Tasmania – Ten out of Ten

After the NZ Linné Training Camp, I enjoyed a wonderful Christmas with my family. I also took part in a couple of really nice trainings with AOTC, including a “God Jul” special and boxing day O-intervals. The intervals were especially nice as the group was quite large. In Auckland we have not done many of these group o-intervals before, but they are especially common in Uppsala. I think they are really good for orienteering under pressure, and at a speed which is higher than your usual orienteering speed, therefore really stressing the technique.

God Jul
Boxing Day O-Intervaller

I then packed my bags and joined a group of orienteers from Auckland to travel to Tasmania, primarily for the first round of the World Cups. I had been to Tasmania earlier in 2014 as part of the Australian High Performance Training Camp. It was a fantastic experience, and I really enjoyed the terrain so I was excited for this trip to Tasmania. The travelling group was mainly North West members, all enthusiastic and fun people, giving the trip the ingredients needed to make it a truly memorable one.

The first couple of days in Tasmania we had no races which gave us the opportunity to train and see some of Tasmania. As I wasn’t running the sprint, I had more time before my first race, so I wanted to have a mini-training camp to make the most of the wonderful training conditions that Tasmania has to offer. Included in this was a great run in the Ben Lomond National Park with Nick and Fraser. The terrain was surreal, both Nick and I describing it as “out of this world”.


Ben Lomond National Park, Legges Tor

All was going well, everyone was having fun, the training was good, the weather perfect…but then I was confronted with a rather unpleasant stomach virus which put me out of action for 3 days. I missed the New Years celebrations and was left in an exhausted, bed ridden state. The source of the virus could not be determined, and we became pretty sure that it wasn’t food poisoning as a few other people got the virus, but thankfully to a lesser degree. In some way I think it was a good thing to get sick, as it gave my body a complete chance to recover and I could lose some weight before the competitions, or at least that’s how I justified it in my head.

For the first World Cups (sprint qualification and final) I was just a spectator, but it was fun to see everyone race and made me hungry for my own races. It was good to see Cameron Tier have the best performance in the sprint, another North West runner moving through the ranks! The sprints were well organized, and it was nice to see that the organisers used the qualification as a chance to showcase Cataract Gorge, a place that the NZ team visited a number of times after the race.

After the sprints we moved out of Launceston, and shifted to the coast in a small town called Bicheno. It was really neat here as basically all the NZ orienteers stayed together in a collection of bungalows. That meant that there was almost 80 of us all within walking distance. One highlight from this arrangement was going for easy jogs, and being cheered on by the older members of the group. Tom and I found this to pretty motivating. Before my World Cup races started I had a chance to run the Oceania Relays. It was good to do a high speed O-session after being sick so that I could get my body back to working condition. The race was close in the M21E class, but Julian was stronger than me on the last leg, which gave Australia the title.

Oceana Relay

My first World Cup race was the middle on the 8th and then the long on the 10th. Both competitions were awesome. The terrain and courses were some of the best I have ever run in Australia, and it was really nice to see the 3.8km monster leg in the long distance. It takes a pretty courageous course planner to set a leg that long, but it was a nice challenge! Links to the maps can be found below, which have some specific comments about the races and the results. The best thing about the middle was running to the cheers of a big NZ contingent! I was satisfied with my 13th position, and really happy to secure a place in the WOC middle. The long was tough and identified again the difference in my abilities in the long versus the middle. There are some things I really want to work on to improve my long distance orienteering, like optimizing the technique to a higher degree and more attention to route selection. I find I don’t have the same focus in the long, that I can achieve in the middle. This is connected to my physical capacity at the moment, but also experience so bring on more tough long distances!

WC Middle
WC Long


Middle Spectator Run-through



End of the Middle

After the World Cups it was nice to have an extra day to visit Coles Bay, and run across to Wineglass Bay. Such a beautiful place, with insane geography. I have to say that this trip has been one of the best orienteering experiences of my life. I am really inspired by the level of motivation that is growing within NZ, and I think things are just happening now which will take NZ to a whole new level. One thing that is critical for development, as a small orienteering country, has been the appointment of Malcom Ingham as High Performance Leader. I believe that under his leadership we have a real shot at putting the systems in place to produce a self-sustaining development pathway and to re-ignite the super-series and ANZ test matches.

But the main source of inspiration from the trip was the group. Everyone got on so well, and the variety and number of characters in the group made it so much fun. I would like to give a huge thanks to Rob and Marquita who organized a significant proportion of the trip. Rob has been so influential in NZ orienteering, and his enthusiasm and energy is something that greatly inspires me.  Overall I would give the trip 10/10, even getting sick couldn’t lower its score.


Part of the NZ Travelling Group



The sun sets on a great trip!

Now I have 1 month left in NZ before I head back to Sweden. I will be producing some maps in Tauranga and Rotorua to earn some money. The goal for training is to continue with a stable training regime. I will also be competing in Tour de Peninsula which is looking like a great competition. 7 races in 3 days, on some nice sprint maps! I hope to work on my Swedish in this period too, I really need to learn the language om jag är att trivas i Sverige. But we will see how far I get before getting on the plane!


