Start and finish of the Montane Lapland Arctic Ultra (MLAU) will be in Överkalix, Sweden. It will enable the athletes to experience Swedish-Lapland, an area that is often referred to as Europe’s last wilderness. The start date is February 7th, 2021. Available distances in our first year will be 185 and 485 km. Possible disciplines are foot, xc-ski and mountainbike.
Dealing with Covid-19
Like the rest of the world, Sweden has been affected by Covid-19. Most of you will know that the Swedish government has, in certain aspects, taken a less strict approach when it comes to the prevention of spreading the virus. That does not mean that people can do anything and that there are no regulations at all. I also feel that we as foreigners coming to this beautiful country have a very strong responsibility to do anything we can in order not to bring Covid-19 to the region where we are being hosted.
Therefore, we have to make changes to a lot of procedures we normally have in place, before, during and after the race. However, I still believe that you will experience great hospitality and when you are out on the trail, looking up a the Northern Lights and breathing the fresh, cold air, you will gather the energy, motivation and strenght you need when you get back home – to stay positive until hopefully soon this pandemic will come to an end.
Another reason why we need to have certain measures in place is that without distancing and hygiene just one positive case of Covid-19 may mean the entire race needs to end while we are in the middle of it. If we are smart and cautious, we should be able to prevent this.
Our Covid-19 operational plan will exceed what current Swedish regulations demand. The following are the main measures that will affect athletes:
- You are aked to try and be as careful as you can while travelling, i.e. please wear a face mask (covering nose and mouth at all times), keep your distance and stick to the rules of recommended hygiene.
- Once in Sweden we ask for permanent distancing of 2 metres at all times – before, during and after the race.
- We will have solutions in place for recommended hygiene measures, e.g. hand washing stations and desinfectants.
- There will not be a pre-race dinner.
- Our race briefing will be sent out in writing and we will see if we can set-up an online meeting for Q&A.
- Race checkpoints will serve hot water but none of them will have meals – which means you need to have sufficient expedition meals/food yourself.
- We have yet to decide about sleeping inside at the checkpoints. There is a chance that access to the inside in most places will be limited to emergencies. The good news is that temperatures in this area of Swedish Lapland should not go below – 35° Celsius.
- When you come in contact with crew at checkpoints – even if you can keep your 2 meters of distance – you are asked to cover nose and mouth with a face mask. This also goes for the time before the race.
- Even though the local regulations may not require it, we also ask you to wear a face mask when coming in contact with the local population, e.g. when entering or leaving a restaurant, on transfers or when inside for grocery shopping, etc.
We are also analysing how we can implement a Covid-19 test strategy that is possible for all, makes sense and helps us to further reduce the risk of spreading the virus.
Soon there will be a Covid-19 section in our menu and we will keep updating it.
I realise that some of these rules are painful. I for example always really enjoy our pre-race dinner and seeing the excitement of everyone the night before the start. However, I am sure that the time on the trail will make up for it.
If of course you are sick and tired of distancing, hygiene and other Covid-19 related rules, it means it likely is better if you join us in 2022.
Signing up for the MLAU
The Application & Waiver is ready. Anybody who want to join us at the startline in Överkalix, please send me an email and I will provide you with the forms. All athletes who had signed up for the Yukon will get priority. Any remaining spots will go to people who had already expressed an interest. If there are not enough spots I will open a waiting list.
Althletes who had signed up for the Yukon and will not be able to sign up for Sweden, will get an 80% refund on the deposit. Athletes who had signed up for the Yukon and now will come to Sweden will get 100% refund on their MYAU deposit and will receive a new invoice for the race in Sweden. I have to do that due to VAT regulations.
Any athletes who had not signed up for MYAU but want to come to Sweden will have the same procedures in place that we use for Canada, i.e.
- I will have a skype interview with you in English to discuss important aspects of the race.
- Anybody without previous outdoor experience in extremely cold temperatures, will have to do a 4-day winter survival course in Kalix before the race.
All rental gear I have is in the Yukon. I still intend to provide rental gear in Överkalix. I simply will build up a stock of gear there, too. In order to have everything ready in time, I would like to ask all participants to confirm their rental gear needs asap. Please check out the rental gear section to see what will be available.
A big THANK YOU
I want to send out a big thank you to:
Linnea Nilsson-Waara and Niclas Bentzer who were the ones suggesting Överkalix as a possible location and who went out of their way to establish contacts, to answer my hundreds of question and then hosted me in their great home just 100 metres south of the Arctic Circle.
Peter Mild who helped with his input and designed our new race logo.
Överkalix Municipality for immediately coming on board and supportung our effort by allocating resources to it.
Heart of Lapland and Swedish Lapland marketing initiatives who provided vital feedback and support in many aspects including media and PR.
The members of Överkalix Snöskoter Klubb without whom there would not be a trail and thus of course no race.
Sofie Holmgren from Överkalix Camping and Ann-Sofie Landin & team from Jockfall Camping for being supportive and coming up with a plan for accommodation and booking (info to follow soon).
Sven Olov Larsson from Projekt Nystarten, Ronny Carlsson and Viktoria Lundgren from Innova Print, Mats Ahlbäck from Ahlbäcks Taxi, Sofia Ahlbäck from Reko Biluthyrning and the many more people who have been so helpful and will hopefully all become part of our race.
Thank you also to Diane Patrick and all the many volunteers who already are planning their trip to Sweden to help us have a great race!