Norway doesn’t only have skiing and chess world champions, it’s also home to the four-time World Champion in long-distance foot orienteering, the sport that combines running with finding posts in forests. Olav Lundanes proved he’s better than anyone once again.
“I was very, very exhausted, but it feels incredibly good to have managed this,” Lundanes, who’ll turn 30 in November, told Norwegian Broadcasting (NRK).
Lundanes comes from a family of orienteering enthusiasts in Eikenos just outside Ålesund on Norway’s northwest coast. His victory is the second in a row and his fourth overall, after he ran the 17-kilometer-long Estonian course in one hour, 45 minutes and 25 seconds, despite having to go through marshes and overcome other obstacles. He beat out his nearest rivals Leonid Novikov of Russia (1:47:15) and William Lind of Sweden (1:47:38).
The International Orienteering Federation (IOF) noted that Lundanes won long-distance gold at home in Norway in 2010, again in Switzerland in 2012, last year in Sweden and now in the forests of Röuge, Estonia near Tartu. He told IOF’s website that he was “really, really happy,” calling the Estonian course “nice, with longer legs than I had expected.”
News bureau NTB reported how Lundanes had been training in Estonia, and that helped him under difficult conditions. Tuesday’s victory was Lundanes’ fifth gold medal overall in orienteering, which runs over various distances.
The sport is popular in the Nordic countries and not least in Norway, which, according to NTB, can now claim 33 gold medals in mens’s competition, including relays, since the world championships began in 1966. Fully 17 have been won in the demanding long-distance events.
Lundanes, meanwhile, has also earlier won the titles of European Champion and national champion within Norway. He started running for the orienteering club Emblem Idrettslag and later for the Østmarka Orienteerings Club outside Oslo. Since 2009 he has run for the Halden Ski Club and from this year for the Finnish club Paimion Rasti in international and Finnish competition.