#PerfectFlow #LoveSummer



Summer Time

Returning home has been very rewarding, and I have gained a lot of energy from seeing my family, friends and my awesome dog yogi. The travels from Sweden went pretty smooth, and a stop over in Dubai broke up the long trip. I found a nice hotel in Dubai, so that I could do a short training on the tredmill and have a few hours of really good sleep. I felt this was really beneficial to minimising the effects of the long haul flight from Dubai to Melbourne, so that when I arrived in NZ, I didnt feel anywhere near as smashed as I have been in the past from travelling. Upon landing in NZ I met up with my dad, and then we picked up Albin who had arrived 10 hours earlier, and then I found myself in my NZ home. It was really fun seeing everyone again, and noticing that nothing had really changed, and then after just one day it felt like I had never even left.

Getting the priorities right. GTA and playing with Yogi.

Getting the priorities right.

I didn’t stay at home for long though, as Albin and I had planned a NZ Linné Training Camp which started in Christchurch and finished in Auckland 11 days later. The goal of the training camp was to of course have a period of really good training, but also to visit some of NZ’s most beautiful spots so that Albin could get a taste of NZ. I also wanted to go back to some of NZ’s most iconic maps, so we managed a few high quality technical sessions amongst all the running which can be found in my doma. We flew into Christchurch and picked up a cheap and perfectly shitty rental car. The first 2 days were spent in Castle Hill, staying in a cosy house at the foot of Mt Cheeseman. Our first big mission saw us summit Mt Cheeseman, in a session with over 2000 metres of climb. I listened to Albin prior to the run and decided to take no food, which I regretted repeatedly after 3 hours of running. I am not really a believer in Albins philosophy “hit the wall before taking food on a run”.

We then headed north to St Arnaud, where would stay for 3 days with Jason Markham and his father. A huge thanks to Jason for letting us stay with him. It was great fun to talk about NZ orienteering, mapping, Tour de France and other things amongst all the running. I had a small leg infection, which I was a little concerned about, but with application of some tee tree oil and betadine it subsided pretty quickly. Which was really good, as I could run without any worries on our next mission. We ran from Mt Robert carpark, up Mt Robert, along the ridgeline and then down back to the carpark around Lake Rotoiti. We were fortunate to have a spectacular day, so we could witness some great views.

Castle Hill

Castle Hill


St Arnaud

Following St Arnaud, we drove north to Picton, dropped off our rental car and took the ferry across to Wellington. Here we picked up our second perfectly shitty rental car which would take us back to Auckland. The North Island was maybe not as impressive when compared with the South Island, but it was still really fun to go to Junior Camp and run around Tongariro. Cameron joined us after Junior Camp which was fun, although sometimes hardwork with the constancy at which Cameron talks. Unfortunately when we did the Tongariro crossing (well some version of it) the weather was pretty average, and we couldn’t see much more than the few rocks in front of us. We finished up in Taupo, where Albin and I did some nice intervals, before Cameron and I left for Auckland, leaving Albin in Taupo.

#TräningSomBeasts # PerfectFlow

#PerfectFlow #TräningSomBeasts

Overall  the training camp was a huge success, and both Albin and I were constantly amazed by the #PerfectFlow, which we seemed to experience. In the end we had climbed 11,000 metres in 14 days, a significant increase from our climbing load in Uppsala.

Now I am spending time with my family for Christmas, before heading to Tasmania for the World Cups. I was in Tasmania a little under a year ago now, and I really enjoyed taking part in the Australian HP training camp. Soon it is time to implement that training, but first some excessive consumption of food and training back in my home forest, Woodhill.

My backyard

My backyard

I have decided just to run to the middle and long in Tasmania, a decision made after serious thought about what I want to gain from my time in Tasmania, experiences from last year and my goals for 2015. I want to have a training camp in the first week I am in Tasmania, as I really want to experience some of the running and orienteering that Tasmania has to offer. Then I will taper, and be in beastly shape for the middle and long. The terrain looks great, and the organisation appears to be world class, so I expect some very high quality races. The field is small, but still the best in the world are here, so it will be a nice opportunity to quantify the gains I have made in the past months in preparation for the 2015 season.

I wish everyone a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!



WUOC 2014 – Season Finale

WUOC 2014 had been my main goal for this year, and was the competition that I really wanted to perform well at. Unfortunately, everything has not gone to plan and my performances were not as I desired. This year has been the first time that I have run a ‘European season’, competing right from the very beginning, after I arrived to Sweden. Over the long summer months I kept racing without properly training; WOC, Oringen, and now WUOC. I felt my shape never really improved, and I spent too much time in a state of ‘pre-race rest’ which resulted in a physical downturn. My body and mind are somewhat ‘rundown’ as of now, in desperate need of a break from orienteering for a short while.

Although I was not at my best at WUOC, it was still an awesome experience, again highlighting the path I want to take in the future. I ran the sprint mixed relay, long, middle and relay. I had been selected to run all the races, but I decided to skip the sprint after the long distance and I disagreed.

Sprint Mixed Relay

Park race, which had some minor challenges. I ran 4th leg, following Laura, Gene and Tessa. Apart from a lack lustre top speed, it was a good technical race. I missed a route choice after the public control which cost us 2 places overall, so we finished in 16th.


I struggled in the warm up, and never really got my body into gear. The race was decided by pure running speed and a couple of long legs which offered numerous route choices. I struggled to see the optimal route to the second control, and then struggled with the physicality of the terrain later on. I finished in 44th, in a race which left my whole body is a state of turmoil.


Exhausted after another tough long distance!


