Thinking about the Isles Of Scilly Otillo?

Team Sea Swim Cornwall (myself and business partner) competed in the Isles Of Scilly Otillo in 2017. A 40km run-swim-run-swim-run…event around 3 of the islands. Whilst Joe has competed in a number of distance, endurance events I come from a background of specialising in short distance pool swimming and waterpolo, so this was my first endurance event, at the ripe old age of 35.

We finished in 7th place in the mens category, which we were both very pleased with. Especially as there were times in the race I wasn’t sure if I’d finish at all. We really wanted cool, windy, choppy conditions during the event and got the flattest, calmest, hottest day we could have imagined. I don’t do heat!

Below I’ll list my observations from the race and hopefully some of you will find this info useful if you’re thinking of entering.


·             Racers & finishers. In this event you seemed to have pairs that went hard and really pushed for a great time. You also had teams that went to make the finish and enjoy the experience. If you fall into the ‘Finishers’ category just make sure you swim hard. Most of the people that drop out do so because of the cold.

·             Feed Stations. Learn the course. Running the back of St Martin was hell. I had moments where I overheated and started seeing black spots. So make sure you really fuel up at the appropriate feed stations.

·             Food. The Lemon Drizzle cake was awesome. Don’t miss out! At one point I ate some Liquorice and nearly spewed. Be carefully what you eat.

·             The Course. I spent a lot of time run training on shingle and sand in preparation for the race. If the course remains the same, there is very little shingle and sand! Mainly coastal paths. There are also some very steep inclines so train accordingly.

·             Tactics. Figure out your tactics and train accordingly. We never tethered and didn’t want to but I’m a swimmer and Joe is a runner. On reflection it could have been really useful. You can always take a tether and wrap it around your waste. I’d rather have it and not use it than the other way around.

·             Swim fins vs hand paddles. We went with fins thinking it would be choppy. It wasn’t. Could be an idea to take both and call it on the day.

·             Pacing. There will be moments where you’re close to death (very dramatic), learn to take it easy during these sections, maybe wait for the next feed station. Work as a team because at some point you’ll both struggle.

·             Googles. I bought a new pair of goggles for the event. Tried them out once in the pool beforehand. They didn’t fog for the entire race. I also took a spare pair and stuck them in the pocket of my wetsuit.

·             Wetsuit. We’re lucky enough to live near the Snugg Wetsuit shop and factory. I love Snugg wetsuits, always been a fan. The SwimRun suit they make is however, on another level! I rarely wear my long Snugg suit now as the SwimRun suit is so comfortable….it basically doesn’t feel like you’re wearing a wetsuit at all. If you don’t live in Cornwall they do have a measurement guide online and they often attend trade shows where you can get measured up.

·             Sprint Event. I never realised until the Sunday that there’s a 20km sprint event! For those of you not too keen on the 40 or so km on the Saturday.

·             Transitions. There are plenty of them. Make sure you know what you’re doing and you’ve spent time practising.

Any specific question feel free to get in touch.