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Otillo Swimrun World Championship - We chat with Paul Newsome on how to prepare for a race of this magnitude

August 4, 2018


The Otillo Swimrun world championship, held every September in Sweden is the granddaddy of Swimrun events and was labelled by The Guardian UK as the toughest one day event in the world. The team at Otillo literally invented the sport of swimrun and this race is what turned it into one of the fastest growing endurance sports out there.


Race stats and logistics:

Trail running: 65km

Open water swimming: 10km


Islands to cross: 26

Amount of transitions: 50


Longest run: 19.7km

Longest swim 1.8km


Course record: 7 hours 58 minutes 06 seconds - Daniel Hansson and Jesper Svensson (SWE), Team Swedish Armed Forces.


Web -


Live race broadcast - 



What has it got to do with Rottnest Swimrun?

Rottnest Swimrun is a merit race for the Otillo World Championship, in fact, Rottnest Swimrun is the only merit race in the Southern Hemisphere.


This year, a Rottnest Swimrun supporter, competitor and friend, Paul Newsome, is taking it on! Angus asked Paul a few questions about his training and approach to the event.

Side note: Paul is a very strong athlete, having represented England as a Triathlete, won the Manhattan marathon swim in New York and swum the English Channel amongst a whole lot of other endurance sport achievements. As a passionate coach, Paul is the co-founder of Swim Smooth.



Angus (A): I know you well enough to know that you’re a meticulous planner, can you give us a brief insight into what a week looks like training wise for you at the moment


Paul (P): I try to plan as best as I can but inevitably sometimes “life” gets in the way :-) This is what I try to adhere to as closely as possible


MON - 10 x 400 “Red Mist” Endurance set in the pool, reducing down from 1:22 to 1:19/100 with 20s rest


MON - 60-75 mins ride on Zwift app (indoor) - usually a race of some description


TUE - 3-4km swim with plenty of pull and paddles work


TUE - 10-14km running with some intervals, i.e. 500-1000-1500-2000-1500-1000-500 at around 3:45/km pace


WED - 3-4km swim with a 2-2.5km main set of threshold work at ~1:16/100m


WED - 60-75 mins ride on Zwift app (indoor) - usually a race of some description


THU - SwimRun session totalling about 16-20km or roughly 2hrs, usually down in the Swan River


FRI - midday 1hr yoga session


SAT - rest day or a steadier run


SUN - a long run of 30+km at ~4:30/km pace


(A) Ok, that is a heavy program! So what is the longest run and longest swim you’ll do leading up to the race – when (how far out), where (terrain) and why?


(P) So far the longest run has been 30km and I’ve done a few of those, usually on hilly courses and preferably off-road. I will be doing 40km this weekend and a 50km trail run race the week after (early August, so about 5 weeks out).


I raced a 10km open water swim in early June and swam a continuous 8km swim last week with all my SwimRun gear on at 1:27/100m pace which I was pretty happy about. I’m happy that I’ve got the swim distance covered - it’s the mega miles on the run that scare me a bit, though I did get in 100km last week which is a new peak for me!


(A) Who is your partner for the Otillo and have you raced together before?


(P) Andy Blow. He’s the owner of Precision Hydration who sponsor the Otillo and provide the electrolytes for the race itself. We are old training buddies from the British Triathlon team circa 1997-2001 and a