I fell sick after the long and was really nervous about starting the race. The terrain was extremely diffuse with numerous linear water features, pesky pits and blocks of low visibility green. The technique required was a mix of risk minimisation and careful compass control which I felt I had for a large portion of the course. With the sickness, my top speed was hindered, but I had a good race in the beginning and I was 16th at the 20th control. I didn’t cope with the very demanding final section of the course very well, employing a too ‘high speed, high risk’ approach. I missed the longer legs (21st  and 24th) which meant I dropped down the overall standings. I ended up in 26th, which I am mostly happy about given my illness and seasonal fatigue.


Pushing into the finish chute!


My sickness had evolved somewhat, and I was left without much energy. I ran second leg, with Gene running first and Jourdan third. Gene felt the effects of a very demanding week, saying that his legs didn’t really agree with him on first leg. For my race, I knew it wasn’t going to be anything near special, so my goal was just to have a steady race. I was fairly clean, apart from one large mistake to the 13th where I had no real plan going into the green. The NZ team finished in 26th position, including some countries second teams.

All maps and results are available on the WUOC website.

It was inspiring to see my flatmates and club mates, Razz, Albin, Oskar and Bettina smash out their races during the week. Even better was the Linné (Swedish) relay team which took gold in the mens relay. It is pretty awesome that I am able to train and learn from some of the very best in the world!

I have now drawn an official close to my season for this year, and I will begin a period of rest before I start to focus on the training again. I am extremely motivated to improve my orienteering, and I really look forward to the months ahead which should offer stable training regimes. I have learnt so much this year, sometimes I forget how much I have actually accomplished. Transitioning from junior to seniors is always tough; doing this in a completely foreign environment, even tougher. But with my club, new friends that I have made this year, and the support emanating from back ‘home’, I feel more motivated than ever! It is almost time to take it to the next level.


Swedish Summer including Oringen 2014

Swedish summer has definitely been in full swing recently, with sensational weather and everyone in holiday mode. Following WOC I had 4 days of work before once again I packed my gear and was on the road for another competition; this time Oringen.

Oringen is easily the best 5 day competition on the orienteering calendar.  In previous years, Oringen has fallen after JWOC and so there has typically been a good group of us at Oringen. This year, the NZ contingent was somewhat smaller. Due to JWOC being held in the same week for some reason, none of the juniors could make it across to Sweden. So for this year, it was just the NWOC crew of myself, Rob, Marquita, Gene and Renee who ventured to Skåne, south Sweden for Oringen 2014. For future years, I highly recommend that all NZ juniors should try and make Oringen, so that they can truly experience something that has defined and shaped Gene and I’s orienteering careers thus far. In mentioning JWOC, I would like to congratulate the NZ JWOC team this year for some outstanding performances. Tim Robertson took the third straight medal in 3 years for NZ with a gold in the sprint distance, Nick Hann finally demonstrated why he his one to watch in the future with a brilliant 5th in the middle and finally our relay team could manage three worthy performances to climb on top of that podium! That makes 6 podiums in 4 years for NZ at JWOC!


The future! Best NZ JWOC team to date.

I travelled to Oringen on the Friday, where I met up with Rob and Marquita. We had a good catch up that evening before our NWOC crew grew to 5 the following day, when Gene and Renee joined us. It felt really good to be surrounded by Kiwis for the week, and will hopefully top up my Kiwi dose for the next months before I return home. I still have no idea about what I will be doing next year, but at least I will be returning home for the world cups in Tasmania.

The Oringen races for me were a mixed affair. I ran H21 Lång, opposed to elites to simplify travel logistics and of course to re-ignite an age old battle between Gene and I. Gene provides a good summary of how the battle evolved over the week here. Unfortunately honours went to Gene after I fell sick after the 3rd stage. The 3rd stage was my best race where I finished in 5th. My race was really good, and I was confident in the NZ-istic terrain (detailed sand-dunes). I wasn’t even going to start the last stage, but I jogged to the start and began my course anyway. I actually felt surprisingly good and I could push after warming up in the first few controls. After racing for 75 minutes I ironically discovered at the finish that I had missed punched and hence I would not register an overall time/placing for Oringen (the first time this has happened to me!). In my sickened and tired state, I pushed too hard up the hill towards the finish and got confused when I saw a control. At the time I felt something was seriously strange, but as is the case when racing under pressure, a stupid mistake resulted. I punched the control that wasn’t mine, and then screwed up the next leg (a white control site). I was not too disheartened though, appreciating the funny side of taking 106 controls over the week then miss punching on the third to last one. Oringen was just a training week for me as I refine my preparations as WUOC draws closer.


Oringen is EPIC!

If you have not witnessed Oringen first hand, and want to see how epic it is, I would recommend going to the photo gallery for Oringen this year or watch the video from the last stage, featuring some big names.

Oringen photo gallery
Video – Oringen Etapp 5

After a nice weekend travelling back with the NWOC crew, I had a few days of work before we again hit the road. This time to Borlänge to catch up with Lars and KAREN Sjökvist, who basically redefined how coaching was conducted in NZ back in the 80’s. This was another good weekend of training which included consumption of copious amounts of really good food. On the Friday we visited Falun, to experience some Swedish history in the form of the Falu Gruva, they Great Copper Mine and to climb a dizzyingly high ski jump, where EOC was held in 2012. We also travelled to Leksand for one night, where I found some hills to bike/run up, which will be relevant for WUOC. Gene and I smashed out a sick 2 hour run as well, taking in some picturesque views of the Leksand region.  Thanks ‘heaps’ to Lars and Karen, and also a huge thanks to Rob and Marquita for a very relaxing and enjoyable weekend away.


