Ashley Couper and Phillip Mace secured a top-ten finish in their respective division at the Otillo Swimrun World Championship in Sandhamn, Sweden.
Racing from dusk to dawn, Couper, a six-times Bermuda Half-Marathon Derby winner, and Mace, were among 48 teams of competitors in the mixed division taking on the unusual race, which included swimming and running across 24 islands that surround the Sandhamn area, a small settlement in the central-peripheral part of the Stockholm Archipelago in central-eastern Sweden.
Taking on the gruelling course totalling 75 kilometres, of which 10km are open-water swimming and 65km are trail running, the pair clinched a tenth-place finish in a time of 9hrs 53min 27sec, a total of 1:15:17 behind division winners Team Garmin, consisting of Charlotte Eriksson and Simon Borjeson, who crossed the finish line at Uto Vardshus on Uto, in 8:38:10.
The pair’s performance also secured them a 40th-place finish overall.
“It was such an epic experience, and so incredible to be part of something like that,” Couper said.
“There were times during the race where I thought I’d never finish, but it is the ultimate team sport; there is a real bond between the competitors and the support from the people on these tiny islands was incredible.
“I started out thinking we didn’t belong there and were under-prepared because we both had niggling injuries. However, crossing the finish line was so emotional and coming in the top ten made me so happy and proud.”
“I’d definitely love to do it again. I’ve definitely caught the bug; it’s hard not to want to do more.”