Welcome to episode nineteen of the Low Tide Boyz, a Swimrun Podcast! On this week’s show we have Lars Finanger of Ödyssey Swimrun. This might be one of our favorite shows so far. (Every other show is tied for second place!) It’s safe to say that Lars has done a ton to help grow the sport of swimrun in the US. While in this interview we chat about his background as an athlete, writer and race director, we could dedicate an entire episode (and we shall) to talk about Ödyssey Swimrun (formerly Swimrun USA.)
Welcome to episode nineteen of the Low Tide Boyz, a Swimrun Podcast!
On this week’s show we have Lars Finanger of Ödyssey Swimrun. This might be one of our favorite shows so far. (Every other show is tied for second place!)
We’re still under shelter in place and still training for life at this point. We’ve also committed for some reason to grow our hair out. Chris has already been on that train but Chipper just joined. Fans of the show can suggest what type of mullet Chipper should grow.
For shout outs this week we are virtually waving our hands to Sarah Fergot. She’s a Novato resident and stout swimrunner in her own right. She’s had a bunch of the races she had on the calendar get cancelled including a 50K and a 100 mile ultra. She’s channeling that energy positively and is currently running the virtual race across Tennessee. That race is a 1000 kilometers and she has until August 1st to cover that distance. Best of luck Sarah!
Now for this week’s interview. It’s safe to say that Lars has done a ton to help grow the sport of swimrun in the US. While in this interview we chat about his background as an athlete, writer and race director, we could dedicate an entire episode (and we shall) to talk about Ödyssey Swimrun (formerly Swimrun USA.)
Lars was born in Norway and grew up in Saudi Arabia. He participated in his first triathlon event in an Eighth Grade Physical Education class (it was organized by his Dad) and grew up playing baseball and endurance events. He has two kids and his wife Emily is a stout athlete in her own right (she won Norseman twice!)
Lars learned about swimrun when he was working for Slowtwich.com and Jonas Colting was commenting on the forum about that Mats and Michael were putting together. Fast forward to 2014, the timing was right to try to cover the event for the magazine that Lars was working for. When he reached out to Ötillö about getting an entry to the Otillo World Championship. They told him no but that he should come out and somebody might be injured and he might be able to sub in. Sure enough, there was a guy that got food poisoning before the race and he was in! His “teammate” was from Spain and didn’t speak much English and somehow managed to put together a decent race. Loving every minute, Lars was hooked but in 2014 there were only three swimrun races in the World.
Fortuitously, Jeff Cole reached out to Lars while he was still in Sweden to tell him about swimrun and about a course in Maine that would be a perfect venue. Right then and there the idea was hatched for Casco Bay Swimrun.
In addition to starting Ödyssey Swimrun, Lars still races a lot of swimrun events. He recently raced Ötillö Catalina with his partner John Stevens (a stout swimmer and athlete in his own right.) They had a great race experience in Catalina and add to that that they even chartered a giant sail boat to stay on. On Catalina, Lars unveiled the Kraken Collective, an online swimrun community for training and racing team. With COVID-19, the collective is on hold and we’re looking forward to seeing that re-launch once all the shelters in place orders have lifted.
We ended the interview chatting about why swimrun is so different from triathlon and why it’s such a unique experience. Lars wants to see the sport grow organically and keep the vibe that’s similar to gravel riding or ultrarunning. Swimrunning can fun and hard and not have it be super serious.
You can learn more about Lars and Ödyssey Swimrun here.
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