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Endurance Ed

 By: Torsten Gabrielsson, Tentipi


Ed Wright is Sales Director for our Event Tent range in English-speaking countries outside of UK & Ireland.

He's just returned from his latest endurance event - the Ötillö Swimrun Utö 2017 in Sweden.


Ed's Endurance Record

    Ed finishing Ironman 400px

Devon off road marathon 2014 


26.2 miles / 41.8km

Ironman 70.3 Exmoor 2015 


70.3 miles / 113.1km 

Challenge 70.3 Weymouth 2015 


70.3 miles / 113.1km 

Ironman Boulder 70.3 2016 


70.3 miles / 113.1km 

Ötillö Swimrun Isles of Scilly 2016


 23.3 miles / 37.5 km

Ironman Wales 2016


140 miles / 225.3km 

Ötillö Swimrun Utö 2017


26.5 miles / 42.8km



Swimrun has rapidly grown to be one of the most popular challenges amongst adventure sports fanatics. This marathon-like race originates from the archipelago of Stockholm, Sweden where the Ötillö Swimrun World Championships is held each year (yes, there is actually a World Series for these events!). Being a producer of outdoor products, of which some require a good portion of physical strength to build, Tentipi of course hosts a few athletes within the organization. Of whom UK-based Ed Wright is perhaps the most notorious.267 teams ready to run and swim a total of 42

"I’ve got the bug. After my first swimrun, which was on the Isles of Scilly in 2016 I was bitten. It’s just amazing!" Ed's a huge fan of triathlons and other physically demanding endurance sports.

When I first met Ed at a company conference in Sweden in the fall of 2016, it was only minutes until we put our titles aside and started talking about the real matters in life – running. Being a long-distance runner myself, with the Swedish taiga as my home turf, I was thrilled to find a like-minded colleague. After discussing pacing techniques, terrain preferences and the mandatory barefoot vs. regular shoes topic, we got into the latest trend – swimrun.

Founded by a couple of islanders in the Swedish archipelago outside of Stockholm back in 2006, the first incarnation of this extreme challenge includes running over 37 kilometres through forests and over cliffs, and swimming a total of 5165 metres between islands in the Baltic sea. Being an archipelago, you run over an island, then plunge into the sea, then up on another island and so on. The total distance adds up to 42 820 metres, more than a marathon! This endurance phenomenon has now spread and the World Series, called Ötillö (Swedish for ‘island to island’) is now hosted in several locations around Europe, including the Swiss Alps, Isles of Scilly in UK, and the Mediterranean Sea off Croatia.

IMG 0876"It’s tough. The running was all off-road with more woodland trails and rock hopping than I was prepared for. On the last 15 km I got cramp in my leg and I was worried it would slow us down enough to not make it before the last time cut off, but we did!" Ed says when I reach him for video chat, two days after completing his second swimrun, the Ötillö Swimrun Utö May 2017.

"I think the thing that got me the most at this race was the wonderful smell, running through all this woodland. Because you’re running, your senses are kind of enhanced and you could just smell everything, trees, grass… But also, this being a swimrun in the Baltic Sea, I had expected the water to be salty, but it tasted almost like freshwater."

So, how did it go? "We did okay. Our time was 6 hours and 36 minutes, the winning team came in on 4 hours 11 minutes, haha! Crazy! We were 146th out of 208 finishes, it was a tough day but we loved every minute of it."

‘We’ in this case is Ed and his swimrun partner Jon Irwin, who teamed up for this challenge. One of the ideas behind the Ötillö swimruns is that you compete in teams of two and you must never be more than three metres away from your partner, which makes it a social experience but also adds a safety to the swimming in the cold water.

"Some of the teams have a cord connecting them, but Jon and I didn’t. We just made sure to be within distance all the time."

Jon was the one that inspired Ed to start with endurance sports in the first place. But it was a change in Ed’s professional career about ten years ago that is the main reason why he found himself in wetsuit and goggles on the Baltic Sea shore with a cramp in his leg this sunny day in May

"After finishing my degree in geography, I worked in sales and marketing for an electronics company. I loved it, but after 16 years I felt it was time to try something new. I was head hunted to another company, but it wasn’t really my thing so the search went on."

