What happens when you put an Aussie (Julian Dent), a Norweigan (Oystein Kvaal Osterbo), an Irishman (Nicolas Simonin), a Finn (Marten Bostrom) and a Swede (Fredrik Bakkman) together?
The winning team for Swedish Orienteering Club– IFK Lindingo SOK in the relay Smalandskavlen which was held on the weekend near Jonkoping, Sweden. This relay for H21 consists of five legs, two at night and then three starting the next morning in daylight. There were teams from all the biggest clubs in Sweden as well as from Norway and Finland entered in this relay. IFK Lindingo has won this event for the past three years.
Apart from Julian being in the winning team this year there is another Australian connection with IFK Lindingo as Bryan Keely and Laurina Neumann who are both living and working in Stockholm are also competing with this club and were in the second team for H21 and D21.
Julian who is focusing on night orienteering was selected to run the first leg which is a mass start leg of approximately 10km with forking. He ran a very steady race (65:19) and was in 6th place 27 seconds down on third place. Olav Lundanes was running first for Halden SK and he was the fastest in a time of 59:25. After the second night leg the Lindingo team was in 9th place, 5:58 minutes down on the leaders OK Denseln. Lindingo took the lead at the end of the first day leg, with Nicolas Simonin being the fastest on this leg to put the team in the lead by 25 seconds. With Marten Bostrom and Fredrik Bakkman on the next two legs the team had two WOC representatives for their country. Marten had a very good run to extend the lead to over 4 minutes to the Finnish club Tampereen Pyrinto. Fredrik after a small problem early managed to hold on for a comfortable win by 3:12 from Malungs who finished 2nd by one second to Tampereen Pyrinto.
Relays are a very important part of the orienteering calendar in Sweden and clubs place a lot of importance on their performances in these relays. As reported earlier in the year the biggest relay of the year in Sweden in Tiomila with close to 300 mens teams of ten runners and 300 womens teams of five runners. There are no age classes for this relay just men or women teams. Lindingo had a very good performance in this relay also with the team finishing in 4th place after being in the lead after 9 legs. Julian ran the second night leg and the team was in 15th place after his run less than 1 minute behind the leading team. With 10 legs it is crucial that each runner has a steady run and this enabled the Lindingo team to gradually improve their position to be second on leg 8 and first on leg 9.
Two weekends ago the 25 Manna relay was held. This is a relay for all ages in the club and has 25 legs with different distances and different ages and sex running each leg (see table).
25 Manna- legs, length and who can participate
|Leg||No of Runners||Course Length||Right to Participate|
|4||4||2.5km||No W19-39, M15-54|
|23||1||3.9km||No W19-34, No M15-49|
With legs 4-7, four runners run at the same time and their times are all added together to calculate the total team time.
Lindingo won this relay in 2014 and so were hoping for a repeat in 2015. This was not to be, but they did finish in 3rd place only 1:48 down on the winning team after 25 legs. The winning team this year was Halden SK (Norway) and one of the third leg runners was Lizzie Ingham the ex Canberra Cockatoo who is now living and training in Norway with Halden SK one of the strongest clubs in Scandanavia.
Maybe there is something in the structure and approach to relays from Sweden and Finland that Australia could adopt to resurrect the interest in relays in this country.