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KONGSBERG was strongly represented during the Lofoten Ultra Trail. The event turned out to be a great opportunity to get to know people in other parts of the company.
Text:Ove Ronny Haraldsen
Photo:Ove Ronny Haraldsen
It is three o'clock in the morning. The fog has begun to drift in from the sea, bringing tiny raindrops that stick to clothes and equipment. In the pale light, the runners appear up on the mountainside. We are standing at the checkpoint. The runner for the next stage is getting ready. Runners closing the checkpoint are feeling their legs getting increasingly heavy and cramps starts building up. The runners are cheered in by locals with flags and music. The GPS chip changes owner. A new runner with fresh legs sets out on 22 kilometers over mountains, on trails, in bogs and on the road. I pick my phone out of my pocket. A map shows how the teams are doing on the track. 100 miles – 160 kilometers - must be completed over 10 stages. A lot can happen before the finish line in Svolvær after about 24 hours of relay in Lofoten. This is one of many scenes that unfolded when seven teams from KONGSBERG participated in the Lofoten Ultra Trail Relay this weekend. Four teams competed in the 100-mile course, while three teams competed in the 50-mile course. In addition, 4 runners competed in the individual class of 50 miles, while one KONGSBERG-runner had to assist an injured man down from the mountain.
The response was overwhelming when the initiators went out and invited employees in KONGSBERG to participate in the race. It quickly became clear that this would be a good teaming event for KONGSBERG. In the months before the race, participants met for joint training. Arriving in Lofoten, the participants gathered for group photos and a joint meal the night before the race. Experiences with the different stages is shared. Trekking poles or not during the race? How much water do you need in your backpack or vest? The logistics of cars and exchanges are discussed. The community around the race gathers us into one KONGSBERG. We stand as one common team, although the element of healthy internal competition is certainly present.
The first leg of the 100 miles relay started at 1pm on Friday in glorious weather. Around midnight, the fog began to drift in from the sea and the wind increased in strength. Over the mountain the fog was dense, and the runners had to occasionally orientate only with GPS to find the track. The pink flags that marked where to run simply disappeared into the white. Simultaneously, the individual race of 100 miles is ongoing. People from all over the world who run the distance alone. These runners are moving in a distinctive running style. Along the route, the local community has opened community houses and schools. Here, hot soup, sliced fruit, buns and coffee are served. And at one of the houses - locally produced cheese. Inside the cozy warmth, some choose to take a power nap, others patch sore legs before running on. Personally, I still feel my stage well in my legs. The respect for these practitioners grows through the night. In the morning on Saturday we can see that the teams in the 100 miles relay are starting to approach the finish line in Svolvær. Now it has been raining heavily all morning. After 21 hours and 39 minutes, the first team from KONGSBERG passes the finishing line. Just over eight minutes behind comes the next team from KONGSBERG. These teams run into a fourth and fifth place respectively. Behind two teams from the Norwegian Armed Forces and another business team. After 23 hours and 20 minutes, KONGSBERG team number three arrives, and after 24 hours and five minutes, all teams from KONGSBERG have reached the finish line and completed one of the most demanding relays that are arranged.
Saturday at 09.00 is also the start of the 50 miles relay and individual class. They have 12 hours before the banquet which is held in the evening. All teams reached that deadline by a good margin. After 10 hours, the first team from KONGSBERG crosses the finish line as winners of the 50 miles relay. Then the other two KONGSBERG teams follow respectively ten and 26 minutes behind. In the individual race Andre Rolandsen was the fastest runner from KONGSBERG, finishing on a respectable 6th place in total. During the banquet, the table was set for good food and an informal award ceremony for teams and participants who excelled in particular. As well as an extra recognition to the initiators behind KONGSBERG's participation. After the race, the participants are left with new acquaintances across the company, a shared experience that will grow over time, and motivation for continued training and focus on a possible new participation on the Lofoten Ultra Trail next year.