A Greener Future with ÖTILLÖ Swimrun
As Mr Green moves further into summer, our sponsorship of the ÖTILLÖ Swimrun World Series and World Championship moves further into the spotlight, building to the sporting crescendo that has been named one of the toughest races in the world.
Joining us today, to speak out about his own love affair with the sport and to walk us through the decision-making process that went into partnering with this globally recognised sporting brand is Mr Green’s very own CEO, Jesper Kärrbrink.
Firstly, let’s take a closer look at what Swimrun is and how it came to be.
What is Swimrun?
It is a team-sport based on two persons travelling through nature and time, completely dependent of each other. The team alternates between running and swimming along a pre-marked course in nature; it can be between islands or between lakes. As a team you race within 10 meters of each other, you share the experience, the fun, the beauty and the suffering.
In 2002 Anders Malm, the owner of Utö Värdshus (the finish line hotel of ÖTILLÖ), his friend Janne Lindberg and some of his staff (the Andersson brothers) had a late night in the bar. They challenged each other – “Last team of two to Sandhamn pays for hotel, dinner and drinks”. It took them more than 24 hours and they were too tired to party on arrival. They tried again the year after with the same result.
In 2006 Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott were asked if they could make a commercial race out of their crazy challenge. The sport of Swimrun came to be. Today the race is internationally recognized as the SWIMRUN WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP and has been ranked by CNN as one of the toughest races in the World.
Joining us today is avid competitor and CEO of Mr Green, Jesper Kärrbrink (pictured below, to the right).
How did you initially hear about Swimrun and what drew your interest to it?
I did my first long adventure race in 2004 where I met both Mikael and Mats, who at that time, arranged different races. In 2007 Mikael called me and asked if I wanted to do ÖTILLÖ, he explained the concept and I said thank you but no[t a chance in hell]! 65 Kilometres running in a wetsuit and 10 Kilometres swimming in your shoes, in unmarked terrane and autumn Swedish waterers was a bit extreme for me.
A year later a I had changed my mind when a friend asked the same question and we actually completed the race in 13 hours.
How does Swimrun make you feel?
Awful, ha ha.
No, swimrun is an amazing sport. You run and when you are tired, hot and your legs start to feel like logs, you’re soon in the water cooling down, using your arms and different muscles. When the swimming starts to feel painful, you’re soon up and running again! It’s perfect. Having the opportunity to do this in Malta is amazing and you always race in pairs, making it even more fun.
At Mr Green, environmental initiatives are always at the forefront of the mind, how does the partnership with ÖTILLÖ and the push for a cleaner ocean fit in with Mr Green’s overall business practice and brand?
Our ‘Clean the Ocean’ initiative is what first drew our attention to sponsoring ÖTILLÖ. We share the same vision about how important it is to start acting to save the ocean. Soon we will have more plastic than fish in our waters – that’s a terrible development and not something I want to hand over to my kids.
We are not sponsoring ÖTILLÖ to increase our players but, to spread awareness of a major problem that faces all of us. It started with our ‘Clean the Ocean’ initiative where we have been picking up hundreds of Kilograms of plastic floating around Malta, and then our ‘White Flag’ initiative where we have sponsored a full clean-up of Golden Bay, Malta’s most famous beach and, now this with ÖTILLÖ.
What is the future for swimrun as a sport, do you believe it will grow alongside its partnership with Mr Green?
Swimrun is one of the fastest growing sports right now. Mr Green is also growing fast with continuous improvement to product and our user experience. Our target this year is to grow by 40%. So, from that perspective I think it is a perfect match as well.
What’s the next step for Mr Green and the clean the ocean initiative?
We have some cool ideas but right now we are focusing on clearing plastic from the waters around Malta. Also, White Flagging Gozo together with the iGaming industry and, the ÖtillÖ sponsorship.
We have some cool plans coming up. Cleaning the ocean is a mega project and we need to find the areas where we can make a difference.
For more information on Mr Green’s environmental initiatives watch this space! You can also read about how Got Mr Green employees are working tirelessly to clear the Maltese waters from plastic debris in our post ‘Got a Plan(et) B?‘ as well as our post on our ‘Clean the Ocean‘ initiative.
Do you want to work for an epic company that not only cares for its employees but also its planet? Then check out Mr Green’s Careers page today for a greener tomorrow.