Sunday, April 29, 2018

Day 8 South African Youth Squad (TioMila Youth Relay experience)

Getting up early is never fun, but this particular morning we were all very excited as we were about to run in the most exciting event we've ever been a part of. Or at least Sarah, Carla, Cameron and I were with Paul and Tania accompanying us. The rest would be joining us later that day. After the Long train ride and 2km walk , we arrived at the event arena that was completely packed with people. A lot more than we were used to back in SA!

( a constant stream of people walking from the rains and their cars)

(the field that was empty the day before-jam packed with club tents) 

We were divided into our relay teams after which a two friendly folks named Max and Martin briefed us on how we would go about the event. The stress was piling up as we had never run an events of this size before...and I had the home run. NO STRESS! A quick T-shirt change and Superman-pose (the photo that went viral among the bunch of orienteers) later, we were ready.

Cameron was the first to get going and started with the masses in the mas-start. A very scary and overwhelming experience according to official reports that came from Cameron.

Nearer to the end of his loop Cameron bought a piece of Swedish ground as he totally lost his footing and fell over a "tree stump" as he reported. I can't really put it into words in the way that does it justice - long story short, but from where we were watching it was extremely funny. In the end Cameron and Carla's team sadly got disqualified, but the team Sarah and I ran in finished 153rd out of  325 teams (of 4 to 6 runners) that started. We were all happy with our results, especially as the amount of fun we had trumped everything else.

(Cameron trying to find the correct map to hand over to Carla!)

(Carla now knew where the map was, so had a much smoother handover)


(the finish sprint, after negotiating the high metal bridge into the arena)

 After our races we found the rest of our youth squad in the OK Ravinen tent. Some of us went out on the open courses while others just relaxed. The guys and I then befriended two women named Hannah and Victoria whom we had a long discussion with about the pros and cons of both Sweden and SA. I'm sure the guys would agree with me that we learnt a lot from these women and hope to see them again in the future.

As the day got late some of us went back to base while the others stayed for another race, that they again enjoyed thoroughly. The trip back was once more long and was made worse by our grumbling stomachs. Upon arrival Tinus and I threw together a Chicken Ala-king. Tinus admittedly did most of the work and everybody found it very delicious- so well-done and thank you Tinus! The rest of the evening we spent playing cards and having random, and loud conversations until the rest of the squad arrived back at 23h30 and sent us packing for bed. Altogether a very much enjoyed and educational day for us all I would say.
Written by Ryno GrovĂ© 

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