Gothenburg Ultra Festival 2009

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A few notes about the Gothenburg 6 day race. The event began Friday night with a 6 hour race to make sure the chip system was working. That night there was a severe downpour that was to be the main feature of the weeks weather with only one or two days that were rain-free. The course was a fairly flat 730 meter loop around the lake in Slottskogen park in Gothenburg.  Accommodation was in tents and the tent I was in had only two of us whereas some of the other tents were a bit more crowded.
28 runners started the 6 day with Christopher Laborie from France establishing an early lead as did countrywoman Christine David. However Christine suffered stomach problems and while she patiently waited for her body to recover, Sarah Barnett from Australia took the lead and held onto to it until the end.

Denmark's Jesper Olsen, Lars Christoffersen, May-Britt Hansen
Denmark's Jesper Olsen, Lars Christoffersen, May-Britt Hansen
Christopher Laborie established a significant lead over second place Lars Christoffersen for several days but Lars was running very strongly and eventually overhauled Laborie and broke the Danish 6 day record before going on to set a new Nordic 6 day record with 854 km. Sarah Barnett maintained her cheerful spirits and positive determination until the end holding off the determined efforts of both Christine and Martina Hausmann.

The event was made more interesting with the presence of Jeffrey Norris, a blind runner who set a new 6 day world record with 373 km, an amazing spectacle to see. Running with self-giving guides and other 6 day runners, Jeffrey made everyone aware of the strength of will and determination he possesses and that we can still achieve much despite our limitations.

A small field for the 48 hour which began at the same time as the 6 day saw Jürgen Schmicker from Germany cover 217 km and Ray Mcurdy from Scotland ran 161 km and the third runner was Lasse Hansson who finished with 145 km

In the 24 hour, only 2 runners took part Erik Nossum  150.38 km  and Roland Karlsson 105.85 km

Another impressive feature of the event was from handbiker Peter Ojala who was attempting to set a world record for a wheel chair and succeeded with 984 km.

Womens Gothenburg 6 Day Winner Sarah Barnett
Womens Gothenburg 6 Day Winner Sarah Barnett

K-G Nystrom, the Race Director had a great vision to bring an ultrarunning festival to Sweden that was no doubt partly inspired by last years 6 day race in Hallsberg. The Gothenburg 6 day attempted to blend the ethos of the No Finish Line ultra festival in Monaco by supporting a childrens charity, Spring För Barnens Skull, along with a traditional 6 day race for Northern Europe as the planned race in 6 day in Hamm did not materialise this year.

Many thanks to K-G for putting on this pioneering race, its no joke hosting an event like this and trying to run 50 km a day is surely up there in the impossible-to-do-world. Thanks to the restaurant for providing food and also to K-G’s helpers, manning the computers, the volunteers helping with the aid station along with Eduardo Clemente who although forced to withdraw did an awesome job at the aid station table during the nights.
Major Kudos to Alan Young (candidate for Handler of the Year) who not only helped Pam Storey and Ray McCurdy but helped me out too as well as being Martina’s helper. Not a job for the faint-hearted.

Race photos used on this page are by Henrik Andersson and his cool gallery can be seen on Pixbox

A few photos of Jeffrey Norris and his helper can be found at Metrobloggen.se/

The Race Directors website is a Nordic ultrarunning resource

Two videos on Youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ghU2wIVjW80&feature=channel
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b7T2JMUsqC4&feature=channel

Quicklink to Gothenburg 6 day and ultra festival results

I will post my own account of the race on Abichal.com when I get the chance.

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