For the fifth time in its history, the norwegian team of Halden SK won the Venla Relay. After four intense legs, Sabine Hauswirth, Hollie Orr, Anni-Maija Fincke and Mari Fasting proved to be the fastest of the 1391 teams that lined at the start. The Finnish teams of Tampereen Pyrintö and SK Pohjantähti finished second and third, respectively.
Sara Hagström was the first to complete the 7,1 km of the first leg, launching the Falköpings AIK OK team to a 4 seconds lead on the norwegian team of Halden SK, with Sabine Hauswirth as first athlete. This leg was quite close, with the first 26 teams separated by less than one minute. On the second leg, Kajsa Risby (OK Kåre) and Anna Forsberg (Göteborg Majorna OK) did an excellent job, getting a 47 seconds gap to the third team, Angelniemen Ankkuri, an advantage of 1:29 and over on the MS Parma and the following teams. The third leg brought new changes in the race's head, with Sofia Haajanen (SK Pohjantähti) and Anni-Maija Fincke (Halden SK) performing better than the concurrence and giving to their clubs the leadership with the same time. Paimion Rasti, Tampereen Pyrintö, IFK Lidingö SOK and Järla Orienteering were the following teams, with more 0:33, 0:42, 1:09 and 1:50, respectively, than the leaders.
The last leg was amazing, with a start field that included some of the stronger athletes currently, like Mari Fasting (Halden SK), Marika Teini (SK Pohjantähti), Natalia Gemperle (Alfta ÖSA OK), Saila Kinni (Tampereen Pyrintö), Anna Bachman (IFK Lidingö SOK), Judith Wyder (Göteborg Majorna OK), Catherine Taylor (OK Linné), Lisa Risby (OK Kåre), Svetlana Mironova (Koovee) or Tove Alexandersson (Stora Tuna OK). In the first half of the race, Mari Fasting did a couple of small mistakes and Marika Teini was able to keep some advantage on the next teams, but Fasting was faster in the second half, achieving for Halden SK a well celebrated winning with the time of 3:06:04 overall. In the second position, with more 53 seconds than the winner, stayed Tampereen Pyrintö, with SK Pohjantähti being third with 3:07:46. Last edition's winner, Domnarvets GoIF, finished 20th, with more 11:21 than Halden SK.
1. Halden SK (Sabine Hauswirth, Hollie Orr, Anni-Maija Fincke, Mari Fasting) 3:06:04 (+ 00:00)
2. Tampereen Pyrintö (Lotta Karhola, Sonja Kyrölä, Venla Harju, Saila Kinni) 3:06:57 (+ 00:53)
3. SK Pohjantähti (Heini Wennman, Marttiina Joensuu, Sofia Haajanen, Marika Teini) 3:07:47 (+ 01:43)
4. Koovee (Johanna Hulkkonen, Ulrika Uotila, Mia Niittynen, Svetlana Mironova) 3:09:42 (+ 03:38)
5. Göteborg Majorna OK (Viktoria Ernstsson, Anna Forsberg, Lina Strand, Judith Wyder) 3:09:43 (+ 03:39)
6. Alfta ÖSA OK (Galina Vinogradova, Sara Eskilsson, Josefine Engström, Natalia Gemperle) 3:10:09 (+ 04:05)
7. Stora Tuna OK (Anna Mårsell, Johanna Erlandsson, Julia Gross, Tove Alexandersson) 3:10:13 (+ 04:09)
8. IFK Lidingö SOK (Johanna Sanderi, Annica Gustafsson, Helena Karlsson, Anna Bachman) 3:10:18 (+ 04:14)
9. Paimion Rasti (Evelina Hirvonen, Salla Fagerudd, Inga Dambe, Saara Norrgraan) 3:10:19 (+ 04:15)
10. IFK Göteborg (Isia Basset, Anna Nähri, Elin Månsson, Kirsi Nurmi) 3:11:28 (+ 05:24)
To see full results and further information, please visit the event's webpage at http://www.jukola.com/2016/en/.
[Photo: © Tommi Joutjärvi / facebook.com/jukolanviesti]