Sunday, July 26, 2015

The Oringen Experience

I would say, most North Americans attending a big Nordic multi-day orienteering competition are struck by the enormous scale.  This year at Oringen, there were 18 058 runners (including a whopping 40 Canadians)…we were joking that if that many people singed up for an event at home we would probably have to cancel it. The logistics surrounding an event this large are crazy! First, there is the camping city that springs up around the Oringen event centre (and the fact that there are cell phone charging stations and a tent that had a wall of washing machines, talk about camping with all the amenities!). Then of course there are all the people that decide not to “rough it” - like us :) and rented houses in the surrounding town.
Anyone got any laundry!?

All these people then get transported to the areas in very organized buses every day. Oringen has loading buses down to an art. As people arrive at the bus stop they are counted and directed into fenced areas so that 3 buses can be loaded simultaneously while the organizers organize people for the next set of buses.

My first five controls on day one
THEN once you get to the area you have a sea of club flags and people to contend with to try and remember where you said your meeting point would be and find someone you know. If that takes too long you will just have to put your stuff among the masses and head off towards your start. It might be a bit of a hike (over 4km…) so allowing yourself 30 mins to the start would be a bit of a brisk and stressful warm up.. AND make sure you go to the right start … there are nine. Thankfully they have idiot proofed the process and it is well signed and all you have to do is look at your bib and follow the signs that are the same sponsor as your bib. Once you actually get out in the forest its time to really concentrate, with fine contour features and bogs that will suck your entire leg in (which explains why they provide washing machines to campers. There is no way you will be dry at the end of this, it's time to be vigilant!

Pick the right finish chute!
Then when the race is almost over and you are getting closer to the area, people are everywhere. Literally everywhere. Running around asking you where there are. If you can ignore the chaos, punch the go control and start your sprint, the last amount of mental energy is dedicated to making sure you run down the right finish chute (again thankfully they are visually coded for our benefits:). The last bit of your race is to compare your finish run-in time with your coach. Ask Brent who one won at the end of the five days… :D And then its time to start the process all over again for the next day 

The arena on the last day, in the Borås football stadium! 

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