That was possibly the most nervous I have ever been before an orienteering race. My first ever Tiomila. Running first leg for Pan Århus. The minutes being counted down before the start felt like an eternity. Finally we had the call ’15 seconds’ then only 4 or 5 seconds later the gun went off. With one big ‘BANG’ I had 400 guys prematurely coming up my ass (in a totally hetrosexual way). The first kilometre was a blur to me, partially due to post traumatic stress but also from the intense speed. All I could hear were airhorns and people screaming. I just had to concentrate on not falling down and not getting stuck in the bottle neck of the start chute. (It’s hard to put the 10mila start experience into words. This video from last years 10mila captures it pretty well – you have to skip through to about 10min though).
The first leg was a nice long one. I chose to take the track all the way around to the right. I came into the first control at the front of my group. We had been fanging it the whole way. I was a couple of seconds behind a few guys who had gone a bit straighter. I finally started to relax as I thought I had got into a good position for the rest of the race. As we crossed the main road again I realised I was wrong. I was a little demoralised to see 30 or 40 odd runners infront of us. They had had a much shorter forking on the first. The next control was a mess for me. I think I just got caught up in they mayhem of so many people pushing throught the marsh that I forgot to read my map. I came to the wrong split. I stood there for half a minute trying to work out where I was. It was pretty hard with lights heading in every direction. I headed back to the stone wall that I didn’t remember crossing and I clicked. I had lost 2 minutes atleast.
The rest of the course I was just running so fast trying to pass people when there was room. At the first radio control I had caught up to 109th place, just over 2mins behind the leaders. At the 4th radio after 10km I had crawled up to 39th place only 49sec behind the leaders. At night in the Swedish forest I had no idea how far I was behind. My only indicator was that it was becoming harder and harder to pass people. On the way to my 21st control I ran past the other split control (#50) just as the lead group had come out of it. Unfortunately my next 2 forkings were long ones. I lost close to a minute on the 22nd control from route choice and then missing the control. I should’ve stayed left to avoid the marsh like I had planned, but I got dragged down there by some lights who had another split. The second to last control was a 1min nightmare aswell. I should’ve avoided the green stripes. It was extremely rough. I just got stuck behind some guys and we were all hardly moving. I passed a couple of guys in the finish to come in in 54th, 4min16sec down from first place.
I was a little disappointed with my run at first. But looking at it afterwards I realised it wasn’t too bad. I had all of the longer forkings except for the second control, but I had decided to go to the longer one anyway!! I also made up alot of time on the leaders. I was 3rd fastest on my forkings
. Minus my mistake at the second I would have been fastest. I think with my lack of experience in night orienteering, and in Swedish terrain, I can safely say it was a very good run.
Our team did quite well throughout the rest of the relay. Flemming Jørgensen ran well on second leg bringing our team up to 37th place. Rasmus Kragh bumped our team up to 31st place after running well on the 18km night leg with no forkings. It was a little bit downhill from there. We finished in 50th place in the end. First Danish team!! 2 places ahead of Spring Cup OK. Not as good as our 30th place last year. But top 50 is still really good 🙂