Another Crazy Race


The past two days have seen yet another "crazy race" happening in Sweden, this time in the very north of the country in Gllivare - north of the Arctic Circle. The annual Dunder Dygnet race is a 5 stage running race ran over 30 hours and also features some interesting stages, but for very different reasons compared to the "Crazy Race" reported yesterday here. This year, the fields of 120 men and 40 women include two of Britains top Scandinavia based orienteers, Nick Barrable and Helen Palmer.

Stage 1 - The Trail: A 16.9km race on roads and trails around the town of Gllivare and this course seemed to suit both Nick and Helen. Nick finished in 2nd place, just 36 seconds behind Mats Granstrm - a top Swedish cross country runner, in a time of 64:03 while Helen took 4th place in the womens race with a time of 85:27.

Stage 2 - The Mine: This 4.234km course 600m below the surface in a mine was a complete change in conditions for the runners, with temperatures of just 7 degrees and 90% humidity with helmets manditory for all competitors. Again both Nick & Helen faired well, taking the very same positions that they held in the first race. Nick was 31 seconds down on Granstrm in a time of 13:35 while Helen finished in a time of 16:38, 1:06 behind the winner.

Stage 3 - Midnight Sun Race: A 10.8km mountain trail race starting at Midnight and making use of the Midnight Sun - hence the name of this stage! Despite having already run over 20km in the preceding 14 hours the Brits continued their successful race, Helen this time taking victory in a time of 51:16 to move her up into 2nd place overall. 20 Seconds behind her was the race leader (and stages 1&2 victor) , Ann Bergwall showing that, at 43, age is no barrier. Nick this time had to settle for 3rd place with a time of 39:49, winner once more was Granstrm in a time of 38:57 who leads overall with Nick in 2nd place.

Stage 4 - The Street: The strangeness of this race continues, this time competitors have a sprint stage, in heats of 6, over a 256m course down the main street in Gllivare. This one really opened up the opportunities for other competitors to get involved at the top of the results but Nick again showed great versatility - finishing in equal 5th place in a time of 36.3 seconds. Helen finished in 18th with a time of 49.9 seconds while the fastest time over the 256m course was 34.6, a full 0.7 seconds clear by Pekka Savola.

The times from the previous stages are put together, with the aid of some bizarre maths, to create a chasing start for the final stage, a 2.7km, 350m climb, run up a ski slope (which has been used in the Alpine Skiing World Cup) to the top of the Dundret Mountain. The race information says of this stage "The course goes up one of the easier slopes of the mountain Dundret (the steeper ones are not even possible to walk uphill)." and "At the Dunder Dygnet 2003 only three participants managed to run all the way up." which certainly suggests quite a tough finale for this grueling race. Going into the final stage both Nick and Helen were in 2nd place. Nick was 59 seconds behind the leader Granstrm and almost 3 minutes clear of 3rd place with a host of other runners in close pursuit, would The Mountain provide an opportunity to reclaim these 59 seconds? It would be a tough task. Helen was over 4 minutes behind the women's race leader Ann Bergwall but only 34 seconds clear of the 3rd place runner, would she be able to hold on to 2nd place and could she put any pressure on the leader? With such a tough course to finish on it could be all change on either of the podiums. Previous competitors have said of this stage "Exhausting hill - The longest kilometre I have ever experienced." and "It was just to forget about the pain" - what would Nick and Helen be saying once they had reached the summit?

In the end it was just too much for Nick to overturn, but he did make some inroads on the lead of Granstrm to finish with victory in this stage with a time of 14:25, giving an overall time of 70:24 (after all the changes through their strange formulas), 38 seconds behind the young Swede. Helen unfortunately dropped a place but finishing 5th on the stage, in a time of 21:11, saw her comfortably in 3rd place, 6:21 minutes after the winner in a time of 93:51 overall.

Cheers to Drew for leading us onto this one and keeping us updated.
Full results and race information can be found here:


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