The WOC story pt. 2 – The long distance

6 10 2019

One day to go
One day to go to the long distance final and the championships started with the middle qualification. My legs felt heavy, but the course was tough and the terrain as well, and a heavy feeling was calculated as I often feel heavy the first fast run after some easy days. Normally I do this start up the day before the first competition, but as the WOC week was going to be tough in total, I limited my fast sessions for the week, by taking this start up at the middle quali. This worked well as I still did solid orienteering and ended 2nd in my heat, just some seconds behind. Now, this shit will start for real. My next race, is the long distance final. Let’s go!

middle Q.jpg

The long distance day
Late start and almost 6 hours in quarantine. However, this time went on quite fast. I was perhaps one of the few who were happy about the views we had from quarantine 2: a lot of running over the golf course. “This will suit me well”.

Some minutes after 4 o’clock p.m I grabbed my map and the race started. No rush, but offensive. I got the first controls okay and went on the long route to control 5. Almost 1k of asphalt running and an easy way up to the control. I knew the long legs are super important on a long distance and I felt I nailed the first one. The following controls went on solid as well, and I felt my legs were on a good enough level today. After 30 minutes of running I was clear 2nd , 1:23 behind Tove.

longstart svenA.jpg

Now it was time for the 2nd long leg. I chose route choice while running on the 1st long leg, but I should have looked for the options once more before leaving that control, with some more information about the forest terrain in that part of the map. However, I went for the left route and was met by high grass on the open field. Then I started to feel the first tiredness and lost the grip while heading the wide stream. I spent some time searching for a passage, and found a narrow woodcut. One deep breath to find some balance skills when the heart rate is over 90 %, and I made it without falling into the water. We had got information about this stream being deep, and I didn’t want to take the risk jumping in it as it would take more time to pass it and also risk the map being wet and dirty. After this I struggeled with both the map reading and the running flow for some minutes, but got it back and finish that leg solid. However, I had lost a lot of time, and was now 3rd in the race (which I of course didn’t know anything about at this moment of the race).

Then 45 minutes of the race had passed, and this is the time when you start to feel some tiredness and when it is easy to start to do the silly mistakes. I felt I had done mostly good stuff so far, and it was not so many controls before entering the golf course and arena passing. I continued to choose easy route choices where my speed could be high. Coming closer to the arena I heard people shouting I was in the lead – but I had an quite early start among the runners in the game for the medals, but I also heard that I still was in the lead at a previous radio control after 6k which confirmed a my feelings of this being a good race so far. I ran through the arena with a, at that moment, 30 seconds lead to Simona Aebersold, “but Lina has lost a lot of time against Simona since the last radio control”, the speaker said. Shit, how fast is she going? I haven’t done any mistakes? At that moment I could chose between my thoughts of her being strong and me being tired, or focus on me being in the lead and push the tiredness away and just focus on the last loop. One control at the time. I pushed hard out of the arena, not being a quitter, but a fighter. It was a true fight against my mind to keep the grip on the map and being offensive in the terrain, which was super heavy with high blueberry bushes and many smaller marshes. Once again out on the golf course, for the last time. I had catched some runners who started ahead and had these backs towards the 3rd last control. When approaching the 2nd last, I heard Thierry shouting that I am running for a medal.

When hearing this, I can feel my body want to react emotionally on this. I mean, a medal!? My dream! I am in the fight for it, but do I have it or what is happening?! But, the race wasn’t finished. I had to put these emotions on hold. 2 controls left, basically just running over the golf course, but there are still one minute of work that has to be done, and this minute could be the one to decide everything. It could end up in seconds. I have to push all I got, and just focus on one step after the other. And so I did. I tried to increase my speed. I remember hearing people cheering, but everything is a bit grey. I am still truly connected to my mind, my determination of ending this with full focus, and keep the grip. Those last meters the grip was not about the map grip, but the grip of my sprinting; fast feet against the finish line.


I crossed the finish line, falling and rolling in the grass. I heard I had managed to keep the lead. I finished with a new best time by 44 seconds and the speaker said this will probably be a medal race. But during this moment, when lying in the grass, closing my eyes, feeling the lactate acid in my legs and my heart rate pumping fast – I felt I had done everything I could. Everything. Up to this day and during the race. I opened my eyes, raised up and met people. I remember hugs and smiles. Håkan told me it probably will be a medal, but that both Marika Teini and Sabine Hauswirth may be in the fight, ”but Sabine is most probably too far behind”.

finsih line remy steinegger

Then I went towards the media zone. Stopped by SVT, and right before this interview the feelings about this ”fight” got to me. I started to cry even before the first question, and there was no way of holding back. “At least this is good TV”, I said in between my tearing…  During all interviews my medal was clear, but was it going to be a silver or a bronze? Tove was running for a clear gold, but Marika Teini passed the arena only 14 seconds behind me, but she lost time and some minutes later, when Tove finished, I knew the silver was mine! I met Tove and we could celebrate together; a great feeling for sure. A double win for Sweden, Tove being a superhero with her amazing race – the best one in history so far – and me taking my first individual medal. I was stuck with a smile for the rest of this day.

The bubble after the silver medal
I am super proud of this race and I am thankful to all of you who have sent your greetings. I tried to stay in the bubble for some time. Those feelings which takes over your body after performances like these are something extra and something which is hard to feel other times. However, this was not the last race of the WOC week, two more important ones are ahead. I was prepared for this, putting a deadline of celebrating and when to start up the middle focus.

Photos without photograper mark: Sven Alexandersson (and the last one: WOC 2019)



One response

7 10 2019
Bjorn G

Great joy to see someone putting it all together at the highest level after trying and trying again. Congrats!


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