Monday, June 06, 2016

Martin Regborn: "Punching the last control and approaching the run-in with the Swedish team cheering was a magical moment"

He was always rolling in the EOC's top positions and, particularly in the Long Distance final, he was one of the figureheads by reaching the bronze medal. Today, Martin Regborn is the Portuguese Orienteering Blog's guest of honor, remembering some of the Jeseník's best moments and anticipating the next World Orienteering Championships, in his own country.

I would start by asking you who is Martin Regborn?

Martin Regborn (M. R.) - I live in Örebro, in central Sweden, where I currently study an international master’s programme in Sports Physiology and Medicine at Örebro University. I am a biomedical scientist specialised in clinical physiology but feels that I would rather work with athletes in some way. Orienteering has always been my main focus and I have to think about if I'm going to continue to study full time the upcoming year. I run orienteering for the Örebro-based club Hagaby GoIF and some long-distance running for KFUM Örebro Friidrott.

How did you meet Orienteering?

M. R. - My mother has been orienteering when she was younger so she brought me out in the forest and taught me how to read a map quite early. I met orienteering as a competitive sport at the age of 10 when I attended a course for beginners arranged by the local orienteering club in the small town where I grew up and got hooked immediately. Two years later, in 2004, the WOC was held in Västerås which was my home district then. Experiencing the event first-hand and seeing the top level orienteers definitely made me feel that orienteering was what I wanted to do.

There must be a strong reason for you to keep on going with Orienteering so far. What do you see in this sport that makes it so special?

M. R. - That is an easy question to answer but difficult to put in words. That you always meet new challenges, the fact that you really never know what you are up against before turning the map in the start. To experience new places and to run in complete wilderness. To feel the flow when you are pushing yourself to the limit and it's just you and the map.

We could see you performing really well in the Czech Republic, during the European Championships. Did you expect a medal?

M. R. - Considering my 9th in the World Cup Sprint in Poland, earlier this spring, and the feeling that I was in a really good shape entering the EOC, I thought that top-6 in the Sprint race was a reasonable goal. Achieving a medal was only a dream for me, and doing at the Long Distance still feels a little bit unreal.

How was your preparation during the winter season and particularly towards the EOC?

M. R. - I have had a really good training period this winter, achieving several new personal bests at the track and improving my technical skills as well. As the WOC is on home ground in August, most of my preparations and all training camps with the national team have been focused towards that. I have not been in the Czech Republic at all for the last years, but I feel comfortable in the type of terrain where the Long Distance was held and I've tried to get, at least, some training sessions in similar terrain here in Sweden, following the Swedish EOC selection races.

Can you remember the most impressive moment(s) of your Long Distance race?

M. R. - Punching the last control and approaching the run-in with the Swedish team cheering was a magical moment.

How hard was to lose a medal in the Sprint Final for the short time of 14 seconds?

M. R. - Of course I was disappointed immediately afterwards when I realized it had been so close, but I do not see the fourth place in the Sprint as losing a medal as it then was my best international result so far.

And what about the Relay? You've started for the last leg in the lead, but...

M. R. - Yes, it was a little bit too nervous for me to start in the lead. This was my first time running a Relay at a Championship and I wasn’t completely comfortable with the situation. I was in the fight for the medals almost the whole way but a small mistake in the end made me lose contact with the top-3 and I was very disappointed for not being able to hold it together. Still, I think that is a great experience for the future.

How do you rate the event from an organizing, technical and social point of view?

M. R. - I would rate it very high, the Czech are great organizers. One thing I will remember is the Sprint Final which is one of the best sprint courses I've run, both technically and physically demanding.

The next big challenge it's called World Orienteering Championships and you'll be running home. Can you already feel some good vibrations about that?

M. R. - I have already described what the WOC on home ground back in 2004 meant for me growing up as an orienteer, and now being so close to run a WOC on home ground myself is so cool.

What kind of event are you expecting?

M. R. - I have been in Strömstad many times the previous years and I love the terrain and the nature there. I think the courses will be worthy a WOC.

Tell me about your goals. Does your bet go to a particular distance? Who will be your main adversaries?

M. R. - I think my best chances are in the Sprint. I would love to run the Long Distance as well, but it all depends on my performance in the upcoming selection races. We are many swedes that are really good at the moment and the fight for a place in the Swedish WOC team is hard.

In a land of FootO huge names, what means to you to be part of the Swedish Team?

M. R. - It means everything. Being away with the national team on Training Camps and Championships are always among the best weeks of the year. I think we have a very good atmosphere in the team right now, with everyone sharing experiences and supporting each other.

Would you like to share your biggest dream?

M. R. - Biggest dream, I don’t know… but achieving a gold medal at a WOC some time in the future is certainly a dream for me.

[Photo: Stina Loman /]

Joaquim Margarido

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