As expected, there was no shortage of thrills over the weekend at Tio Mila! Many Brits made the trip to Skåne, Southern Sweden for the annual team relay. Most participants from the UK ran for Scandinavian clubs, but West Cumberland Orienteering Club (WCOC) and Interlopers sent teams in the Open, Women’s and Junior classes. The terrain was typical Skåne with relatively flat mixed forest, some boulder-strewn areas, interspersed with fields and small farming communities.
The action started with the Youth Relay. WCOC fielded two teams, with the first team performing well to come 63rd out of 284 teams. Adam Conway ran strongly on the second Leg for Kongsberg OL 1, overtaking 81 other teams, his team finishing in 27th place. The junior team from Karlskrona SOK won the race in an exciting sprint finish, just one second ahead of OK Ravinen. As winners of Tio Mila Youth Race, Karlskrona now receives an invitation to visit the UK for the Peter Palmer Junior Relay next September.
The women’s race over 5 Legs started in the afternoon. Jo Shepherd ran well for Halden SK 2, finishing in 23rd place out of 336 teams. Charlotte Watson gave Lillomarka OL 1 a strong finish in 43rd place, overhauling 10 teams on her Leg. Fiona Bunn, Hollie Orr, Cat Taylor and Megan Carter-Davies all ran well for Scandinavian teams in the top 70 places. Interlopers mispunched on the second Leg, but the team bravely ran the whole race, with a notable run on Leg 3 by Alison Cunningham, running 9.8km in 1 hour 47 minutes.
The most thrilling moment for British spectators came an hour into the main Open race. Jonny Crickmore (OK Ravinen) and Peter Hodkinson (Lillomarka) on Leg 1 were both part of the large leading pack. At the 10 km TV control, with only 2km to go, Jonny punched in the lead! Peter was just behind in 6th place, only 30 seconds later. It was a very exciting moment, with both runners looking strong. The pack then massed and overtook the Brits in the final 2km, but Jonny came in 36 seconds behind the leader, and Peter another 30 seconds later. Awesome running by the two Brits!
The Open race was won by IFK Gothenburg for the fourth time in the last 5 years. Graham Gristwood ran for his Finnish team Kalevan Rasti, running Leg 7 at 8.7km, starting around 3.30am. He ran strongly, taking the team from 5th to 2nd place, with the team finally finishing 4th.
So many good performances ensued through the night, too many to highlight them all. Special mention goes to Joe Sunley, M16 from WCOC, running in his second Tio Mila. Joe bravely tackled the long night stage at 17.7km, including a monster 4.5km leg. “That. Was. Amazing.” said Joe, relishing the whole experience with the WCOC team.
Tio Mila next year takes place near Uppsala during 2-3 May 2020, so easily accessible for Brits who want to take part. It’s a must for anyone who likes Long or Night-O, so start planning now!