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Sunday, June 25, 2017

The first member of our team in Finland was me! Zoe 😊 I came straight to Finland from the Oceania champs in NZ and have been staying with an orienteering family in Hämeenlinna for the last 2 months! It’s been unreal, such an experience to be here, tough at times yes but overall so eye-opening to European orienteering. I have gone in races just about every weekend representing Hämeenlinnan Tarmo; including local comps with roughly 800 competitors, regional champs (including one where Mina Kauppi made an appearance – was stoked to only be 8.5 mins behind the legend frothn) the Finnish middle distance champs, 3 World Cup public races, the Grano Games, Venla and Jukola!

Toby arrived in time for the World Cup races and was mostly staying in Helsinki with Atte Lahtinen and family. The highlight of his time before the team came together was all the pastry’s he ate for breakfast – according to Tara (“no, that’s what he said”). Jarrah arrived in time for the Grano Games around Tampere and has been mostly in Tampere staying with some friends.

Just before Jukola Jarrah and I spent a few days with Atte in Helsinki doing some training on some pretty wicked maps. The terrain in the south of Finland is quite different to around Tampere so although it was not completely relevant to JWOC the terrain was like nothing I’ve run on before. So many beautiful mossy rocks and bare rock in open vibrant green forest.

The next weekend Jarrah, Aston, Toby and I were lucky enough to be in Finland for Venla and Jukola! It was unreal, absolutely #blessed to be there. I ran 1st leg for Venla, the mass start was hectic, nothing like running to the first control with literally hundreds of people running around you. Aston ran 1st Leg for Jukola, Toby and I both ran 6th leg and Jarrah was the Anchor for his team, running 7th leg. We all had quite long courses, all over 11km but the excitement and adrenaline of running in a relay like Jukola gave us that extra bit of motivation. The setup of Jukola was amazing, 2 massive live screens with countless people staying up all night watching every moment. The winning teams came in at about 7am, before I even got to start my leg – makes you realise how good they are.

Heres a link to the official video for Juloka 2017 - https://vimeo.com/222195922 (put together by tassies own David Brickhill-Jones AKA BJ) 

After Jukola Jarrah, my host family and I went to Koli national park and visited one of Finland’s national views. It felt like we were sitting on the edge of the world and even though it’s a long way from Tampere if you ever get the chance to go, do!

Jarrah, me and my host dad Mika @ Koli

On Tuesday Asha arrived and spent 2 days with me in Hämeenlinna and then we hopped on an iconic and well supported by the Aus JWOC team, “onni bus” to Tampere. We went mental when we arrived at the AirBnB accommodation. Asha was nearly crying over the never ending (I swear) tea draw and I was doing the same over the spice draw even though I couldn’t understand what any of them were. We also found a perfume cupboard, we’ll all smell nice every day this week by how its going so far.

You can almost see the tears in her eyes

We met Toby, Tara and Caroline on Friday and already have some funny stories to tell. Asha and Tara bought 2L of banana yoghurt (its been a year of withdrawals for them) for 3AUD but with the amount of money we saved on maps I think they could buy about 50L and we would still be ahead. Jarrah had a bunch of maps from around the Tampere region and we also found a photocopier, Ralph, we know you'll be proud. 

The main bedroom has a mirror on the ceiling which makes us girls giggle (just gals bein chicks) before we go to bed. But not as much as the keys which has a naked guy in a pool doughnut attached to it. 
Do look closely 
We weren’t so happy about the jukebox being broken though, I suppose we will just have to wait until the after party to play Nollsy louder than our phones will play it.
We are all feeling pretty tired after today’s long training but a few times over listening to the *house* 2009 remix of Down under kept us going.
This weekend was the mid-summer weekend for Finland, lots of places have been shut and public transport hasnt been normal. This has made busses a bit of a struggle so we didn’t get to go to the map we originally wanted to but you can’t win em all hey. 

We ended up going to a map near Hervanta, called Makkarajärvi ('Sausage Lake') but were nearly eaten alive by mosquitoes so we were out of there pretty quick after we finished our session.
Sim joined us today and we have done one of 2 sprint trainings planed so far. We went to Epilä
 this morning and are going to an organised training by Tampereen Pyrinto at the Grano games map, Järvensivun Koulu, this afternoon. 
Epila sprint intervals 
Joe and Jarrah will join us on Monday and then we have a few days of solid training with the 8 of us – should be a blast!! Can’t wait to see more of the team arriving, feels more and more like jwoc everyday 😊
Share this blog when you find the 5th head (Hint: there's a Tasmanian in the photo)

Another update coming soon, along with the first series of our quote list for 2017.

Zoe xxx

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