Race info Ultra Trail 161k
Start time: 05:00
Silver medal time: 24 hours
Maximum time: 30 hours
Distance: 100 miles, 161 km
Ascent: 3200 M+
ITRA qualifier: Yes, 6 points
UTMB qualifyer: Yes Checkpoints: 8 with water/snacks/energy/food
Dropbag: Yes, 1 at 82 km checkpoint
Personal aidstations: Yes
Checkpoints along the course:
|Checkpoint 1||Angered||13km||Cut Off: 2:23||Cut Off Time CET: 7:23|
|Checkpoint 2||Dammekärr||28km||Cut Off: 5:09||Cut Off Time CET: 10:09|
|Checkpoint 3||Kungälv||40km||Cut Off: 7:21||Cut Off Time CET: 12:21|
|Checkpoint 4||Bönered||65km||Cut Off: 11:57||Cut Off Time CET: 16:57|
|Checkpoint 5||Tuve||82km||Cut Off: 14:54||Cut Off Time CET: 19:54|
|Checkpoint 6||Botaniska||100km||Cut Off: 18:23||Cut Off Time CET: 23:23|
|Checkpoint 7||Tulebo||127km||Cut Off: 23:21||Cut Off Time CET: 4:21|
|Checkpoint 8||Skatås||147km||Cut Off: 27:02||Cut Off Time CET: 8:02|
|Goal||Jonsered||161km||Cut Off: 30:00||Cut Off Time CET: 11:00|
The 28th april 2018 at 5 a.m. was the start of the Aktivitus Trail Race 161k race in Jonsered. Niclas came approx at 3:30 and picked me from Mölndal where I live. We drove for approx 30 minutes to the start where we had the opportunity to register for the race, chat a little with many of the runners and chill a little before the start.
It's a very unique sensation to race a race and to know very well almost half of the runners..... well, actually almost each and every runner! :)
The race started at 5 a.m. after a few words from Tomas Amneskog - the race director.
I started relaxed. The idea was to race a relaxed and quite reserved race. I had no idea to push or to try anything here. My only goal was to finish the race. I planned to run two 100-mile races in April and here I was.... running the second one. I never did something like this. My training was very special, my food quite different from the "usual" one. I had to recuperate from the "100 Miles of Istria" and I was running another race! How will my body react? How will my mind react? What will the consequences be).... Many questions and no answer....
I was running and thinking about all those questions and no answers.... I checked my Suunto after 10 minutes and I was still running.... with the lead runners!!! But I felt quite relaxed so I figured.... "Let's do this a little bit more...." - Than we took a wrong turn! The first of many in this race. Usually I get mad while running of-course, but this time that was a good thing. I had the opportunity to relax, say by bye to the "elite" runners and run my own race.... I had the opportunity to enjoy the race!
I was really happy to be able to run easily, really well.... relaxed and being able to enjoy the lovely nature around me. Fantastic! The first aid station Angered after 13k I felt really great! I was maybe too fast there....
I reached the second aid station "Dammekärr" and went right to the toilet! Great choice by the way! David Muir was there waiting for us and helping the runners! Great job! :)
That first part of the race is just lovely, specially the Vättlefjäll nature reserve. All those lakes, wonderful trails.... pure magic! Running there so early in the morning is a special thing. All those birds.... the wind, the water.... it's a pure meditation! I have to return and rung again that section!
The next aid station was after approx 40k beside the Svarte Mosse lake near Kungälv. I just wanted to run fast here but the sight of the Markus family was just lovely. Everybody was so friendly there and I used a few minutes to refill with liquids before heading away. Thanx to Rickard Hallengren who served that station! Great job man! :)
It was the time to meet Zeljko. He was the first pacer that should help Markus in this race. He ended up helping both Markus and me! What a great guy! He did a great job acting both as pacer, pathfinder and coach! What a man! A great person indeed! Thanx! The speed was quite acceptable, I ran relaxed here and the fact that we had to run across "swampy" areas with a LOT of water did not matter.... not at that time anyhow (it did later on)! The nature in that section was quite wild and brutally wonderful! I would really like to explore more of that area someday!
We arrived at the Bönered aid station after 65k. What a welcome committee! Makus had the whole family cheering and jumping and waiting there.... just great! I planned to leave the station fast, but Markus took a seat, he ate a little and relaxed with his family. So I refilled a lot this time! We started rolling again after more that 7-8 minutes I guess and I felt that! A LOT! We both did! I told right away to Markus NOT to run at once but to walk a little bit before in order to warm up again the "engine"! It took several almost 400mt I guess before we gained a respectable pace again! But now it was time to leave again the easy asphalt and gravel and head back into the wild.
This section is tough. Very hilly and it seems that Tomas (the race director) had the idea to touch each and every hill top of the area! A few climbs here are really brutal and I had to concentrate in order to climb properly without wasting too much energy.
