WOC 2019 will have close to the estimated 10.000 spectator race starters during the WOC week in Østfold, and Saturday we paid the staff at the start a visit in the pouring rain.

Before the direct entries had been counted for Saturday the total number for the whole week was 9776 entries for the spectator races. And even though the weather probably didn’t invite to many direct entries on Saturday, the total number is to the satisfaction of the WOC organisation.

At the windy and rainy start the atmosphere was still good as the clock stroke 3 on Saturday and the last runner was sent into the forest.

- The atmosphere at the start has been good throughout the whole week. We’ve succeeded in being service minded and flexible and the runners have been satisfied. I have not heard any complaints, 46-year-old Dyre Martin Gulbrandsen of Fredrikstad SK tells us. 

He’s worked at the start all days and sat in the planning committee for all the starts. In Fredrikstad on Thursday he even was the main responsible for the start at Kongsten Fortress.

- Today we only have one start, which make things easier for us. At most we’ve had to deal with three different starts.

We find him under the tent roof where late arrivals report, and a Ukrainian runner gets his map one minute late before disappearing into the soaking wet forest. Completely voluntary…

The start crew are complete volunteers as well. Dyre Martin is accompanied by Alf Kristian Helle (17) from Halden SK, Lars Øyvind Amundsen (35) from Trøsken IL and Knut Lindløv (75) from OK Moss inside the tent. Members of Sarpsborg OL have contributed at the starts as well along with young volunteers from a number of clubs.

This was something WOC 2019 hoped for, to mix and interact between the clubs, and create new bonds.

-Everything’s worked out fine, we’ve cooperated well across the clubs and gotten to know new people, the quartet say.

The youngest, Alf Kristian, is looking forward to the next assignment in one hour, collecting the controls and control equipment from the wet forest. .

- After having stood still the whole day it will be nice to get out into the forest and run, the junior runner smilingly tells us.

A smile we’ve seen on 700 volunteers contributing and still were smiling despite they’d deserved better weather... 

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