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Counting Down to the Finish at Norcha

Rob Howard / 27.09.2021See All Event Posts Follow Event
Team OMM Nordisk Germany run into the finish
Team OMM Nordisk Germany run into the finish / © Wladimir Togumi -

As the clock ticked towards the midnight course closure at Norcha, teams rode or paddled into Mirandela at regular intervals to cross the finish line.  Those who completed the final trek arrived at the last transition to paddle a few kilometres down the river on SUP’s into the centre of town, passing under the old arched bridge before running back across it and over the line.

The second full course finishers were the delighted Dutchables team, whose performance exceeded their expectations. “We didn’t expect to clear the full course,” said Marijn Edelenbosch, “or to finish on the podium!” 

“I am just pleased to finish,” said Hayke Everwijn, “as this is my first big race and I didn’t even know if I could do it, but I guess I can!  It was difficult in the weather.  It was either freezing cold in the rain or boiling hot.  Yesterday I was shivering all the time after the rain.  I think I slept maybe 4 hours in the whole race.”

The only other full course team were Uruguay Ultra Sports, who have had a few problems to overcome during the race.  Two of them trekked barefoot for a while due to missing shoes, then yesterday 3 of them had stomach problems due to bad food, and they’ve had quite a few hold ups due to missing equipment at transitions, including an hour spent waiting for SUP’s at the last TA. They worked through them all and said the race staff and course had been fantastic.

“I think we were not quite so good at navigation as the Swedish team,” said Reuben Mandure. “We didn’t make many mistakes but we took longer with the route choices.  The Swedes were quicker navigators and mentally strong.”

                                                         Team Jakob on the finish line

Among the other finishers were FAR of Belgium, who were a little disappointed not to have time to get all the checkpoints, but they’ve had a strong race.  So too have Team Jakob, who crossed the line to say they’d got 55 checkpoints and were keen to know how they’d placed, and how many 4 person teams had finished.  Those calculations are going to take a while as most teams have chosen their own version of the route to get them to the finish.

Pernilla Gravenfors said, “We had some problems early in the race and I was sick, but you keep going and things get better somehow.  We were glad there was no short course on the race as sometimes it stops you too early, when you when you could do more.  We were pleased with what we could complete.”

Her team mate, Oskar Molarin was pleased too.  “This is my first big race,” he said, “so it is good to finish, and I feel wide awake right now and not tired.  I was inspired by some of the racers who come from my town, Sonny Peterson and Jari Palonen, and John Karlsson of SAFAT.  I have trained with them a little in the past, but mainly they gave me the inspiration to try. 

“I can see the organisers here wanted to show us the most amazing places in their region, and the scenery was great, passing through all the little villages, the mountains and paddling the canyons.  A big adventure race is a special way to see a country.”

All of the teams have had their own journeys through the regions of Tras-os-Montes and will share their experiences with each other at the presentation gathering tomorrow, once they’ve had a night’s sleep at the race hotel, which is right beside the finish line.  That takes place at 12.30 on Monday.

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