September 15th, 2018
25 km, 310 m gain
Ängsö trail run took place on September 15th, exactly four weeks after we ran Ultravasan 90. It took us about two weeks to get back to regular running after UV, and another two to feel quite good again. Hence, we arrived to Ängsö feeling excited to race and eager to see what our bodies would be able to perform. We were debating if we should go for the 50k, but decided the 25 was probably for the better. We drove in from our home, northeast of Stockholm, and arrived at Ängsö castle a good 90 min before the start of the race. There were parking spots aplenty, as well as porta potties and some “real” bathrooms. After we picked up our bibs, we did our usual warm up and stretching routine, before making our way to the starting line. The sun was shining, it was about 17-18°C in the air and the atmosphere bustling and fun. All in all, everything you can ask for on race day! We went into the race with the intention of not stopping at any aid stations, so we were both wearing hydration vests with two 350 ml bottles in each (Tailwind nutrition).
There was a quick race briefing at 11:45am, where the race organizers gave us a rough idea of the course – you go along a north and then a south loop, coming through the starting/finishing area once in the middle – and wished us good luck. 12pm rolled around – and off we went, approx. 100 participants eager to get a good position. The first few kilometers offer up very easy terrain – initially, you go a short section on pavement, which then gives way for buffed out single tracks and wider gravel roads. You pass by the first aid station at around 6k, and shortly after you leave that behind, you’re facing more technical trails. While there are some gravel road sections and a short bit on pavement, you can basically say that from 7k and onwards, the course is more or less technical. You’ll be maneuvering endless rocks and roots, you’ll be (carefully) shooting over slippery rock faces, you’ll be sweating up and down steep (but short) climbs. The course is varied, it twists and turns, it never really allows you a break – and it’s so much fun! The constant changes and the way you have to be mentally focused make for a tough, intense and exciting time out there, and we had a true blast. When you pass the aid station at around 21k, you’ll see slightly less technical trails the rest of the way, but you’ll have to traverse a field with loose dirt underneath your feet (which our lactic acid heavy legs were tired out by quickly!) and make your way up a short but intense climb before you can stretch out the last kilometer and sprint to the finish. We didn’t know this last hill was coming, so we had already tapped into let’s-give-it-our-all-mode and were going fast when the trail all of a sudden made a sharp left and you’re faced with this hill. Needless to say, it knocked us out and we had to drag ourselves to the top. Luckily, we had kept a high enough pace the rest of the race for Sophia to be able to claim the female win (Michael came in 12th in the men’s race), despite the struggle up that hill. Our finishing time was 2 hrs 8 min. At the finish line, we were welcomed by quite a decent crowd enjoying some fika in the sun outside of the castle as well as fellow runners – besides the 25k distance, you could also do a 50, 12 or 6k. We received really nice wood cut medals and then dug into cinnamon buns, fruit, candy etc. Despite the sun, we got cold pretty quickly so we got changed before the award ceremony, which took place at 3:30pm.
We’d recommend this race to anyone who’s either into trail running already or would like to see what the fuss is all about – the course is so much fun and a lot more technical than we were expecting. However, it’s by no means difficult to get around – you just adjust your pace to whatever feels comfortable! The organizers were friendly and inviting, and had done a great job putting everything together – all in all, a great day.