Top of Falun Ski Jump. Why the hell would you ever do this death sport?

Now it is full focus towards WUOC. I hope my shape is good enough but I am quite satisfied with my training through the fragmented summer period.  I will be most invested in the middle distance, but running all the competitions (5 in 5 days) will make for a very tough week. Bring it on!

WOC 2014

After a 2 day mission to get back home from Lavarone (including a 6km, 90minute walk through some Italy back country with Ross and all our gear after 2 trains and 2 buses and a 7 hour stopover in Berlin) I had some time to put some thoughts down about my first ever WOC!


The sprint qualification was held on the small Islands of Burano and Mazzorbo. They offered a picturesque opening to the World Champs, with small alleyways, canal crossings and fast running. My lack of flat road running really came to the forefront of my race, and when I did not qualify I really understood how unfocused I was towards WOC. WOC for me was all about the experience, and getting the feelings that I will have in the years to come. My shape was no where near maximal, and when I started to race I felt like I was seriously struggling. The sprint, for the most part, was easy and predictable. We had obtained a version of the map which someone had made, and Ross and I had planned several courses/legs on this. When I was running my course I felt like I had seen all the route choices before, and I really did not have to stress my technique at all. In saying that, I did make some smaller mistakes but I think that was a consequence of my body struggling to keep up. If I had prepared properly for WOC, with an appropriate taper, then I believe I could have qualified even with these mistakes. On this day, my running speed was simply not high enough.


Colourful buildings in Burano!

Colourful buildings in Burano! WorldofO


Following the NZ selection races (Nationals) which I did not attend as I had already arrived in Europe, Chris Forne was selected to run the WOC Long distance. With the current selection process, athletes are required to put their names down well in advance of the competition. This creates the situation that athletes who only might be interested in running, putting their name down and then if they are selected but do not wish to run, pulling out after the team has been selected. I fell into this trap last year, when I was considering running WOC but because of my studies had to stay grounded in NZ. A similar situation happened this year also when Chris Forne realised that he could not partake in the World Championships. No one new who had put their name down to run which races (apart from the selectors), so following Chris’ withdrawl from the team, their was a frantic search by the selectors to find a replacement. I was approached and my response was initially no because of my shape and lack of focus. I said that it would be perhaps better if someone else ran, as I was a little concerned about my shape. I believe Toby and Ross were consulted as well, but they both said no too, for various reasons. Due to the new tiered structure at WOC, it is critical that points are taken from every race, if we are to move up to the second division. The end result, no one was selected, a situation that I never wanted to happen. I realised this and contacted the selectors/ONZ to try rectify the situation, so that I could run the long. For some unknown reason they refused to change their minds and it wasn’t until a few days before the actual race that I got confirmation (by Malcolm entering me himself) that I was running the long.

This was a very a sad situation and I think proves that something is fundamentally wrong in how the high performance/WOC system works in NZ. It is a very ugly situation when we cant meet up as a squad and openly discuss plans due to various reasons, and we are left completely in the dark by the current selection policy. I believe it is in review now, but I think the best step forward is to have a much more open and transparent selection process. All interested athletes should be identified somewhere, and so people can decide which races to focus on. I also think that the WOC manager needs to have significantly more power, and that if team changes need to be made closer to WOC and are agreed upon by the entire team, then he/she has the capacity to do so. WOC athletes invest a significant amount of time and money and it is disappointing and uninspiring when there is no positive support from our supposed selectors. I am not pointing blame here, as I believe the fault lies with the current selection process.

Anyway, enough of a rant about actually being entered in the long, and to the race itself. It was quite a strange feeling turning up to quarantine by myself and having no one to really talk to about the race. This is another complete fuck up with the new division system at WOC. Now that we only have one spot, it makes the forest races at WOC significantly more individual and for me this year I missed the team discussions about terrain, route choices e.tc. Despite this Ross and I helped each other out, I helped him for the middle and he helped me for the long by setting various legs, so that I could start the race with a pretty good picture of the terrain and understanding of how I should orienteer in it. Fortunately the terrain was quite simple, so in terms of technical preparations, a whole lot was not needed. However, as I discovered in my warm up and heading up to the start, the biggest challenge for me during the race was the altitude. I felt almost sick at the top of the map early on in the race and had significant trouble breathing, thereby impacting my running speed and strength. I managed the course, with out too many technical problems, perhaps some smaller mistakes and then a large route choice mistake on the long leg (4th control)  but it was clear that I was just not up to the physical challenge of the WOC long. In the end I was over 32 minutes behind in 52nd place. Disheartened? No! I knew that I would struggle with the race and for me just completing it was a success and gave me a great feeling. It has provided me with an opportunity to gauge the difference to the top guys so that I can start to try reduce the margin. I am just satisfied to have my first WOC forest experience, even if it was extremely tough and left me with absolutely nothing at the end. But then again, even if I was at my very best then I would been in the same state following the race!


Finish of the long. Tough!

