and figure out the perfect setup.

Local support

ÖTILLÖ work closely with the City of Cannes who are extremely supportive and helpful. Putting on a race in France isn’t easy. They provide ÖTILLÖ with a lot of insight. The Hotel Martinez is also very welcoming, warmly embracing swimrunners, a different kind of guest to normal weekends.

Cannes will be packed out with spectators who watch the event, the atmosphere is electric and great fun.

Allez Allez Allez! Then come to Malta.

The ÖTILLÖ team are buzzing to return to this fantastic French city, and are anticipating a sublime weekend. The team also have half an eye on ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Malta in a few weeks time which is a different animal and at 25 degrees, will be a grand finale to the season.

ÖTILLÖ Swimrun Malta: Next Race After Cannes