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Salomon Trail Tour, Oslo

The Salomon Trail Tour is a series of nine competitions that will be run in the forests north of Oslo during the early summer and early fall of 2013. I’m not a hundred percent sure, but I believe last year was the first time the event was held in Norway after having been a familiar part of the trail running circuit in both Sweden and the UK for several years. A colleague of mine gave me a flyer for last year’s tour and I was instantly hooked. The concept is pretty simple and varies a bit between the countries. Here in Norway the competitions will be held at 18.30 six Mondays in May and June followed by a brief pause in July and then picking it up again with three more race-Mondays in August. This year the start is held close to Sognsvann and the trail runs counter-clockwise around the little dam of Svartkulp where you have the option of either one (3,5k) or two (7k) laps.

Today marked the premier of this season’s event and I really didn’t know what to expect, to be honest. It could be that I’d meet up with a dozen fellow nerds sporting Björn Borg-headbands. In fact, the result list showed 117 competitors! The whole thing was very well organized with GPS-wrist bands and all. Salomon had a medium-sized tent by the start where you could try their different trail shoes on for a test run. “Not for the entire race, I guess?”, I asked the representative tentatively. “Oh yes, definitely! If you like, you can choose one of our models and run the race in it. Only condition is that if you get them dirty, you need to buy them.”, he replied with a smile. Avoiding getting trail shoes muddy at a trail run? You’d have a better chance of trying to keep Jakob sober in a Manhattan bar serving free drinks. I chose their top-of-the-line S Lab Sense Ultra which is a light weight trail racing shoe. Review? Pretty impressive grip on the wet surfaces and a comfortable but tight fit around my foot. Only drawback was a tendency to slip right out of them when I hit deep mudholes and almost left my shoes at the bottom.

I returned them EXTREMELY dirty, though. Also, I was panting and coughing so hard when I crossed the finish line that I thought I’d cough up some bloody lung tissue. I was so completely drenched in mud that I had to show the missus my photo ID through our peep-hole in the door before she let me inside again. Count on me coming back next week for another go. How’d it go? Well, the only drawback was that the timekeeping and display of results was catastrophic. All the results were jumbled together, regardless of number of laps on the overall list of general results. As far as I can tell, though, there were at least 42 male competitors on the 7k where I ended up as number 24, clocking in as number six out of eleven in my age group. Need to push the envelope next week, so wish me luck!

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