Finish of the long. Tough! WorldofO


The relay was suppose to be our goal as a team, to try secure as many points as we could for next year. It just feels so strange that when we head out into the forest now (at WOC) it is like we have to race for both now and the future. Anyway the team order was decided, Tim, Ross and I. We were quite confident, and if we were all running at our best then I think we could have achieved something great. Tim ran stable on first leg, but his preparations have been mainly in sprint and I dont think he has the forest experience just yet to really realise his true speed under the trees.  Ross was destroyed from the middle and suffered altitude problems like I did. Ross came in with Australia and just behind a small pack. I had nothing from the beginning and dropped behind. This race epitomised my feelings right now. I am just exhausted from all the changes that have happened this year, and racing almost every weekend since I have arrived has left me low on motivation to hurt in a racing situation. I didn’t like the terrain either, mainly because it was so rocky but arguably too I hadn’t even come close to mastering it. At the end of the race, I went straight to the tents and had a bit of a ‘breakdown’, jogging off to gather my thoughts. Similar to what happened in WUOC in 2010 after an appalling relay run there. These ‘fails’ make us stronger, and pave the way for future success!


Shit race at the end of WOC!

Shit race at the end of WOC! Attackpoint

My WOC Future

So with the conclusion of WOC and a bit of time to reflect I have begun to think how I should approach WOC in the future. I was a little immersed in my own self pity that I didn’t really appreciate how awesome Lizzie did at WOC. I think she has managed 7 top 20’s in the past few years, which is fucken impressive. A tad inspiring for me! WOC is the pinnacle of our sport and that is where we want to achieve. This year I didnt really focus on WOC and my preparations as I have said many a time, were appalling. Next year and forever how long I want to do this, optimal and focused preparations will be paramount. I remember Tom Reynolds once saying, ‘there is nothing like going to an exam feeling as prepared as possible.’ The same is true in racing, if you can have ‘perfect preparations’ then come race day I believe anything is possible. Case in point, Soren Bobach in the sprint in Venice!

I think also if we are to really achieve our potential then the support must increase. Malcom was great during the WOC week, but outside of that there is no support, no high performance communication whatsoever. It is difficult at times to generate all motivation from within and sometimes you just need a few little words to guide you back on the path, but quite frankly we dont have any of that. Just looking at the Suiss, Swedes, Danes…their team environment, their support is so incomprehensibly better than ours which magnifies the differences in our abilities. We are doing this at the Junior level however; full teams, great coaches/managers and look at the results! And now the Australians are doing it too! Anyway, enough of WOC for this year. I have had my first taste, im hungry for another go but for the next month, bring on Oringen and WUOC!

Czech, Check

Following Jukola and surviving the boat ride home, I found myself again packing my gear for another international trip. This time the Czech Republic. Toby and I had been scheming for a while now, that we should go to Czech and for a training camp. One objective of the camp was to prepare somewhat for the World University Champs which we are both competing in later this year. It quickly turned into a ‘best of Czech’ camp and we went after the most extreme terrain that Czech has to offer. WUOC will be held on more typical continental terrain, terrain I feel is not so special and the most important thing for it will be to be in top physical shape. We tried quite hard to convince some other kiwis to join but other commitments meant that we were facing a bromantic weekend for two. Fortunately Toby convinced some Germans to join us (Marcus for two nights, Moritz for another). They were both really top guys, aiming for JWOC so I wish them all the best!

…and then, just a few days out Albin Ridifelt decided to join us! With Toby taking the lead on organisational matters, we all managed to meet without too much difficulty in Prague’s central station on Thursday. While waiting for our car to become available, we headed off into Prague to ‘sight see’. I am really starting to enjoy these training camps which have a few hours of concentrated sight seeing. You see the best parts of an awesome city, whilst not wasting too much of your dignity becoming a ‘tourist’. I have been to Prague once (or twice?) before on previous European escapades and I really like the city. Its a truly beautiful place with a vast history that I can’t even begin to comprehend. We were even fortunate enough to get a tour guides explanation of the famous astronomical clock!

Prague and  'FTP' Albn

Prague and ‘FTP’ Albin

After a long period of walking, a classic Czech meal and some great coffee we hired our car and travelled north to the small town of Duba. We dropped our gear off at our accommodation, a pretty sweet 300 year old villa and travelled just down the road to our first training. The map was insane, mildly steep spur gulley with valleys banked with truly impressive cliffs of sandstone. The terrain was extremely demanding; if Uppsala had a polar opposite in terms of verticality, it was here. Map

First session

First session

Following the training we had probably one of the best dinners I have ever had. We found this tiny restaurant, in which there was maybe one other group eating, in the town we were staying next to. Whether I was so hungry, the food was so cheap or it was actually really good food I can’t be certain, but damn it was good.

The following morning we discovered Kaufland, the holy grail of cheap food. Stocked up for the day, we did two tough trainings, one in similar terrain to the above, the other more similar to the JWOC middle terrain from last year. I really enjoyed the latter, a great long pass in quite variable terrain. Runnability was again minimised through the steepness and rockiness, but when I did get a chance to pick up the speed, it felt really good. Map

Saturday morning we ran an easy training on the JWOC middle map, Zavora and I could really feel the lack of coffee in my system which affected my training. I had tried to quit drinking coffee before I came to Sweden, but since it is basically part of their culture my coffee drinking has actually gotten worse! Albin and I fixed our caffeine needs and we were ready for the qualification for the Czech middle champs. My legs were pretty destroyed and I felt even in the warm up, that I had no energy. Despite this I actually had a good race in the beginning, 30 seconds off the lead in the middle of the course. Unfortunately tiredness set in, and my brain started to fade later in the course and I fell outside the top 8, 2 seconds off qualifying. This meant that I ran the B final the following morning in just outrageously extreme terrain. I am gutted that I could not approach a race like this with my usual focus. I had extremely poor pre-race preparations sprinting to the start to try get an earlier start time, due to travel arrangements.  I haven’t uploaded the maps to my Doma yet but you can see the A final on Adam Chromy’s map archive here. Look and wheep at some of the coolest terrain I have ever run in! Results

Czech middle B-final

Czech middle B-final

With the conclusion of the race Toby and I promptly departed for Prague, marking the conclusion of the Czech Training Camp. Overall it was a hugely satisfying weekend with high quality trainings. It was nice to train in some non-Swedish terrain for a change, and to test my technique in other aspects.