Hesitating to get in the water can cost you precious minutesOne day Ed and his wife Donna went to a country fair where they saw a Tentipi tent. They talked to the exhibitor and he showed them a map of where in the UK to hire. The West Country of England, which is home to Ed and Donna, was an empty slot. "I had a desire to start my own company, to be my own boss. I could see potential in the product. No-one had seen anything like in the West Country, and I could tell there would be a demand." So Ed called up the UK distributor of Tentipi, Jon Parr and in April 2008 five Stratus 72 and a Cirrus 40 were delivered and thus the birth of West Country’s first Tentipi rental company, World Inspired Tents. "It was crazy! We had a small team of four people, including my Dad, building tents the whole season. Donna was working daytime at another company, so we’d come home in the evenings after full days of work and do quotations, invoices, and paperwork. It was hard work, but we loved it!"

And there was a demand! First year in business they bought another Stratus 72 to make six in total, next year on to nine, then eleven. As the business grew, so did the family. Ed and Donna had their first child the year after they started World Inspired Tents, then another one. Needless to say, there wasn’t much time for anything other than work and family. "Growing up on the coast I had always been a windsurfer. That was my number one sport, I had done it for over twenty years. But windsurfing depends on the wind, of course. I’d be out building tents all day, missing the good winds. And when I had some time off usually the weather was calm. Soon I couldn’t call myself a windsurfer anymore." 

In 2012 Ed took his family to Wales to support his friend Jon Irwin when competing at an Ironman race. It was this challenge that inspired him to take up endurance racing with the aim of working towards a full distance Ironman. "I thought it was perfect! It was cycling, running and swimming. Unlike the windsurfing, now when I had an hour to spare I could just jump on the bike or get my running shoes on. I didn’t have to wait for the right winds or get a ton of gear prepared to do it."

Jon and Ed in hand paddles goggles and wetsuitEd started training and in July 2015 he did a half Ironman, which is a 1.9 km swim followed by a 90 km bike ride and ending with a 21.1 km run. A total of 113 km. "I completed my first full Ironman in Wales last September. In many ways it was the end of a 4 year journey because up to that point I’d no idea if I was capable of completing a 3.9km swim a 180km bike ride followed by 42km marathon, all in a time limit of 17 hours. I finished in 13 hours 23 minutes, realising Ironman’s message that ‘Anything Is Possible’.

"Ironman is my main sport, so all my training is focused on Ironman Copenhagen this August. The Ötillö Swimrun Utö was the first competition I did this year and it’s a great practice for the Ironman. I was thinking, five hours into the race, ‘gosh, this is tough, this is as tough as the Ironman."

Another thing about the Ötillö Swimrun Utö is that the island of Utö is located in Sweden, meaning the sea around it freezes in wintertime. This spring saw some really cold weather and Stockholm even had snow as late as in end of April, only a couple of weeks before the race. However, the weekend of the race the sun came back and a heat wave of 25°C hit Scandinavia.

"Running wearing a wetsuit, you get really hot andA well deserved custom Otillo brew after the race your legs get tired.But then you enter the sea and you have a couple of hundred metre swim and it lets your legs recover. So I’m okay with the cold water, I have a little bit of fat for warmth, ha ha! But my friend Jon, he’s really fit and lean. He was dreading the swims."

"I’m definitely going back to Utö next year. My ambition is to take an hour off the time." In Ed’s training he’s actually been doing proper swimruns. Living by the sea, he and his endurance partner Jon has been running by the shore, jumping in, swimming, then back up running again. And it taught him a great trick that helps him cut minutes. "Some of the guys at the swimrun would stop on the shore, adjusting their wetsuit, putting on their goggles. It’d take them at least a minute each time. Being a race where you enter the water about 17 times, you’ll lose almost twenty minutes... or more!"

A swimrun trick is to prepare your gear while running, so when you get to the water you dive straight in and start swimming.

"We practice this back home, we run close to the shore and after a couple of kilometres I’d say to Jon okay, ‘in two hundred metres we dive in’ and we start preparing ourselves."

"Cutting one hour off the time for next year’s Ötillö is a high ambition. But now when I’m familiar with the terrain I’ll do more cross country running and running through forests and woods. Some parts of the race were off road, through the woods, in the trees, trails, tracks, down over rocks, hands and knees climbing. I wasn’t prepared for any of these, so I’ll do more such training before next year. I should at least get 45 minutes off the time for next year."

If you are curious about swimruns, have a look at the official Ötillö webpage for inspiration