Venla Relay, Finland

Saturday June 16th saw this annual women´s orienteering relay take place on the slopes of Simpsio ´mountain´ (as the Finns like to call it) in Lapua, Finland. The tricky terrain coupled with magnetic rocks which affected compasses was expected to lead to mistakes for every team and we weren´t to be disappointed. Almost 900 women´s teams of 4 runners started the race with several British runners competing for their Scandinavian club. The race was won by Finnish club Asikkalan Raikas, with Finland superstar Minna Kauppi on last leg, by just 7 seconds from Swedish club OK Skogsfalken. In her post-race interview Minna put the victory down to her physical prowess, stating that the Swedish runners in 2nd and 3rd had orienteered better than her. The biggest drama of the race saw Uppsala club OK Linne pulled out whilst in the lead with just 5 controls to go after it had emerged that their 3rd leg runner had failed to go to her penultimate control. Top Brit was Jo Stevenson running for Sodertalje-Nykvarn, where she is based, in 9th position. Rachael Elder´s running for the 2nd team of Stockholm-based club IFK Lidingo finished in 12th place with a strong last leg performance. Helen Bridle kept Goteborg-Marjorna in the top 25 on last leg.