Next up is the World Champs in Italy, which I leave for next Thursday. Like most things have been this year, WOC for me is all about experience and getting that valuable first feel for it. I am running the sprint, relay and hopefully the long (ONZ decision pending). For now it will just be watching some good football, working and sharpening up for WOC.

Jukola 2014

This weekend I travelled to Finland with Ok Linné to run in my first ever Jukola. Jukola is by far the biggest club relay of the year with 1600 teams in the mens race, and another 1200 teams running the womens relay called Venla. There is a lot of history surrounding this event, with its origins being traced back to some story with 7 dudes chasing one chic called Venla. After being a little disappointed with the size of Tiomila, I was really excited to see what Jukola had to offer.

We travelled to Finland on Wednesday by boat, a massive multi story ferry, so that we could do some relevant training before the competition on Saturday. There were numerous games of 7 wonders played before we finally hit mainland Finland in Turku. This year Jukola was quite far north, in Kuopio, which meant a bit of a drive after the boat trip. It also meant that there would only be 3-4 hours of night during the relay.  After a few days of easy training in some nice terrain we were ready for the big night! I would run first leg for the second team. Running first leg at Jukola is kind of one of those things you must do in your orienteering career, and I have heard the likes of Tom Reynolds rave so much about it. So to put it mildly, I was excited!

The race was an unforgettable experience, simply because of the scale and number of people running. I entered the pre-start area and the first person I saw was Tim Robertson! He had made it safely to Europe and would be running his first Jukola also. We spent the good part of 20 minutes running up and down the start chute, in a state of awe and exhilaration. The number of people in the start chute grew and grew over 30 minutes, and it was then I fully understood how big this relay was. With 5 minutes to the start, everyone went to their respective start positions. I took the opportunity to jump and look behind me, to see what can only be adequately described as a ‘shit tonne’ of people.

Jukola 2014 start

Start of Jukola 2014

The start was insane. Just before, the organisers had said that there would be jet planes flying above us during the first part of the run to the start triangle. Like seriously, come on; jet planes! After the start gun was fired, it was a frantic stampede for 1km as runners jostled for position. People were falling, deafening jet planes, and thousands of spectators lined the start chute, screaming at their teams. It was nuts!

For the race itself you can read about it on my doma. I finished 47th which I am mostly satisfied with. I just wanted to experience Jukola this year, so the end result was not of great importance. Of course I still pursued a good performance, but unfortunately I made some mistakes. I think my best position throughout the relay was 26th, but then I didnt have the speed in the end and lost 20 or so places.

Jukola 2014 Map

Jukola 2014 map

Post run, Niklas and I enjoyed a refreshing sauna (along with copious amounts of naked dudes) and I stayed up and watched the rest of the relay. The Linné first team had a really strong finish to end up 14th, so hopefully next year we can do better! My team finished in 100th position, 6th places better than last year. I am writing this blog in a pretty tired state, after an epic Jukola boat party, another insane experience. A similar boat to the one we took to Finland, except this, time filled predominately with orienteers celebrating an awesome Jukola. So now I better get some sleep, and get ready for next weekend when I will be going to Czech for a 4 day training camp, including the Czech middle distance champs.



Summer is here!

Since the last post, I have mainly been in a state of work and training. I am trying to find a balance between working and training which can be quite hard when every weekend there seems to be some event on. I would have to say that my training has not been optimal.  I fell sick a couple of weeks ago, which I blame on the extremely long days which have impacted my sleep. But despite this, I am still quite confident in my training, and I just haven’t had the necessary rest to see the full benefits of it. With a large group of NZ’ers coming to Europe very shortly (or have already arrived) I am getting very excited to see some kiwi friends and this also means the big competitions are almost here. For me this will be WOC and WUOC. I will also be competing at Oringen (but probably not the full 5 days) and I am doing a training camp with Toby in Czech the weekend after next.

Summer is definitely here with today reaching just under 30 degrees! The forests are getting much greener, and the undergrowth is really starting to flourish. As always you can see some of my technical trainings on my doma page. I have been doing more trainings than those in my doma, but I have not had the time to upload them. One of my favourite trainings was this long session, which I ran with Oskar at his summer house.

One highlight, over the past month, was two weekends ago when I meet my sister in London, and we then travelled to Stoke on Trent (my Dads birthplace, and the reason I can get a British passport). This was a really fun weekend, and it honestly felt like going home. Whether this was simply the language or because NZ is actually quite British I was not certain, but it was a refreshing reminder of some of the good (and not so good) things from back home.


God save the queen

God save the queen

I also celebrated my 22nd birthday last Wednesday. My first birthday abroad, which was filled with delicious cake prepared by Oskar and Kate, following a nice relay training.

This weekend I will be in Finland competing in the biggest relay of the year, Jukola. Big is probably an understatement. I will be lining up at 11pm, just before the cannon, marking the start of a 1600 stampede of runners, fires. I am running in the second team, despite being selected for the first team initially. With my recent sickness, and lack of confidence, I said to myself that I would just enjoy the Jukola experience and eliminate the pressures. Plenty more years to run Jukola with Linné, but this year they will have smash it without me! The first team is looking really strong, and I am excited to see what everyone can produce.

