Photo: The Belgian runner Yannick Michiels (right of photo, in TuMe's white) is at the front of the 2019 TioMila start (credit: TioMila Facebook)
The TioMila overnight relay in Skåne, the southern tip of Sweden. took place in almost continuous rain this weekend 27-28th April. The Damkavlen was won by Tampereen Pyrintö. The overnight TioMila race was again won by IFK Göteborg with an extremely impressive all round performance.
Many British runners took part for the teams of their Scandinavian clubs. The best placed was Graham Gristwood, who ran in Kalevan Rasti's team who came fourth.
Compared to TioMila, the Jukola and Venla Relays in Finland later in the year have a larger attendance and are more popular with non-Scandinavian clubs. Perhaps this is because it is usually warmer, there is much less darkness for the overnight ("men's") relay, and teams needing fewer runners mean they are easier to fill out. Nevertheless almost all of the world's top runners run at TioMila (for example 19 of the world's top 20 ranked men were running), and high positions at Tiomila are extremely prestigious and amongst the highlights of many orienteers' careers. As well as the overall team position there is also interest to be first back at the end of a leg, particularly the first one and the "long night" (this year leg 4). Flames flare either side of the bridge as the first runner crosses it into the finish!
There was full coverage with English commentary on Internet TV.
The legs were: 7.3km 6.2km 9.8km(unforked) 4.2km 8.5km.
308 teams completed.
It was not difficult before the race to note the strength of the eventual winners Tampereen Pyrintö. It was much harder to predict that none of the other teams would have kept up with them by the end of the long unforked third leg. as the young Swiss star Simona Aebersold established a lead. The commentators decided maybe it wasn't so easy to follow in this bouldery terrain after all.
On the last two legs Finnish National team runners Saila Kinni and Venla Harju, both of whom missed last year's race as they had breaks to give birth, kept the lead. The Russian Natalia Gemperle, running the last leg for Alfta-Ösa OK, ran fast on the last leg to come second, but had started too far behind to challenge for the win.
|Jo Shepherd -||Leg 3 for Halden SK 2 who were 23rd|
|Grace Molloy -||Leg 2 for Kalevan Rasti who were 33rd|
|Charlotte Watson -||Leg 5 for Lillomarka OL who were 43rd|
|Fiona Bunn -||Leg 1 for Södertälje-Nykvarn who were 52nd|
|Cecilie Andersen -||Leg 5 for IFK Lidingö 3 who were 59th|
|Megan Carter-Davies -||Leg 5 for Rajamäen Rykmentti who were 66th|
|Cat Taylor -||Leg 2 for OK Södertörn who were 67th|
|Jess Halliday -||Leg 1 for Domnarvets who were 70th|
|Fay Walsh -||Leg 1 for OK Linné 2 who were 123rd|
Legs: 12.2km 11.7km 5.9km 17.7 (long night unforked), 11.1km 10.2km 8.7km, 11.9km 5.1km 13.8km.
267 teams completed.
Leg 1 was at dusk, and it stayed dark for the leading teams into the short leg 9; indeed Max Peter-Bejmer, the final leg runner for the winners, ran the first half of his leg with a headlamp to assist reading the map.
All three squad members running Leg 1 (Will, Peter, Jonny) showed near the front, with Jonny remarkably taking his own route at one stage (it worked OK) - naturally the topic of the first question in the post-race TV interview. Will was back eighth on this leg - he later wrote "Handed over to Hector and job done." Jonny was 17th and Peter 21st and so for them it was "job done" too.
As with the women's race legs were finishing on a bouldered hill with many gaffled controls and this was proving the most difficult part of the courses for most runners: many lost time here.
It turned out that for the men at night following even in the bouldery terrain was fine. At the start of the long night (4th leg) at the front a few runners waited for IFK Göteborg's Fredrik Bakkman to form the first group, and they were quite soon caught by another small group led by Rassmus Andersson of OK Linné - who had run so well on his own on this leg last year. The next pack was led by Koovee's Oleksandr Kratov, one of the most renowned "locomotives" - one year he wore a plain black shirt but it made no difference, everyone still followed him. There was some discussion as to whether it could have been better for the eventual second-placed team to have had Kratov run later, when his supreme skill as a night runner might have made more difference? Göteborg for example had their top night runner Johan Högstrand on the ungaffled leg 5 where he established a significant lead on all but one other team. Make up your own mind, and talk about it through next winter.
By the end of the long night Kratov's train had caught the Bakkman/Andersson one, and so 17 teams finished the leg roughly together, give or a take a minute or so where fatigue had caught up with a few. This train included both Duncan Coombs and Ali McLeod. It had included Chris Smithard until he twisted an ankle and was unable to sustain the pace.The next team after this group, the 18th team, was nearly nine minutes down on first-over-the-line Bakkman.
Six legs later at the end of the race, 13 of those 17 teams who "caught the Kratov train" finished in the top 20, and the highest placed team who "missed it" was 11th.
And then on the succeeding night legs IFK Göteborg did as they did last year. They established a lead. They extended and stabilised the lead. And by the time dawn came and the world's best runners such as Olav Lundanes, Daniel Hubmann, and Matthias Kyburz ran they could only claim a few minutes, and steady and safe running saw IFK Göteborg to a fourth win in five years. Four of the ten IFK runners this year have run in all the wins, two have run the last three, two the last two, and two were new this year - one of whom, the Norwegian Kasper Fosser, is still a junior - but one well-known as he won JWOC gold and bronze medals last year. Koovee were second and Halden third.
|Graham Gristwood -||Leg 7 for Kalevan Rasti who were 4th|
|Duncan Coombs -||Leg 4 for Tyrving who were 6th|
|Jonny Crickmore -||Leg 1 for OK Ravinen who were 16th|
|Scott Fraser -||Leg 8 for Turun Metsänkävijät who were 18th|
|Chris Smithard -||Leg 4 for Pan-Kristianstad who were 22nd|
|Will Gardner -||Leg 1 for IFK Lidingö who were 27th|
|Hector Haines -||Leg 2 for IFK Lidingö who were 27th|
|Zac Hudd -||Leg 9 for IFK Lidingö who were 27th|
|Matt Speake -||Leg 2 for Bækkelagets SK who were 29th|
|Ralph Street -||Leg 10 for Bækkelagets SK who were 29th|
|Harrison McCartney -||Leg 6 for Savedalens who were 33rd|
|Matt Fellbaum -||Leg 5 for Turun Metsänkävijät 2 who were 39th|
|Peter Hodkinson -||Leg 1 for Lillomarka OL who were 44th|
|Alasdair McLeod -||Leg 4 for Lillomarka OL who were 44th|
|Joe Woodley -||Leg 8 for Lillomarka OL who were 44th|
|Murray Strain -||Leg 1 for Tyrving 2 who were 61st|
|Nick Barrable -||Leg 6 for Ok Ravinen 2 who were 71st|
|Richard Robinson -||Leg 10 for Ok Ravinen 2 who were 71st|
|Ben Mitchell -||Leg 5 for Rajamäen Rykmentti who were 78th|
|Nathan Lawson -||Leg 1 for IFK Lidingö 2 who were 213th|
There was also a team from West Cumberland OC, including several juniors.