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Jukola 2013 in Jämsä, Finland

Photos: Rick McGregor

IFK Kiruna has had a team in the Jukola relay every year since 2006. 2013 was no exception, even if we did have to borrow one runner each from Boden and Övertorneå.

The journey started with a car trip from Kiruna, Skellefteå, Boden and Övertorneå to the railway station in Kemi, Finland.

After a train trip of about 7 hours, with changes in Oulu and Tampere, the seven of us arrived at Jämsä, near Jyväskylä, and caught a taxi the final 6 km to the event centre at Myllymäki.

As usual the organisers had put a lot of work into building up the event centre for some 1600 seven-man teams in Jukola, some 1200 four-woman teams in the Venla relay, and all the spectators.

We had hired an army tent to stay in, along with many other clubs from Finland, Sweden, Norway and other parts of Europe. There was even an Australian team...

Feeding so many people for 24 hours takes some doing - plenty of space for people to queue up during the busy periods.

We were up early enough to get breakfast before it got too crowded.

Micke, Mats, Henry and I went for a run on the model map area, to get a feel for the terrain and the course setting.

When we got back we could follow the women's relay, Venla, which started at 2 pm on Saturday.

Lots of maps waiting for the runners.

So a pointswoman was needed to direct the incoming runner to the right row of maps.

Finishers on earlier legs of the Venla relay.

First home after the fourth and final leg was OK Pan-Århus from Denmark.

The men's relay, Jukola, started at 11 pm on Saturday night, so there were a few hours to fill in.

Mats, Henry and Micke get ready to run the night legs of the relay.

It was impressive watching over 1600 runners waiting for the start signal.
(Short video sequence)

They're off in a blaze of headlamps into the forest...
(A short video sequence from the start)

Mats psyching up to run the 3rd leg, the "long night leg".

By the time I was due to run the 5th leg the sun was up - no need for a headlamp!

Erik just back from running the 6th leg.

Conny approaching the finish at the end of the 7th and last leg.

He punches the electronic unit and we finish in 606th place, only (!) 4 hrs 23 mins behind the winners, Kalevan Rasti from Finland.

Post-race analysis is a big part of the fun of orienteering.

The map with my course on it.

So that we would know what time to wake up and get ready for our run, we tried to work out how long our legs would take. Most of us were pretty close to our estimates, and we were a little ahead of schedule when Conny went out on leg 7.

We had time to rest up back at the tent for a few hours...

...before it was time to catch a bus back to the Jämsä railway station for the trip back to Tampere and Kemi.

Relaxing in the restaurant carriage on the train from Tampere to Kemi.

Just as well we didn't have any juniors with us, otherwise we wouldn't have been able to have a beer on the train home.

Actually Erik was the only team member who isn't a veteran.

The IFK Kiruna Jukola team, from left:
Kjell Sandström (borrowed from Bodens BK, leg 4), Rick McGregor (leg 5), Erik Johansson (leg 6), Henry Barsk (borrowed from Övertorneå, leg 2), Conny Nilimaa (leg 7), Mats Luspa (leg 3) and Micke Lindmark (leg 1).

Our results

Updated: 2013-07-04,