So I am really excited now that summer is here. Rob kindly loaned me his bike after our solid training period together earlier this year. One thing I have found challenging with the change of moving to Sweden, is this idea of having a training identity. It can be quite easy to forget what methods have worked best in the past, and it is also very easy to see what others are doing and think that you should be doing what they are doing. This idea, of having a training identity, I think is very important and something that I understood when I was back in NZ, but perhaps have kind of lost it since I arrived in Sweden. But with the arrival of the bike, I feel now like I can replicate the training which I was doing earlier this year and take my orienteering to the next level.

Unfortunately I kind of broke my body in the past few days. Firstly cutting my knee on a rock, then last night blowing my ankle, twice, in Lunsen. I think I will need ankle surgery in the future to remove the scar tissue in my troublesome ankle, but for now I will go back to strapping both my ankles when orienteering in the forest. Evidently I dont have the strength just yet in my lower limbs to run without at least some support, especially in my right ankle.

Orienteering abuse

Orienteering abuse

Next up, Jokola! Check out the terrain here.

Stockholm Sprints and Escape

The past few weeks, since Tiomila, have been relatively quiet in the competition scene. I am trying to return to some more basic training, in the build up for WOC and WUOC in a few months time. Last weekend I managed some really nice technical training, firstly at the Jubileumsdubbeln Long distance and then a simply sensational 2hr session in Lunsen the following day. This meant that last weekend I orienteered for just over 30km in very technical terrain. You can see links to the maps below:

Beautiful Lunsen

Beautiful Lunsen

Jubileumsdubbeln Long Distance
Lunsen Lång Pass

This week, my goal was to further progress the basic training but increasing daylight hours, leading to interrupted sleep, and the decision to run a couple of sprints did not facilitate this plan. However, the sprints that I did were extremely fun. The first was the Stockholm City Cup, the first of a series of sprint races around Stockholm. The map and course were very nice, and a fairly solid technical performance meant that I could pick up 6th position. My speed was not the best, but of course it can be challenging sometimes to push at your maximum level when the race is of not significant importance.

Stockholm City Cup E1

Stockholm City Cup E1


The second sprint race of the week was the annual Centrum Team Sprint. This is a 2 man sprint relay, with 4 legs. I teamed up with David Lingfors, and we decided upon the name “2 wonders” for our formidable challenge at the title. I ran the first leg and had a pretty stable performance to finish in 2nd position, a few seconds behind Järla. David then had a good second leg, such that I would go out in 2nd position on the 3rd leg, 9 seconds behind Järla. For me, the first leg was primarily in the forest, and I felt I had control over my technique. I was a little tired, but I could push quite hard. On my second run however I fell victim to a couple of unfortunate events. Firstly, I took a route choice to the third control which meant I went through a gap in the buildings which I had run through already, to take the second control. As I was running full speed through this gap, to my surprise, a 7 foot Italian came sprinting towards me. Simple physics, conservation of momentum, and I went hurtling off at some undesired angle, turning in the air to capture the surprise in the Italians eyes. Dazed and a little abused, I managed to regain some level of focus. But then, leaving the 6th I decided to embrace a rather structurally sounds metallic pole with my head. I cursed, as I dizzily tried to continue with my orienteering, but ultimately the damage had been done and I lost some valuable seconds.


Sprint Head Trauma

First Leg

First Leg

Second Leg

Second Leg

Overall we managed to finish in 5th position after David missed a little bit towards the end of his final leg.


Following the sprint, I travelled with Alistair Landels, former top dog in NZ orienteering, back to his home Stockholm. I stayed there for the weekend and enjoyed the beautiful Swedish weather that came this weekend. Dare do I say it, but it was almost too hot! However, 24 degrees made for a rather enjoyable long run on Sunday around the lake that you can see below. Unfortunately my body is not responding so good at the moment. My throat has been a little sore the past couple of days. I am not sure exactly the reason why, whether I am getting sick, my body is a little tired, or I am reacting to the copious amounts of pollen that have taken flight in my breathing airspace.


Ok Weather in Sweden


More OK Weather in Sweden

More OK Weather in Sweden

Tomorrow I begin my new job as  a Project Development Engineer for Landauer Nordic. My first responsibility, finding the correlation between Thoron progeny concentrations and Thorn exhalation rates! This working opportunity I owe a lot to a club member who has helped me significantly in establishing myself in Sweden, so I am really grateful to Tryggve, and the club, for this opportunity!

Work, or Security Prison?

Work, or Secure Prison?

The focus for the next few weeks will be, as last time, continuing to build the base and to try establish a level of ‘normality’ in my life.  Finally, here is a video of my Tiomila finish from a few weeks ago.

Video of Tiomila Finish



Tiomila is one of, if not the biggest race in Sweden. A 10-man relay, originating from a 10 by 10km race from Uppsala to Stockholm, it is the highlight event for the Scandinavian clubs (along with Jukola). Coming from New Zealand we are not really exposed to the magnitude of events like this and only hear about them through other peoples experiences. I have always wanted to run Tiomila, ever since I first heard about it at one of the Junior Camps back in the day, and this year would be my first taste of the annual event. This year the organisers presented some changes to the normal structure of the event, like an earlier start, so unlike the photo below the big mass start would occur during day light and also the 10th and final leg would be the shortest.

