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Day 1 at the MLAU 2024

By 4. March 2024NEWS ENGLISH
Copyright: Callum Jolliffe

Yesterday morning, March 3rd, the participants of the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra 2024 started their adventure at our Grand Arctic Resort start line. Even though the weather was less than ideal, everyone was in a great mood and enjoying the superb atmosphere. It was really nice to see so many local visitors who were there to join us and also to have a great time in the “Lapland Arctic Ultra Arena” – an initiative by the Överkalix Kommun. Local businesses supported this project and there was a program for several hours that also included a kid’s race.

With temperatures above zero degrees it was no surprise that the trail turned soft. It was very challenging to walk, run or bike in conditions like this for hours on end. The only ones who were able to move fast, were our skiers. In the case of the locals Felix Granberg and Andreas Vennberg, it was actually very fast. I told them that I would look forward to seeing just how quick a good skier can be on the kind of trail our race can offer, and it felt like they were on a mission to do exactly that. Felix won the 20 km race, arriving in Rödupp at 11:15 and Andreas Vennberg finished the 50 km race at 14:31. Mind you, conditions were not perfect for them, either. With normal temperatures and better trails they would likely have been even faster.

We had two athletes who did not show for the 20km race but all others finished. Signe and Anders Malmer, both also from Sweden and on skis, placed 2nd. 2nd in rank after Andreas, in the 50 km race to Jockfall, was local biker David Frosman. 3rd came German Katharina Zirngibl on foot. Richard Weremiuk and Paula Cairey, both from the UK, had to scratch. All other 50 km athletes reached the finish line. For the full rankings, please check out our Results Table, which will be updated soon. Congratulations to you all and a big THANK YOU for having joined us in the premier of the 20 and 50 km race distances. I also want to thank all helpers at the aid stations that were in place to support us for these race distances!

In the meantime, the athletes in the 185 and 500 km races were also challenged by the soft trail. Way ahead was and is skier Mathieu Bonnier from France. However, other athletes who normally would make us work hard to be able to keep up, amongst them fatbiker Florian Reiterberger from Germany – who had previously won the 500 km distance – were suffering. Biking was almost impossible, which meant these participants had to push their bikes a lot. Most athletes on foot used snowshoes. I saw many of them at the 20 km mark in Rödupp. Since we all know that we can’t change the weather, our athletes kept their spirits high. Some of them were clearly suffering and I am sure using a swearword or two on the way. When we met them they still were able to make jokes about it.

Overnight, all athletes have kept moving and a few are now (it is 3:30am) taking some rest time. Mathieu reached the Jockfall checkpoint, where he plans to have an early breakfast. Others will soon arrive here, too. Further back, our participants are fine, too. They are doing the right thing, which is to not go over their respective limits on the first day.

The Jockfall crew is ready for more arrivals and our crew at Polar Circle Cabin #1 is also in place. We do not expect it to be significantly easier today but hopefully slightly colder temperatures tomorrow night help to compact the trail a bit more.