Jukola Relay

Nearly 15000 people descended on an old airfield in Jmi, Finland, for the 2004 Jukola Relay. The biggest in the world, with over 700 women's teams and 1300 in the men's.
The mens relay started very late in the evening, 23:30, however this is the real north and in midsummer things never really get that dark. With the salute from the cannon 1314 men stampeded down the run-out and into the forest. It wasnt very long before they reached the first online control, 2.5km into the course in a time of just 8:30 minutes, thats under 3:30 kms!!! The terrain at the beginning was flat, with absolutely nothing to prohibit running other than a thin layer of lichen, the pace soon dropped down (but not much) when the entered to marshy area with interspersed open rocky knolls. Sdertlje-Nykvarn were the first team back, with Ivar Hagen running 71:44 for the 13.8km course. Favourites Halden SK were just 20 seconds behind. The betting office in the assembly area had made it clear that they though Halden would win, with other hot favourites including Kelevan Rasti, Sdertlje-Nykvarn and IFK Gteborg. The second leg went even faster than the first, WOC03 bronze medallist ystein Kristiansen ran 64:23 for 13.7km for Halden SKs second team! Halden SK 2 lead the pack, punching the finish joint first with Halden SK 1, Kalevan Rasti were in 3rd, 30 seconds down. The main pack of 180 teams followed, 3 minutes off the pace. As in the Tio Mila Jarkko Huovila set out in the front on the long night leg, and as in the Tio Mila he came back in first place, with only a 2 minute lead over OK Orion. Delta and Kalevan Rasti were in =3rd 3 minutes behind. The next 2 legs were 8.5km and only went in the super-fast area, briefly going into the edge of the marshes for 1 control. Halden SK kept the lead with Kelevan Rasti in 2nd, Orion 3rd, Delta 4th and Kristiansand SK 5th, by now it was almost full daylight and the sun was coming up, it was 3:30 in the morning. Halden set out with a good lead onto the second of the short courses, however some mistakes allowed Kelevan Rasti to get back within 20 seconds, running the 8.5km course in just 32 minutes. The fastest runner was Mrten Bostrm, with a fantastic time of 31:37, running in 3:34s min/kms!!! Delta set off onto leg 6 nearly 4 minutes behind to front 2 teams. 12km and 59 minutes later Mats Haldin was back, handing over to Emil Wingstedt for last leg. 13 seconds later Kelevan Rastis last leg was into the forest, Thierry Gueorgiou. Despite gaffeling the 2 remained together, setting an amazing pace. As they passed through the first spectator control Wingstedt had a 10 second lead, again Wingstedt came to the 2nd and final spectator control, just seconds in front of Gueorgiou. Thousands gathered in the finish arena to see who would be victorious. A large cheer went up when Thierry emerged from the forest to the last control 10 seconds or so before Emil. With just 350m to the finish it was nearly an impossible task to make up, Kelevan Rasti win the Jukola 2004.

1 Kelvan Rasti Finland 6.51.51, 86.4km
40 Mikael Bostrm +1:23
3 Samuli Launiainen +0:32
4 Tommi Tlkk +3:03
2 Harri Romppanen +2:32
2 Antti Harju +0:20
2 Simo Martomaa +0:13
1 Thierry Gueorgiou

2 Halden SK Norway +0:10
3 Delta Finland +6:01
4 Kristiansand OK Norway +11:03
5 Vehkalahden Veikot Finland +13:00
6 Malungs OK Sweden +13:06
7 Sdertlje-Nykvarn Sweden +13:10
8 OK Orion Sweden +13:23
9 Tampereen Pyrint Finland +13:24
10 Turun Metsnkvijt Finland +15:07

For full results check the Jukola Website

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