(A report from Toph who is training in Sweden)
One could ask why someone would pack their bags for 3 months, spend 26 hours straight of traveling and arrive in a country where there is no chance of going for a run without getting your feet wet. Well on Monday the 28th of April that’s what I did, I boarded a plane bound for Stockholm.
When I arrive in Stockholm my first stop was Lidingö Island, the home of the Swedish club IFK Lidingö OK, the club that Bendigo’s own Evan Barr runs for. On arrive at Evan’s house in Lidingö, the ‘Toorak’ area of Stockholm, I was greeted at the door by a Italian, soon I meet a Norwegain, Hugarian, Irish man and then Evan came home from work. Soon I found out that this yellow, house full of some of the best orienteers from around the world was famous though out Sweden due to an article in a recent edition of the ‘Skogssport’ magazine. So after a catch up with Evan, a couple of runs and a snow storm it was time to move on because Tiomila was fast approaching.
Tiomila or 10mila, is a 10 man relay that is held around the start of May every year, is the biggest relay in Sweden and it was the first race on my list. I had found out just before that I left Australia that I would be running the 15.6km 9th leg for my club OK Norlaskogsarna. Whether this was a great choice for someone that hadn’t been to Sweden for 8 years remained to be seen. Running the 9th leg of the relay meant that I was going to be able to get a good night sleep. Getting to sleep though was made a bit harder as Australian Julian Dent ran his team IFK Lidingö OK into the lead at the end of the second leg. Needless to say that I was a little be excited to see how the race went throughout the night, but off to sleep I went. 5am or so I was up to watch the end of the race where Julian’s team came in second (watch video below), then not long later I took off for my run which involved a map that was A2 in size which I could have used it as a small blanket on the deceptively cold sunny morning.
Next stop was Sävedalen, a suburb of Göteborg. Where I would catch up with yet another Bendigo local, Leon Keely. Still struggling with a knee injury from Easter I proceeded to enjoy some pool running at the local pool, this wasn’t too bad as the weather for the week was pretty average. When I did get outside it wasn’t long before I was put through the paces of navigating in Swedish terrain on a contour only map! 3 controls in I was thinking ‘yeah this is going aright’, control 4 was another story as you can see from the gps tracks.
That leads me to where I am now, Örnsköldsvik, the home of my club and also where our Australian WOC team coach, Tom Quayle, lives. While here I have just been training, helping put out controls for club event, and trying to get used to the northern Sweden mapping style, which consistently baffles me time and time again. The mapping style here is quite different due to the huge amounts of rocks on the map is definitely not representative of what is on the ground, and this is weird, real weird. Never the less we push on and keep learning.
So where to from here you might ask? Early June I head to Norway for some World Cup races, before heading to Finland for Jukola (Finland’s biggest relay), then off to Italy for some preparation for the World Champs incase one of the other blokes decided to hurt them self.
Anyway in the words of the Swedish hejdå!
PS. Wet/Dry feet run count.
In the forest: Too Many vs 1 (the run was on the top of a hill and it hadn’t rained for a few days)
On the forest tracks: about half/half
On the road: Boring who would do that!
Sunny/cloudy/wet, rainy/snowy days: 5/7/14/1 at best estimate!