FAQ: Answers to common questions

General questions

Is this event for me? I train a lot but this sounds a little extreme?!

Your body can manage a lot more than you think! Challenge your mental barriers and dare to trust your body’s physical abilities; it will surprise you. Every year the finishing area is filled with tired, happy and proud participants who have completely surpassed their own expectations. The only thing that is "extreme" about ÅEC is that you combine a fantastic nature experience with a tough physical challenge.

You decide the level that fits best. Choose solo class (RIVER or LAKE class) if you want to do the challenge alone, duo class if you want to compete with a partner. Maybe you like adventures but don’t want to do all three disciplines yourself? Then you should choose the team relay class and divide the course between a team of three. Read more here.

Rent a bike and a kayak. Go on a basic kayaking course. Take an extra loop on a rugged running trail at home. If you are prepared for each stage, it doesn’t have to be extreme in any other way than having extreme fun!

Do you need volunteers?

Yes! The event organisers need lots of happy, positive volunteers. If you are interested, email sara@areextremechallenge.se.

Is this something I can take my family to?

Absolutely! There are lots of activities for everyone in the family before, during and after the event. Don't miss that multisport even for kids. Read more here.

On race day (Saturday) the family can come along and support you. Being cheered along at the transition areas is always a good thing! Just make sure you get some time to yourself to prepare for the event too. 

Training and preparation

How can I get help with a training program?

There are several possibilities. Read more here.

How can I find others to train with? Are there any organised training groups?

Many towns and cities have a multisport club – check on Facebook or ask runners, kayakers and mountain bikers in your town. If there isn’t a multisport club near you, try to find training partners at your local running, biking or kayaking club. Read more about multisport in Sweden here (in Swedish).  You can also look for a teammate for the race here.

What does a typical training week look like for a typical ÅEC participant?

There is no typical ÅEC participant! How much and what you train depends on your goals for the event.  3-4 training sessions per week in the included disciplines will be enough to get you over the finish line. Try to find a long hill you can bike and run up and do longer training sessions on the weekends. You can enhance your sessions by adding a biking session to your run. You can even do this in the gym in the winter. Bike or run to work – find training times that suit you and your life situation. Try simulating parts of the competition: i.e., run for 20-30 minutes right after a kayaking session, or take your bike out right after a run.

I have never kayaked before – how do I get started? how much do I need to train?

It is a good idea to join a kayaking club first and give it a try: don’t buy a kayak before you know if it is something for you. Try a few different models to find out what kind of kayak suits you best. Try to get going with your kayaking in April and kayak 1-3 times each week in May and June.

Are there any events I can do before ÅEC?

Yes! There are quite a few similar multisport events. Read more about Swedish races here (in Swedish).

How can I rent a kayak and/or a bike for the event?

 Here you can find lots of information about where you can rent equipment.

Are there prizes?

ÅEC is well known for its fantastic prizes! We also have bonus prizes, such as “fastest runner uphill” and “fastest biker downhill”. Read more in our race memo.

My team member is injured and we want to add a new person to our team – what do we do?

Send in your new team member’s information and we’ll make the change. Send a message to info@race.se

The course - General

What does the course look like?

Take a look at the map and course description here.

How long does each section take?


  • Kayaking (18/25 km): 1.50 - 3.00.
  • Running (15 km) 1.40 - 3.30
  • Mountain biking (32 km) 2.00 - 4.30.

The weather conditions (wind, water levels and amount of snow) affect the event so times vary from year to year. The event has a generous cut-off time - within 7-8 hours of starting you need to transition to your bike (at Huså) for the final stage of the race. The finishing area stays open until everyone has crossed the line.

Do I need a support crew?

Many participants have family and friends cheering them on and helping in the transition areas (along the course, only cheering is permitted). This is helpful and fun but it isn’t necessary. The race organization can transport kayaks, bikes and participants to the right places along the course (including transporting running gear from Huså transition back to Åre after the race). Read more about how to book transport and what it costs here.

Is there any orienteering involved?

A compass and map are mandatory, and you have to be able to find the way yourself. But the trail is well marked the whole way – if you keep a look out for the special race ribbons, you shouldn’t go wrong!

What happens in the transition areas?

There are two transitions – one from paddling to running (in Åre) and one from running to biking (in Huså). The elite athletes take less than a minute to transition, while other participants take a little more time and even take the opportunity to change clothes etc. Plan your transitions in advance: What will do I need to wear? Will I need to eat? Plan for mountain weather – it can be tricky!  If you're lucky Mt. Åreskutan can have summer temperatures, but then again it could be snowing...

What should I eat during the event? and when?

Remember to refill your energy stores continuously throughout the day. DO NOT test new products on event day! Decide before you start when you will eat, either according to the time (e.g. every 30 minutes) or in certain places (e.g. the top of trail). If you don’t plan ahead about when to eat, chances are you will eat too little.

