Sandsjöbacka Trail Marathon 2023
Image by Printbild.se
Image by Printbild.se
I planned to race the 90k distance and try to beat my old PB in a tough race curse. The problem was (and still is) that my foot is not att 100% capacity and running the distance could potentially damage the whole season. That was a tough dilemma. The choice to DNS (Did Not Start) is as tough as the DNF (Did Not Finish) but the DNS one has the "planning" component in it. It's you that decided not to race. There is no drama in it.
At the end I'm very proud that I had the courage to choose not to race and I'm very happy with it. Yes, I trained, I was and still am in a pretty nice shape but racing a trail race where the trail conditions are all but perfect would be a killer for me.
So what I did instead? What about the title of this article?
I planned to help a bit with the race anyways. So on Thursday evening after 8hrs of working in the office, cooking for my family and all, I went out with 700 marking flags in order to mark my section of the course. I took the bus to Lindome from Mölndal and that ran/hiked the rest of the section to the very start om my section. I know the section of the course very well BUT it started snowing! The cold, the dark, the mud made the flooded trails VERY challenging. I moved slowly and I ran ONLY where I had the confidence to do so. After all I was there just to do a JOB! And to do it properly!
After 20k I was back home quite frozen and pretty tired. I was really worried about those trails and hoped that the terrain would froze before the race. That section of mine was like 20% NOT runnable at all.
On Friday evening I had another appointment with the race. I was there at the Sisjön CP with other fellow runners assisting the runners running the 30k course. Those hours just vanished away and I was back home. It was quite strange to be there on the "other side" of the show. Still, this was not my first nor the last time. I kinda like to provide service to the community. It feels "right" and it's very rewarding indeed.
The day after, on Saturday, my friends ran the 60k course and I went out to meet a few friends of mine. I ran back to the Sisjön CP and from there I filmed many runners on my way back to the Oxsjön lake. It's a very nice area and the trails are quite easy and fast. I had so much fun cheering all the passing by fellow runners. It was lovely. I felt both happy for them (because I do know what a boost you feel from a known cheering friend out there in the middle of nowhere) but I felt almost sad that I was actually a spectator and not a runner. Anyways, I wanted to find Branislav and Alex and check on them. The idea was to find them and run back to the Änggårdsbergen Natural Park and from there back home. And that was exactly what happened. Just after Oxsjön I met the boys that were in a great shape. They were running very relaxed and in a good spirit. As it should be. This format that they ran is a very unique one. The runner will experience 3 separate races in 3 days collecting peaces of a single medal and hopefully complete the puzzle of the race that consists in:
- Friday 30k
- Saturday 60k
- Sunday 90k
I managed to film a bit that day that ended with ca. 20k in my legs. You may see the film here:
The day after I chose to run a bit while my son was visiting friends. So I drove my son to Lindome and after that I drove to Spårhaga (the starting place of my marking the course section). I just went out to the trail and not even 5 minutes after that Branislav and Alex were in front of me. Amazing timing indeed! :) I ran approx. 5k with them filming a bit with my GoPro. The idea was not to make a film or something. I wanted just to film that part of the course in daylight. I'm not that often in that part of the Sandsjöbacka Nature Reserve. After a chatty run with Branislav and Alex and other runners I returned back running back to the car. It felt amazing running back. That feeling was so amazing that I just forgot the foot injury! That was one of the danger possibilities of the race - to forget! After 3k I remembered. It was a tiny stone that made me remember. A tiny pain broke my "amnesia"! No problems, I finished my run happy and I decided there that I would run a little bit more with the boys at the evening.
At the evening I had to pick my son, cook dinner and the usual things and rush to Axgatan (southern part of Änggårdsbergen) to meet the runners. According to the GPS signal Branislav was still near the motorway. I seemed a bit unusual that they made just a 500mt gain in almost 1h but I went easily out and enjoyed the frozen trails, filmed and chat a bit with other runners, met Mikael Svalstrand as well and was pleased to see that we was crushing it!
When I was under the motorway I was kinda asking myself what was happening.... and when I met some runners that were waaaay back in the race I was like.... GPSSSSS!!!!! I checked the phone and Branislav was in the MIDDLE of Änggårdsbergen! That was like 4k from my spot. I took the road to Safjället and ran to that hill with a pace that I did NOT use for weeks or even months! I was running fast and I was kinda enjoying the speed! Yeah, nothing too fancy but for me that was fast! :)
Anyhow, I reached the hill and the race course. Decided to climb to the top of the climb and stay put there and just wait for them. It took like 2 minutes and in the silence I heard them at the bottom of the climb to Safjället.
We ran together a bit and boy they were still killing it! This was the first 100 mile race for Alex and wow.... he did great indeed! Well done!
I climbed the Hobo Hill with them and after that I turned back home. After all, I got more that 20k even on Sunday.
Monday was another usual day in the office. A quite tough and intensive one actually. After 8h there and the evening with the family I went out once again. Took the bus to Lindome and once again I was out there heading towards Spårhaga to clean the trails! It was cold but no wind at all. The calm and the silence in the woods was quite unique. It's recharging! After 5h in the woods I was once again out in Mölndal closing the mission removing the last flags from the course. I was soooo tired but happy with the whole "race". I managed to collect more than 20k even on Monday!
So, at the end of it all I ended this weekend with the nice distance of 87.5km! Not bad after all!
I almost got the race distance! Could I have raced? The answer is NOT! To run, have fun in the woods and just be out the moving is one thing. Collecting miles and hours is a great training and is indeed effective and efficient for the overall training but racing a race is something else. You consume a lot of energy and the body will get a lot of beating. After the weekend I was a bit tired but nothing compared to the tiredness that one has to experience after a race.
Still, there are races and races. Races where you give your best effort and those that you use just to get a quality training and "feel" the distance or just want to be a part of a nice event and have fun. Me.... I just had fun. This time with no medal but I enjoyed it anyways! Would I do this again? Sure! What about next year?
I really hope to be in a good shape and run the Sandsjöbacka Triple! :)
Thank you all for an amazing event! Well done!
INFO of the race:
Web site: http://sandsjobackatrail.se
Facebook: Sandsjöbacka Trail on Facebook
Images from the race: Printbild.se