The views from the tops are stunning indeed! The highest hills in this area are about 100-120mt high, but the view you get once on the top is amazing! :)
This is the area where my good friend Anders Sandegård created his UTMB route when he trained for that race! It's a brutal route indeed! Now I know! You're sick m8! Ehehehehe
When we approached the Tuve which was not only the next aid station but also where our drop bags were and the half point of the race I started to run with a flow.... what a great sensation! I had a few of those during the race. The thing is that you have to remind yourself that the race is a long one and that you need all the energy you can get in order to complete the course.
It was Anders Sandegård and Elhalki Monne Monir that hosted that station. What a service! Amazing job! We were served like pro runners! Thanx for everything guys! Amazing job! Real food, warm vegetable soup and a proper refill from my drop-bag and the shoe change was ready and done after 10-15 minutes I guess. Much faster than in Istria (weeks ago). I was quite pleased with that.... not pleased with the chilly rain. We decided to put our rain jackets on after a few minutes from the station, but it was too warm. We decided to run without the rest of the race... is possible.
The first part of the section after Tuve is easy gravel, than it turns into the woods, some trail and continues on to larger gravel section. That part was really nice. We could chat a little, push the pace a little bit whilst saving the energy on the climbs. That was good.... it felt great! The run across the Älvsborgsbron bridge was amazing. The view is great! I enjoyed a lot there and managed to endure a steady pace without stressing my body.
The UNKNOWN turned to the KNOWN for me now!
We were approaching the Botaniska aid station when there she was in front of us, jumping and cheering like crazy! Anna Larsson - what a energy boost she gave us! I felt great right after! How can a little bit of positive energy reflect on an ordinary long distance runner?! A lot! :)
That station with Anna Larsson and Maria Carlsson was the last one before the dark hours to come. But there was a tiny section left before the dark - the Änggårdsbergen nature reserve. A section I know well where I usually train. Running that section was nice for me. I went in front of the group and I was thinking about breathing, relaxing and enjoying the run in that part of the race. I noticed that my pace was a little bit different from the others behind me. maybe because there was no way to pass one another or maybe because I was so near home..... the same as Markus - even closer for him!
Niklas Törnqvist came in front of us just before the nasty and technical downhill to Tolptorsdalen in Mölndal. Another pacer that should help Markus that ended up helping the whole group. This is the spot where Fredrik Reinhold joined us again.... as a matter of a fact we were running the whole race at a very similar pace. It's always a great thing to run sections together with other friends during races like this - long with not so many runners on the course.
We were approaching the end of the Änggårdsbergen nature reserve when I heard known voices! My heart started dancing like crazy! Up there on the hill, in the rain, there they were waiting for us - my daughter, my son and my lovely wife! Wow, that was simply amazing! I just adored that moment.
We ran altogether the nasty downhill and my daughter never stopped cheering!
She is just amazing - what an energy! My son ran to the car like a thunder in order to pick the extra bottle of water that I could maybe need before the next aid station in approx. 25k.
After a short "hug and kiss" timeout we left that spot heading toward the Sisjön lake.
The part from Änggårdsbergen, via the Sisjön and later on the Oxsjön lake are quite easy to run if you are not tired. After 120k each and every inclination seemed to be a great reason to relax and chat. :)
The Sandsjöbacka area
This area is one of my favorite running areas. But when we arrived there all those roots, stones, the technical terrain made us slow, really slow. We knew that we would take this part slowly, but I could never predict that I could walk that much there at that point of the race. The soil was muddy, the sticky and slippery mud on my Altra shoes, the chilly rain..... well, I had the rain jacket on but I felt the chill. That was really a low moment. The great thing about Niklas there was that he had two bottles of Coca Cola with him! What a man! He saved me! That sugar kick helped a lot! Than you man! :) Fredrik Reinhold came again and we ran part of that section together.... but we lost them after a few km.
Oscar Adielsson - the one and only pace I had in this race. He came and he waited for us in the dark and rain. What a man! We started rolling easily towards the next aid station that was in front of us after a 2km long asphalt section.
The Tulebo aid station was the one where I started to feel the chill and I felt the first symptoms of tiredness and fatigue. David Muir (we met him before in the second aid station of the race: Dammekärr ) was there - ready to assist us! He really knows what a tired runner needs! We refilled, took our jackets on and headed away. It's here that I thought a little on how much time we wasted in each and every station. But these things can happen when you race with others. In Istria I stopped longer that 3 minutes just in one station and the last one. Here I stopped too long on each except maybe the first one! :)
Having the jacket on felt really nice and after 200mt we were running again in the darkness and chilly rain. I decide here to drop the tempo a little bit. I decided that I WILL finish that race no matter what! I had no particular issues with the body but I simply wanted to avoid falling or injuries during that technical section that has to be done with a concentrated mind and clever approach. There was no need to push there when we had some lovely gravel road and asphalt as well in front of us! My experience was telling me to relax and to take it easy.... simply as that! So I did that despite the fact that Markus wanted to run faster - I didn't!
When we arrived to the Gunnebo area I pushed the pace a little bit and we rolled at a nice pace there. We met Joakim Kopka there on the gravel section waiting for Fredrik who was just minutes behind us! I knew that he would pace Fredrik well, he is a great and patient runner.
