Tiomila - pure excitement
Tiomila 2009 is history. For me it's special history. Some years ago, when I was running the first leg for the first time, I thought it might me a wonderful feeling to be the first man heading into the finish after the first leg. Of course, in the end the total teamposition counts, but it's also a matter of prestige to lead after the first leg.
And today i can say, I managed to know how it feels to be the fist man at the finish line after the first leg. It's just amazing.
The first leg from my view: As I could see from the women's race, it was difficult to overtake runners in the green areas immediately after the start, if you are too far back at the start triangle. So I tried to minimize the gap to the leading teams, which were, as usually, sprinting to the start point. Some runners even crashed on the way to the start triangle, I hope noone behind them stepped on them. Once in the forest, the speed was reduced dramatically and the first passages through the marshes and green areas appeared quickly and at the same time the number of branches which struck your face increased rapidly. The closer we got to the control, the more runners started to hesitate. Luckily, I could catch me up a stone wall before the control and had no problem to continue my way. I punched the control from our gap on the second place, but on the way to the second control I got stuck in a yellow, green striped area and many runners passed me. At the first intermediate control, after 30 minutes I was on place 41, about 45 seconds behind the leading teams. Afterwards, I could steadily reduce the gap and due to some different route choices, I could pass the spectators area already on the 4th place.
During the following controls, I was on the second position. But as always, if you make a small mistake, many runners pass you, as it happend to the 5th last control and I fell back to place 15 or similar. This was the moment when I got tired in my brain and simultaneously in my legs. At the 3rd last control I recognised all runners, punching ahead of me, decided to take the more direct route through the yellow, green striped area. As I knew from the second control, I have decided before to take the route on the left side via the path.
All my tiredness disappeared, and it was motivating as I noticed the other runners screaming and fighting through the branches. I also had to take some meters up to the control through the ugly clear-cutting, but I recognised that I overtook all the others. On the way to the second last control I was close to a cramp, but just close and as I punched the second last control I could hear the speaker's voice, "it's Gernot Kerschbaumer from Helsingin Suunnistajat leading". The feeling was unbelievable, just amazing, hearing so many friends and colleagues cheering for me, THANK YOU.
A dream came true, I won't forget.
Finally, our team Helsingin Suunnistajat took place 53, a little worse than last year, but I think we have promissing young runners. We don't even need perfect results on any leg, but a normal run from everyone, avoiding "bad" runs, and we will be much better classified.