Helpful hints: energy bars and gels, almond paste, chips, dried fruit, baked sweet potatoes with coconut oil and cinnamon (yes, really!), brownies, etc. And don’t forget to get some salt in you too. When you are kayaking you can “drink” calories by having a hydration system in you life jacket (filled with sports drink or honey water). Remember to eat/drink right from the start: it will be a long day. Eat when you are going downhill (both for the running and the biking) because when you’re going uphill you are working too hard and it’s difficult to eat when your pulse is high.

What kind of Logistics do I need to think about on event day?

There are lots of helpful hints you can get here, e.g. take two big plastic containers with you to keep everything dry in the transition areas.

The course - Kayaking

How difficult are the whitewater rapids for the RIVER CLASS? How can I train for them?

First of all this question is only relevant for the RIVER CLASS, not the LAKE CLASS.

Most people are nervous about the rapids, but remember that they are really fun! They are Class 2, which means they are a little more than fast flowing water.  Stones and other obstacles can be present. You need to be able to maneuver your kayak to be able to get down the river relatively dry. If you don’t have any rapids near where you live, go kayaking on a lake when it’s really windy. Practice kayaking with the waves coming in from the side, this is good practice. Participants in the RIVER CLASS must complete a three-hour whitewater assessment for Class I and II paddling and have a certificate to prove this, alternatively email us and motivate why your whitewater experience is so extensive that you don't need the assessment. We strongly recommend that first time whitewater paddlers attend an eight-hour whitewater kayaking course, but this is optional. Read more here.  

Do I have to carry my kayak in the event?

Yes! There are two portages in the RIVER CLASS and one in LAKE CLASSES. All participants must be able to carry their kayak themselves out of the water at the end of the course and leave it where indicated. All portages are about 300-500 metres.

What should I wear for the kayaking section?

The water can be cold which you should take into consideration when deciding what to wear. Do you get cold easily? Take more clothes! Some people kayak in wetsuits, but remember that even if the water is cold, the air temperature can be warm. It can be a difficult decision, you know yourself what will work best for you. For those of you paddling on a surfski, remember to keep your legs warm as they’ll get wet. Don’t worry too much about what the elite athletes are wearing, think about what works for you.

NOTE - if the river levels are high the race organization may require that participants carry extra clothes. We will inform the week before the race. Read more here

Can I use a climbing helmet for the kayaking section?

No, you cannot use a climbing helmet for the kayaking section. Approved helmets are those designed for whitewater kayaking and hockey helmets. Read more here under rules.

Can I use a whitewater kayaking life jacket and helmet bought outside Sweden that are up to the safety standards but are not "CE" marked?

Yes, you can use this equipment as long as it is up to European standards.

Is the Duo class allowed to "tow" (pull) the slower teammate?

Yes, you can do this on all sections, but not during the kayak start, which is dangerous.

What is counted as a floating device for kayaks for the kayaking section? 

The floating device/watertight bulkheads are so your kayak won’t sink if it becomes filled with water. NOTE – this is not required for surfskis. Read more under rules.

Do you have to have both a spray skirt and a towing eyes (loop) on your kayak, even for LAKE CLASSES?

Yes for participants that use kayaks. However, towing eyes (loop) is recommended but not required for surfskis. Read more under rules.

What is a towing eye (loop)? Should it be at the front or the rear of the kayak?

There has to be a towing eye (or a loop) mounted on your kayak so that the kayak safety team can use this to tow your boat. As stated in the rules, it must be in the front and also in the rear of the kayak.  NOTE – Although required for kayaks, it is only recommended for Surfskis. Read more under rules. 

The Course - Running

How technical is the trail?

The running section is primarily on mountain trails but at the top of Mt Åreskutan you will be running over boulders (and possibly snow). Some sections on the way up are very steep – most participants use trekking poles (see below). Descending the  first 250 vertical meters after passing over the top, the route is technical and steep. But it quickly becomes less steep and makes for easier running. It is 5.5 km and 1000 vertical metres up and 10 km and the same amount of vertical metres down the other side. Your training should include trail running in steep terrain! Helpful hint: tie your shoes tightly so they don’t get left behind in the wet swampy sections.

What should I wear for the running section?

In addition to the mandatory equipment (see rules) most participants have trekking poles. They can be really helpful when it is steep, both for running up and down, so remember to practice using them before you come to Åre. Test different hydration belts and backpacks with hydration systems, make sure you have good shoes and think about wearing a cap or visor – the sun can be strong in Jämtland in the summer.

The course – Mountain Biking

How technical is the trail?

The majority of the trail isn’t particularly technical. There can be places where you need to get off your bike though, in some cases because it’s steep and in other cases because it’s a  wet swamp. In addition to trails there are also gravel roads. Your training should include both single-track trails and steep climbs!

* Can’t find the answer to your question? Mail scott@areextremechallenge.se