Orienteers from 20 different countries will this weekend compete in one of the World?s largest relay events near Turku in Finland. The Jukola orienteering relay event is held in a different part of Finland in June each year attracting over 12,000 participants. The event has a “Jukola” relay (7 men in a team) which runs through the Saturday night and before that a “Venla” relay (4 women in a team). The first Jukola relay in 1949 attracted 41 teams total this has now grown to an amazing 1300 men?s teams in the Jukola relay and 800 women?s teams in the Venla relay.
The top end of the race is mainly between the larger Scandinavian clubs with last year?s runners up Halden SK of Norway and reigning champions Kalevan Rasti of Finland the firm favourites to take the men?s race.In the women?s race World Champion Simone Luder of Switzerland helps to keep her Swedish club Ulricehamns as expected victors for the 3rd year in a row with several other clubs hoping to prevent their triple.British interest in the race includes European Championship Silver medallist Jamie Stevenson running for Farum-Tisvilde OK of Denmark who he anchored into 8th spot in 2005 and GB team captain Jon Duncan on 6th leg who will be hoping his new club Kristiansand OK of Norway can improve on their 18th spot of last year.Other British men to look out for include Oli Johnson ? 1st leg for Västerås SOK Sweden, Ewan McCarthy and Scott Fraser ? Halden SK Norway, Graham Gristwood – 6th leg Tyrving Norway and Dan Marston ? Baekkelagets Norway. Helen Bridle will be running for Göteborg Majorna OK and Jo Stevenson for Södertälje Nykvarn ? both based in Sweden. You can find out more and watch the race live at http://www.jukola2006.net/index.php?lang=en