Normal Start for Tiomila

Normal ‘Night’ Start at Tiomila

One of the reasons I joined Ok Linné was because of the number of top orienteers (Oskar, Razz, Albin etc.) who I would get to train alongside. But not only does this make for a sensational training environment but it also means that Linné have a pretty strong 10 man relay team (which happened to finish 4th 2 years ago). After some decent performances in Sweden I was selected for the first team. I was always quite nervous about Tiomila, even before I left for Sweden, as I was unsure of my abilities compared to basically everyone else in the world. I had not had any feedback against other international runners since last years world cup in NZ. Upon arriving to Sweden I found that the biggest difference, at the very top level, is the technical. Most of the top guys are capable of running quite similar speeds in the forest, but it is the execution of their technique which really determines the results. With this revelation, I felt a little bit calmer and less nervous about Tiomila and my approach to the race was, I can only do my best.

Ok Linné First Team

Ok Linné First Team  (Less Niklas)

Tiomila was held in Eksjö, just over 4 hours south of Uppsala. The majority of the runners (Youth, Women and Men), including myself, took the big bus down to the competition, while the remaining people made their own way. We arrived at our accommodation, around 30 minutes from the Tiomila Arena, quite late in the evening. Albin, Rassmus and I headed out into the forest for an easy night training. I was not going to be running during the night at Tiomila, but it was still good training and necessary after the travel.

The Saturday saw the youth and women’s relay. Oskar and I, after a very long sleep in, headed out to the event to watch the start of the women’s relay and run an open course, adjacent to the competition area. You can see the map here. From the easy training I found some confidence in the terrain; as expected it was not the most demanding terrain, and as Thierry said after his race “a piece of cake compared to Lunsen”. The start of the womens relay was very exciting, with 319 teams heading out on first leg. We had a chance to see how the arena was designed and could see the changeover after the first leg. The only interesting thing really was how short the distance was from the changeover to the start point, emphasising the Tiomila organisers vision for a compact arena.

We then went back to the accommodation for an afternoon/evening relaxing before our own races. The men’s race began at 1930, so after a quick team meeting at 4, the first and second leg runners headed out to the event. We watched the beginning of the race from the accommodation, and in an attempt to not get too involved in how the race was evolving, we turned off the computer shortly after the beginning of the second leg. I then went to sleep and woke up at 2:30am to head out to the arena. News from the race was that we were sitting comfortably in the top 20 after a strong race by Albin on the long night. The nerves really began to build as we headed out to the event. It felt very strange to experience Tiomila this way, almost hiding from the event until shortly before my race. I missed a lot of things that happened throughout the race, and even now I dont really know how the others in my team ran. Although one piece of the action, which has escalated almost virally on the internet, was Henriks efforts on the 3rd leg which you can see below. Basically, the strategy for the 3rd and 6th legs, which have no forking, is to stick with pack. You cant win the race on these legs, but you can certainly lose it!

Henrik Yolo

Henrik Yolo

After Oskars awesome run on the 9th leg it was my turn to run. My first Tiomila, and I was heading out in 10th position, wearing a gps. Top 10 was our goal as a club, so there was pressure to preserve the 10th position that Oskar had given me. Standing at the exchange I felt confident and hungry for a good race. I knew my speed was good, so it was all down to the technique and pushing hard. I went out a few second behind Matthias Millinger (Järla). The first control was a little bit tricky, and I tried to use Matthias to guide me into the control, but we drifted left after leaving the track and hence missed the control. I then relocated quickly and took the first control ahead of Matthias. I then said to myself, ‘this is my race’, and I tried to be offensive with my technique. I found a good route to the second and by then had caught Lillomarka OL and Hiidenkiertäjät (Leonid Novikov). We had high speed, but I felt all the time in control of my orienteering and leaving the 11th control I was first in our group. I then got stuck in some green just before the TV control and lost Novikov. I panicked a little bit, and became a little stressed.  Unfortunately I made a small mistake after the TV control as I was trying to check my control codes. This year they weren’t next to the control, and I had to flip the map to find the number. It was hard to then relocate and refocus, which I think caused the mistake to the 14th.

Miss to the 14th

Miss to the 14th

Despite the mistake I hit the road on the way to the 16th and I could see Novikov and also Denseln 100 metres up the road.  So I think a really good race I could have finished in front of these teams, but a quite frustrating and stupid mistake to the 19th meant that I instead would be battling Matthias for 9th position. Matthias and I arrived at the 23rd at the same time. I imagine it was a rather exciting finish for the 9th position, but all I can remember is the pain in my chest and the thought of losing to Matthias. I knew how important it was to beat Järla, and I capatalised on a small mistake that Matthias made just before the last control. I was ahead of him up the last hill, but he was closing in. I then decided to give it everything, ignoring the screaming pain from chest, and pushed the last few metres at maximum speed.

So we ended up in 9th position, which I think we were reasonably satisfied with. It was an amazing experience, even if I was sleeping through most of it, but it was a great feeling to be so high up in a very tough field of teams. Notably we beat Halden and Kristiansand! GPS tracking and TV highlight below.

GPS – Leg 10
TV Highlights

Tiomila 2014 - Awesome experience!

Tiomila 2014 – Awesome experience!

For the next few weeks I will return to some more basic training as I begin building for WOC and WUOC, in which I have just been selected for. Also Jukola is on the horizon, another relay, the biggest of them all, which Ill be running for the first time!