We decide to run self-supported and have rather too many than too few places to refuel water and energy. Contact with the team that had the FKT gave us some ideas but we went for 5 drop-offs, they had 4. Ken picked me up at midnight on Midsummer Eve June 19th 2020 and we went backward to our decided drop-off locations. I had been there the week before and looked after suitable locations after our initial planning. The plan was to start at 3.00 and that it should be possible to do that without headlamps. Sunrise at about 3.30.
We started at 2.58 and it was not cold but I remember that I was freezing for the first 10 minutes. We knew that it would be a long warm day, so no idea to go for more than a light t-shirt and shorts. The start was awful with high grass and nettles that stung us. We ran around the Siggefora lake since the route was rerouted since the last FKT. Considering the camping at the start we did not expect the route to be used so rarely. After 1.8 km we understood why - most people follow the road and skip to go by the lake.
Upplandsleden is a trail system through the county of Uppland. It takes you on nice single tracks through moss covered forests, over granite outcroppings, some dirt roads and also some asphalt roads to connect between the forests. The trails is overall not that technical even if there are some parts with more rocky/rooty terrain. Once in a while some small lakes made the scenery amazing. Not at least when the sun started to get over the trees. So beautiful!
We had food and water at 18, 37, 59, 76 and 93 km. The places were:
- shortly before Tenasjön where the route went out to the road
- between Holmsta and Källinge where the route crosses the road
- close to Åkerby, North of Enköping, just before the route crosses Torstunavägen (road 558)
- where the route crosses road 520, between Boglösa and Lidingby
- where the route crosses road 523, East of Veckholm (less than 1 km from the Church in Veckholm)
In the beginning the stops were below 5 minutes but towards the end we used a few more minutes at those locations. It was one of the warmest days in Sweden this year so the decision to have 5 places with water was a good call. The 5 stops give us 6 different legs to run (18, 19, 22, 17, 17 and 17 km). We had planned to run with 8 min/km moving time plus 5 minutes at the 5 food/water locations and we followed the plan quite well. As most we were 21 minutes ahead of our plan but we ended up 8 minutes before the plan at 18:05 in Härjarö.
It was a great run, not as rough as for instance Bruksleden. Of course it would have been good if it had been a bit colder but the weather is as it is. When we towards the end got some wind close to the Mälaren lake that felt good. Very few people out on the route such a fine day, but most people probably celebrated Midsummer Eve, which is classical in Sweden. We did not run with anybody else.
- We managed to successfully follow our plan including to not go too fast in the first half of the run.
- The time for the FKT should be 00:15:06:57 as shown by the Ken's GPX file. I had a screen lock on my clock so it took me a few more seconds to unlock and stop the tracking. Therefore my time shows 00:15:07:02.
- There is a possible rerouting of the route close to Veckholm for about 1 km. The map from Upplandsleden (possible to find as the app Naturkartan) still shows the same way as last FKT so we went that way, despite the orange signs showing another way. A bit confusing! For those of you who will go for this route, consider following the orange signs. We did lose time and high grass with neetles that stung us again.
- Considering the warm weather it was a good call to start as early as possible, as we did.
Two more reflections:
One of our five drops got largely destroyed by some animal who tore into some of my (Jakob's) food, and ate all of Ken's, but he had a bit extra in his pack so we made it fine to the next stop which luckily was still good. Next time we might consider some sealable containers or even putting stuff in large mouth glass jars!
There were two spots where we couldn't quite remember where we put our stuff being tired near the end. We found it OK after short panics (thinking either animals or people might have been at play), but next time might hang small orange flags in a tree as a marker. Were we to have been running at night, they would have been really hard to find. If you plan any section in the dark, consider reflective tape.