Thursday, September 29, 2005


Gubbvad is one of those Swedish words that doesn't have a succinct English translation. It means chronic calf muscle problems, common amongst older male orienteers and runners - "codger's calf" perhaps.

After being struck down last year I had a pain free spring and was starting to hope that I'd put gubbvad behind me. But I was being overly optimistic - my period of remission came to an end in July.

All my running pals, of a certain age, seem to have been afflicted and each has their own patent cure. Drink more, massage, eat bananas, stretch more, stretch less, wear long socks - I've tried them all.

After a summer of rollerskiing I've finally managed to string together a couple of weeks' of running. It's too soon to sell the bear skin - but just perhaps the current regime of magnesium suppliments and eccentric exercises is doing the trick. And even if my luck doesn't last I'll be well prepared for the coming cross-country skiing season.

Wednesday, September 21, 2005


I happened across this film clip last week featuring Thierry. It certainly made me want get out into the forest.

Tero also keeps a (bilingual) blog on his stylish website. World class!

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Continental Drift

At the 1979, 1981 and 1983 world championships the Norwegian men completed an incredible hattrick of hattricks. They took all the individual medals at three consecutive championships. Thon, Berglia, Sagvolden, Johansen, Dähli were gods.

These days the nordic runners are looking more mortal. At this year's world championships long distance, the continental teams came as close as they ever have to freezing out the nordic nations. Russia and Switzerland took the top two places and if Holger hadn't squeezed out a second Swiss a continental whitewash would have been a factum.

Reading the comments on Scandinavian websites, there was just a hint of snobbery. Some suggested that Khramov only won because the race was held in continental type terrain. Such details didn't concern Thon, Berglia et alla - they made a clean sweep of the medals not just in Finland but in Hungary and Switzerland too.

The Scandinavians still win hands down when it comes to strength-in-depth. Yesterday's Swedish champs middle distance qualifiers were as tight as they always are. For the men, a result around two minutes behind the heat winner meant no final.

A couple of decades ago, top orienteers from other European nations started to move to Scandinavia to learn their trade. And learn they have - winning championships not only around the world but also in the Nordic forests. Perhaps its time for the vikings to reverse this trend and start marauding more regularly outside the Nordic homelands.