On the other side of the road waited for us another tougher single trail section with lovely trails, nice climbs and a long downhill to the very beginning of what the start of the "Hobo Hill" climb is! This hill is a tough one. It takes a lot of energy to climb it. Well, maybe not only once like we did now in this race. This is the hill where each and every runner of the area that wants to race a huge race with lot of elevation has to came to. We usually challenge us to gain al least 1000hm (approx 12 runs up and down the hill). Markus and I managed to chat there and climb the hill with ease. No big issues there. Behind that hill there is another tiny hill to the SAAB center and after that a nice downhill to the asphalt section. After that there was waiting another climb - a stair one! That one was tough alright!
Bohusleden - Again
We were now again running the Bohusleden trail heading to the Delsjön lake. I started sleeping here.... really tired, my eyes were shutting down as well as my whole body. A huuuuge system collapse. My energy was OK, I felt really good, but my running energy was kinda gone! I just wanted to stop! Lucky me the gravel road at that pint is a large one, so running left/right is no huge issue.... you cannot die, you can have a lovely bath in the lake! :)
Light... the light....
After a few km tiny lights in the distance..... like an airport.... heading to ORANGES! The best oranges in the world! Thank you Daniel for that fantastic surprise! Simply fantastic! You "rebooted" my engine! We enjoyed that lovely moment a little and than headed happily toward the next official aid station - Skatås.
I felt a little bit better here but I wanted to spare my legs and feet before the last part that I knew was quite technical. The feeling was good.... I knew here that I would finish this beast od a race - no matter what!
The aid station was there..... a door opened and.... Niclas Gällentoft was there.... rolling easily outside towards the gravel road. We saluted! A strange feeling crossed my mind. We managed to gather minutes on him from the 100th km all the way to that point! Crazy but true! "He must have great issues and problems!": I told to Markus. This is definitely not his day/race!
We refilled our energy and after a few minutes we were out of the station. Here happened a tricky situation where I managed to let the door close and by this closing out Mervi Heiskanen(the aid station manager). She tried the door code several times and we were there lite crazy dudes standing trying to help without understanding a thing actually! Fredrik Reinhold and Joachim came after a few minutes. They managed to refill the liquids that were luckily positioned outside the warm aid station.
The fight..... or not....
We started rolling again Markus and I. This time I had a nasty "thing" in my head. Niclas had just approx 10 minutes of advantage! "If I push just a little bit I could...... Markus can also, he is strong! Let's...."
PAIN! A LOT of pain in my right knee just where the muscle connects to the quadriceps! I was worried.... a LOT! That was not a good thing approx 16k before the finish line! Not at all!!!
"Forget Niclas!!!... Just forget everything...... Focus!!! What do we have here!??" I tried to figure out what was the issue. I wanted to salute Markus and let him run without me, but he acted like a real friend. He waited a little. The pain vanished after a tough massage. Just 1 minute was enough to run again without the pain. But that pain was inside me... in my head now! My demons!!!!
Luckily the technical trail came so I could have full attention on other things..... It felt good until..... THE VOICES!
It was Fredrik and Joakim. They passed us easily.... I kept the pace.... we were running together.... a nice pace indeed. I passed them again.... great boost again! That one was a lovely energy play and it could have lasted if my knee was good, but I did'n want to take any chances there in the woods, not on that trail! So I decided simply to back off!
The rain stopped, the daylight came back and suddenly everything seemed as it should be! I was happy for Niclas and Fredrik..... I was happy that Markus was there, we rolled nicely that last section, we took pictures, we chat..... we had fun! We were tired.... a LOT! But this was an adventure that we will cherish for years!
The end of the race...
The end of the race was simply amazing! Markus had his two daughters who ran toward us, and we managed to run happily with a lovely jump over the finish line all together! Amazing!
I felt great! That moment is always an emotional one and it's a great thing is to be able to share it with somebody you ran with! Thank you Markus! Thanx to your family too - great help indeed! :)
First of all I have to thanx my family! My children and wife that managed to cope with this tired dude racing crazy races! That is not an easy task. But they accepted this task, this experiment and I love that! The fact that they were up on the top of Änggårdsbergen was just amazing, in the rain waiting for me to pass that point! That is love!!!
I have to thank Markus, his family - the race was not easy and they made it possible to make it easier thanx to their presence, help and understanding..... priceless!!! By the way, Markus is going to be a powerful ULTRA - member! Count on him!!! :)
Thanx to the race director Tomas Amnesgod for creating this great adventure around the city of Gothenburg along the Aktivitus Team! Great job!
Thanx to all the volunteers for helping us on the course, cheering, supporting in the cold, rain, dark and windy night! Simply amazing! Great people as well..... Priceless!!! You rock! ;)
A huge thanx to Oscar - my only pacer! We ran just a few times in group, never together. But he managed to cruise those trails with ease keeping our motivation, concentration and running on top! Great job!!!
I make no promises.... but this is something I might do again..... maybe! I surely recommend the race.... if you think you are tough enough! Try it! One thing is for sure - You will see and "feel" the best trails in this area! :)