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Rockman Swimrun: A Mythical Race Through Fjord & Mountain

Rockman Swimrun in Norway has a mythical reputation, often whispered about in hushed voices and those who talk of Rockman, do so with a thousand yard stares. There are swims through mighty fjords, of 4444 steps to climb with an enforced two minute break at the top, of climbing onto Preikestolen (Pulpit Rock) and of traversing rugged cliffs. Rockman’s Ian Moore, chats to about the race of legends.

What can participants expect at Rockman?

An epic adventure, in a land of fairytale and legend. They can expect to be challenged, taken to the edge and then to celebrate with the other legends, at the most scenic finish line in he swimrun world. Words cannot describe the experience, they will travel along hidden paths, climb the highest fells, break records on the longest wooden staircase in the world and then swim in a Norwegian fjord, with 1000m cliffs towering over them.

What is the atmosphere like?

​It is not an exaggeration to say the atmosphere is electric. There is a nervous, yet excited energy as the athletes board the boat. When you enter the fjord and things become real the intensity crackles in the air on the ferry. The doors open and the lead out music starts, athletes make their way to the fjord jump and you can see every emotion etched on the different faces, then the moment comes, the sound of splashes, screams and whoops as the athletes hit the water and the adrenalin completely takes over for the first swim section.

What do you think is the most challenging part of the course for athletes?

​It depends on the athlete. For those who find swimming more difficult there is the long swim to Flørli, where you can see the 4444 steps in the distance and you cross the full width of the fjord. For those who are new to heights the single track path along the cliffside after Preikestolen can be a challenge, although the views and situation are some of the best in the world.

But as a single challenge the steps are the most challenging, you climb 4444 steps to a height of circa 750m. This comes towards the end of the course, so the mental and physical challenge is tough. Obviously the rest stops allow you to turn and get an unbelievable view along the fjord, which does raise the adrenaline, take your breath away and help with the recovery.

What’s the highlight of this course?

There are too many to list; the first swim into the origin of the local Rockman legend Fantahåla, the approach to the world famous Pulpit Rock, Preikestolen. The cliffside paths as you descend and climb from Preikestolen to Bratteli. The long fjord swims, with 1000m cliffs looming over you, the 4444 stairs up from Flørli and finally the mad sprint downhill to the finish back at Flørli, when even exhausted bodies can’t stop you hitting top speeds on the forest trails.

Just how hard is the full course? 

The full course is a tough challenge, but it is as hard as you make it.  A person who can comfortably swim the long sections, and can move at “power walk” pace for all of the running will have no issues. The cut-offs are generous, within the safety limits, but they are achievable to most fit and confident athletes. Depending on the athlete, the hardest challenge may be dealing with the heights and exposure of some sections. But these are all well trodden tourist paths, so there is no issue with safety.

What is your opinion on individual entries? 

​It is better to experience the day together but we are fine with individual entries, so long as they are capable and confident. We also offer the possibility of people signing up as individuals and we will attempt to match them with a similar athlete.

And your best piece of advice for any first-time swimrunners doing the event ?

​Race within your personal limits and remember it is a long day out, don’t burn all your matches in the first swims and climbs. Rockman returns on the 19th August 2023, you can find more information here.

Fred Newton

Fred is the Editor and co-founder of He has actively been involved with the sport of swimrun as an enthusiastic participant, race director, volunteer and journalist.