My experience of 10MILA 1981 – Mats Hellstadius

Mats ran the last leg for the club Malmby IF. Their expectations weren’t too high, they hoped “maybe for a 10th-15th place” says Mats.

“I remember I was very nervous. During the night I didn’t sleep very well. We slept in military tents at the competition center and the speaker talked all night. I lay nervously listening to the speaker saying my team were among the leading teams. That night it was extremely cold outside, it was raining and snowing.”

Mats says the relay started earlier in the day in 1981. The reason was the newspapers had to write about the competition before printing and publishing. First you ran a couple of legs in daylight and then during the night until the finish in the early morning.

“After the change over to the last leg my team was in fifth place. Ahead of me was Lars “Löken” Lönnkvist, Kjell Lauri and two Finnish teams. There was a small gap between the teams. I had no contact with them so I ran alone. It was my first year as a senior, and the opposing teams had really good runners on their last legs. I didn’t think I had a chance to catch up with the four teams ahead of me. I made a small mistake to the first control which cost me maybe two minutes, but after that I kept cool all course. I dropped my headlight when we had a control near the competition center, they were so heavy these times and the sun had already risen. At that point I hadn’t seen any of the other runners, so I was surprised hearing that only Lars “Löken” Lönnkvist was ahead of me.

No other teams could manage to recap the gap. Mats kept his second place also the last kilometers of the fifteen kilometer long course.

“I didn’t really mind that the last hundred meters were muddy, we ran over the finish line as the second team and it was sensational for us!”

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Name: Mats Hellstadius

Club 1981: Malmby IF

Current club: Södertälje-Nykvarn Orientering

Do you want to share your experience of 10MILA in Kungsängen 1947, 1981 or 2005? Send a mail to for more information.