After a pretty hectic weekend I have managed to sit down and reflect on what I have been lucky to be part of. I arrived in Katowice on Thursday night and got picked up by lovely two guys from the Norwegian Squad. Peter had already sourced out a nice little restaurant next to the airport so as it was getting late we decided to get some food straight away. The staff in the restaurant didn’t speak much English, but we managed to order some nice food in the end anyway. When we arrived at the hotel I met the rest of the team and they were all extremely welcoming from the minute I met them!
Next day I went for a little half an hour run with 3 of the Norwegian runners, it was nice to just get moving a bit after the travelling the day before. I then went on to prepare and massage 4 of the runners to make sure they were all set and ready for the next morning. We also had a little meeting to discuss and agree on how the food/drink strategy would work during the competition. All the runners had different requirements, and although I was a bit nervous if I would be able to give them the right food and drinks at the right time, I believe all the people in the support team managed to keep them on top of their game throughout the duration of the race.
In the evening on the Friday we went to the opening ceremony with all the other nations. There was a pretty spectacular performance by a gymnast who was hanging upside down from what looked like bed sheets most of the time!What she was doing demanded some serious strength; I was just scared she would fall down!
Following the ceremony we went for a nice meal together with the Swedish squad. They were all really nice people! We all went to bed early to make sure we were ready for the big day ahead.
On the Saturday morning we headed to the venue which was a really nice park called Park Slozi about 1 hour and 30 minutes before it was due to start. We had all been given a designated area to use were we could prepare and get all the food ready. I don't think I have seem so much food in my life before, so I felt a bit like Gordon Ramsey at some point preparing all these wonderful pasta and noodle dishes as well as about 5 - 10 different energy drinks. However as the race progressed the guys started getting pretty bored and fed up of of having to eat all the time, so that was when I had to start using my firm voice to demand them all to eat enough and they all did really well!
The Norwegian runners did really well; most of the runners stuck to their race plan and managed to get a good start. Unfortunately Per Audun Heskestad had to pull out after 100 km of some initial running followed by a lot of walking due to injury. It was the sensible thing to do, but I can tell you that the willpower these runners got is something I have NEVER experienced before. You can imagine (or can you!?) how running for 24 hours around a 1544 meter loop does start to challenge your mental concentration and motivation after 6,8,16 and even 20 hours of constant running! The pain they have to put their bodies through is unbelievable! The size of some of the blisters and bruises I saw this weekend was something hardcore I have never seen in my life!
The Norwegian team came 8th overall in the World and 6th in Europe. Gjermund Sørstad ran furthest of the Norwegian runners and he manage to do 247 787km and came 11th in the world and 9th in Europe! Amazing! We had 5 of our runners in the top 40 (I know Per Audun would have been up there and gotten a great result if it wasn't for his injury!)
My norwegian readers can also check out http://www.kondis.no/kondis-har-fulgt-emvm-24-timers.5087631-127676.html for more detailed information about the overall results
As well as helping the Norwegian team I also got asked to help a Swedish woman that was in need of “a sharp elbow in her glut” to help her along the way. I did of course do my best to help her several times and hopefully it paid off as she managed to come 24th with 208,265 km! Very impressive!
After the race everyone was so pleased to have finished! We of course had to celebrate with champagne and it was a great moment!
I can truly say that it was a fantastic experience and I am lucky to have met such a great bunch of people! Being part of a Norwegian Team is always a massive privilege and it is was great to be able to help people from my native country!