Aasmund Kjøllmoen Steien grew up in Folldal and knows the mountains and paths as his own back pocket. Biathlon was his sport for many years and he won the silver medal in the youth Olympics as well as 6 medals in the Norwegian national championships. Now, race director of one of the main ultra distance competition in Norway, Aasmund and Moonlight sat down together to brighten the mystery of running in the dark for both runners and organizers point of view.
1) How did Rondane 100 miles get started?
Rondane 100 was started as a project with a goal of making a Norwegian ultra race by runners, for runners.
The founders are Inger Haugland, Erik Haugland and Tor-Idar Lillekroken, all with a strong attachment to Folldal and Rondane, and experience with ultra running both abroad and in Norway. They wanted to do something that could put Folldal on the map for a larger audience.
2) What route runners will be taking during the night?
This year the start of the 100 miler will be at 7p.m., and the start of 100K will be at 4a.m.
Through the first night the runners will run through Grimsdalen, on a flat gravel road. Then they will take on a technical single track with some climbing and descent, and then 12 km of smooth trails before they take on the most critical part through Dørålglupen, uphill and downhill with a lot of big stones. The fastest runners will run through this part around 3a.m. After the descent from Dørålglupen the runners will enter CP 2 at Dørålseter, and then run into the heart of Rondane, Langglupdalen, with some technical parts on a single track.
Some of the runners will run into the second night. They will be close to the 5th and last CP at Grimsbu at this point, with mainly smooth trails in the lower parts of the mountains or down in the valley. With 4K left, it's mainly a gravel road.
At the start of 100K at 4a.m. the runners will have pretty good visibility, so for the runners that will run into the night from Saturday to Sunday they will be in approx the same area as the 100 milers (CP at Grimsbu).
3) As a race director, how do you deal with security, especially during the dark and cold hours of the night?
First of all, we have a good crew with a lot of experience regarding these kinds of races. Our medic team will be supported by the local red cross organization, and they will be on standby through the whole race near the critical spots. We also have Erik Haugland as chief of security, he is the former race director of the race and he has a lot of experience from his work in the police and PST.
We will use satellite trackers from YellowBrick, which gives us the possibility to track the runners through the whole course.
The list of mandatory equipment is pretty long, and we will brief our participants close to the race with a big focus on the weather in the most critical areas. The list of mandatory equipment can be extended close to the race if the weather forecast shows especially challenging conditions.
We will also recommend that the participants prioritize a good second headlamp. Two headlamps are a part of the mandatory equipment, and with some critical parts both in the first part and the last part of the race we will really recommend having a quality spare headlamp!
4) In such a remote environment, a headlamp is more than an accessory, it is safety gear. According to you, what are the specifications you are looking for when it comes to choosing your headlamp?
I would say that power and brightness are the most important features. It should also be robust and simple to use. It's also important that it feels comfortable on the head, so you can run free and relaxed with it, weight is often a factor regarding this.
5) Tell us a bit more about the aid station runners will encounter during the night. What will they find and according to you what do they need to do?
In total we have 5 CP's through the course. The 100 milers will run through every of them, while the 100 k runners run through the last 4.
We will have a team of volunteers on each CP. They will serve and help every runner with whatever they need. We will also allow personal crewing in the CP's.
It's important to plan out what you need to do on each CP, and I would recommend using the presented menu to plan out your fueling through the race. Most important is to get calories in and stay warm. As you might stop running for a few minutes your body will suddenly get cold and this is a very critical moment. I would recommend to change your Tee-shirt if you are wet and wear an extra layer while eating a warm soup.
We will serve different kinds of food (muesli, soup, waffles, sausage), snacks, fruits, candy and drinks on each CP. We will present the detailed menu Wednesday the 3rd of August (the menu may get some small changes closer to the race).
At CP 2 the 100 milers will get their first drop bag, and at CP 3 the 100 milers will get their second drop bag and the 100 k runners will get their drop bag.
CP 1 Nygruvehytta 37 km (100 miles)
CP 2 Dørålseter 77 km (100 miles) / 15 km (100k)
CP 3 Strømbu 104 km (100 miles) / 42 km (100k)
CP 4 Breisjøseter 119 km (100 miles) / 57 km (100k)
CP 5 Grimsbu 148 km (100 miles) / 86 km (100k)
6) Any last tips for the runner entering the last week of preparation?
With one week left it's all about getting the body well rested, prepare mentally, have a quality check of the race plan, fueling plan and have a good brief with your crew.
The most important training is done, but you can prep your shape with a couple of intensity sessions (7 days before, and 4-5 days before), otherwise I would keep the longest run to a maximum 90 minutes, with low pace and effort. Your head is your most important tool during an ultra. Get in a lot of sleep, and fuel with food that you have tried before with success. During the race it's all about crushing it, have fun and enjoy the battle in Rondane and Folldal!
Good luck to all the runners!