One beautiful August morning, there I was, bobbing in between two scraggy islets in the outer archipelago of Stockholm, wearing sneakers, wetsuit, goggles, swim cap, and a colored team t-shirt. A drone circled above us and there were camera people in the water, too. Along with about 350 other colleagues, like groups of colored ants clawing away at the water, drifting from shore to shore.
Swimrun means swim and run. No time to change gear in-between. The original swimrun is 41 km on this same group of islands, although we only completed a 9 km course. And it was more than many of us ever dreamed they would accomplish. Some were 60 years old, you see. Others were scared of swimming in open water. And quite a few were nervous about running such a long distance. But everybody had a buddy and a tow rope for pulling a tired swimmer, and it was not uncommon to see people pushing their colleague in the back, making running just a tiny bit lighter. The company I work for aims to have a healthy workforce. The local Nordic managing director takes things a notch further. This year it was the swimrun. A few years back nearly 300 of us climbed a mountain in Norway. We have also biked around Skagen in Denmark, spent an entire day outside in a snow mobile suit in -27C in Lapland (some of us got cold burns), and gone horseback riding on Iceland.
And so the entire company swam and ran between the islets of Utö in Sweden, pushing, pulling, and coaching each other until we crossed the finish line, one team at a time. Because it was never about winning a race against anyone else except for ourselves and our prejudices about our own capabilities and performance. And quite a few witnessed their own minds reset to new levels of at-minimum-achievement.(Utö, Sweden; August 2018)