My experience of 10MILA 1981 – Kent Bergman

Kungsängen 1981 – My first and only 10MILA victory

Ravinen was that time about what Halden is today. A club with great success both individual and in the big relays as 10MILA, Jukola and SM. For example Ravinen won 5 of 6 swedish championships in M20 between 1973 and 1978, and won M21 1978, 1979, 1980. Ravinen won the men’s relay in 10MILA for the first time 1977, which was kind of a surprise with an average age of 21 in the team. They also won 1979 and 1981 and was probably favourites without winning 1978, 1980 and 1982. Ravinen won the women’s relay in 10MILA 1979-1981.

I was relatively inexperienced when I was chosen to run in the team full of national team runners and other stars. Of course it was fun, but I was very nervous.

My season had been good, so my confidence was good. I was the only one in the team who hadn’t won 10MILA before, so I felt stressed. This was my debut running the really important relays.

I tried to calm myself down. My mission was to transport my team safely through the course. The men on the six last legs were supposed to really fight for the results. It was important for me to run safely and stable. My leg, the 4th, was only 9 kilometers. With a good position in the start, it wouldn’t be any problems. A small detail which worried me was that half the course was calculated to be in the dark, and I wasn’t a good night runner.

This 10MILA was extremely muddy and dirty. The day before the competition it came about 10 cm snow which melt and turned the arena into an ocean of mud. But I didn’t think too much about that during the competition.

Our team didn’t start the relay too good. After two legs we were on 153rd place, about 9 minutes after the lead. The team leaders had put Björn Rosendahl, national team runner and one of our teams best runners, on the 3rd leg, but the question was how much time he could take.

When I was warming up I felt nervous not knowing if we were closer to the leaders or not. There wasn’t any electronic timing, so it was hard following the results while the runners were in the forest. With only a few kilometers left we were reported a few minutes after the lead. Maybe I would get a good position to start with.

Down to the changeover comes a quite big group of runners, with Björn changing over to me in 3rd place, only 6 seconds after the lead. Now it was my turn, my task was to run safe and keep the position.

The tempo was very high in the beginning, with a long transport run in the beginning to come out of the arena. I almost had hard to keep up, but when we came in to the forest it felt better. My tactics was to follow the group and check my map constantly to avoid mistakes. It gradually became darker, directly when we came into the forest I turned my headlight on, and half way through the course it was black as the night. I scared my team leaders up by not being reported from the radio control, sure the leaders needs some excitement too. I did a good race, and I changed over to the 5th leg only 16 seconds after the lead, in 9th place. Mission accomplished!

It was a night filled of excitement, where we lost time on the 6th leg. But soon it was fixed again by our night specialist Olle Nåbo. When Olle changed over to the last leg and Lars ”Löken” Lönnkvist in 2nd place, two second safter, I felt we had a chance to win. Löken ran very good the last leg, and we won 10MILA 1981 6.25 minutes before Malmby.

Kent's map from 1981


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