Sunday, May 21, 2017
Ecotrail Oslo 80km
When you start Ecotrail Oslo 80km you could be fooled into thinking that you can easily finish in eight hours. The course follows River Akerselva to Lake Maridalsvannet. This is the drinking water source for Oslo. After filling our water bottles at 14km aid station the real trailrunning begins.
The following natural area is beautiful with forests, lakes and waterfalls, but the technical path requires full focus. The rocks, roots, streams, swamps and tree trunks make running fun but slower.
The previous week had been rainy and most of the snow had melted away. The weather has always been great on race day though.
There is only about 2000 meters of total ascent. The biggest hill climbs up to Holmenkollen 35km aid station. The wind and drizzle by the ski jump area made me grab some coke and continue immediately. Soon hundreds of 45km runners started and passed me.
It was nice to have some company. In the first edition of this race in 2015 I got lost a few times. Now the markings were good and there were always runners to follow.
In Sørkedalen we were treated gluten-free bread. This 50km aid station was my favorite. 30km racers had already gone.
A dirt road climbed the last big uphill. Then it was down all the way to Fossum 60km aid station. 20K racers had left it pretty cleaned up. Unfortunately there was nothing to eat anymore. Ecotrail Oslo has over 3000 partcipants, with only 10% choosing the 80km distance. I filled my soft flask and left. I had packed ten Clif Shot gels in my UD vest, so I had enough energy to finish.
Running down Lysaker river valley was a bit muddier business this year. The trail is undulating and slippery. Especially with my Hoka Clayton 2s. Still I'm happy with my shoe choice, because my feet stayed comfy and blister-free all the way.
After the last 70km drink station the last 10K was easy city cruising to the finish. I was determined to improve my 9:44 course PR. It was close but thanks to final sprint I made it in 9:42. 2 minutes!
This was my first race in M55-59 age category and I was 4th. These Norwegian runners are pretty hard core. Local star Didrik Hermansen had won with 6:15.
Ecotrail Oslo has developed into a great spring trail event with enough challenge to keep it interesting. Thanks to organisers and volunteers for the experience.