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Tim Watkins Trophy 2005
Formally the British Blodslitet

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Schoolboy Dreams

In the autumn of 1968, during a school break, a group of enthusiastic Norwegian schoolboy orienteers talked about organising a long distance orienteering race. One of the boys, Svein Olaussen, volunteered to be the course planner and so two weeks later the first Blodslitet (pronounced Blurrd-sleet-ter) took place with 12 starters. The course, over Ulvedalen, consisted of two 9km loops with a mass start. After the first loop 17 year old Tore Sundt led from Ragnar Weum and 16 year old Tom A Karlson. Tore and Tom both went on to represent Norway at international level and Ragnar is currently the manager to the Norwegian team. Eventually 24 year old Ragnar won comfortably from the more experienced Tore Hanson. For the youngsters their ambition was greater than their energy levels and at least two of them stopped at a farm house for sugar cubes. They must have looked a ‘bedraggled lot’ since the farmer offered them dinner which was politely turned down and it was a long walk/jog to complete the course – these two finished 4th and 5th.160301_1 (29686 bytes)

The schoolboy group continued to stage the race every autumn and over the next ten years the popularity of the event grew dramatically and eventually the size was such that the local club, Fredrikstad Skiklubb (FSK), took over the overall responsibility for staging the event. A womens race was introduced in 1970 and now there are classes for all age groups and competitors are attracted from many countries. The format of the event too has evolved starting with a competitor separation system introduced in 1975 to avoid too much following and now competitors return to within sight of the arena many times during the competition providing an exciting spectacle for spectators and supporters. Much emphasis, even today, is put into the quality and development of the event organisation. At this years race there was an online link, with webcams so that one could follow the races on the internet.

Past winners of the top courses read like a who’s who of Scandinavian orienteering with double world champion Egil Johansen having won the event five times and more recent successes have included Janne Salmi, Carsten Jorgensen, Tore Sandvik and Johan Ivarsson. On the women’s race such past winners include Anniken Kringstad, Anne Berit Eid and more recently Hanne Staff. The 33rd Blodslitet this year was won by Bjørn Eriksen (see picture) part of the very successful Halden SK relay team ahead of more well known runners. In the women’s race Birgitte Huseby provided the first home success since 1972.

Blodslitet takes place on the third weekend in October which is in the middle of the elk culling season and such is the profile of the event that the hunters take a day off from their duties to allow the event to take place.

Tim Watkins

Last Updated : 31.10.01