For the first time in history, a 1oo miles trail-running race took place in Norway. In Lofoten. Enter The Arctic Triple: Lofoten Ultra-Trail 2016. And I was part of the photo team that followed the athletes throughout the competition.
This meant 37 hours of hiking, trail-running, driving, on site editing and tons and tons of fun.
The race started in the hamlet of Kirkefjorden on the island of Moskenesøya and ended in Svolvær, the capital city of Lofoten. Besides the 100 miles race there were two other races: a 50 miles one with the start in Borg at Lofotr, the Viking Museum and a 24 km race which started at the Barstrand fishery on the island of Gimsøya.
The first stop for me was above the beach at Kvalvika, an iconic spot of the Lofoten. After a few runners passed me, I literarily started running downhill, towards Fredvang to be able to get some frames with the view towards Yttresand in the background. Then I continued running until I got to my car.
I quickly drove to the famous arched bridges at Fredvang and got there just in time to get some shots of the runners being cheered at by a couple of cool old ladies. And, guess what, Maria Nordfjell, the winner of the women’s 100 miles race, even got the time to wink at me while she was passing by.
The next stop for me was the hamlet of Nesland. Snapped a few shots, came back to the car and drove to Kilan.
At Kilan I hiked a bit on the trail towards Nusfjord. I was planning to shoot the leaders of the race on the highest point of the trail. But they were faster than me and I managed to meet them while in the small forest at the beginning of the path, as I was still going up.
Feeling a bit tired and hungry, I stopped at the check point in Napp to grab a fast meal. Few athletes stopped there to use the contents of one of their special needs bags.
It was already 8 PM and I drove to the beach at Haukland, one of the most scenic beaches you can drive to in Lofoten.
At this time, Hallvard Schjølberg was way in front of the other runners. When I left Haukland, he was very close to Unstad and a few minutes after I got to Unstad, there was Hallvard flying by.
In Unstad, I took a good night’s sleep in the back of a rental car. I was too tired to follow the runners and, anyway, the second day I had to be at the Viking Museum in Borg to take photos at the start of the 50 miles race.
The next stop on my list was the area surrounding Eggum, another famous beach of the Lofoten.
At Torvdalshalsen, I hiked a little bit to some wild cotton fields. I find this plant extremely photogenic.
After crossing the mountains close to Torvdalshalsen, the runners faced probably the longest asphalt section of the whole run. They crossed the bridges linking Vestvagøya to Gimsøya and Gimsøya to Austvagøya and then they turned left towards their last mountains before the finish line.
The last stop for me was a few kilometres before the finish line, on the shore of Lake Stor Kongsvatnet, close to Svolvær, the capital of Lofoten.
It was my first experience shooting trail running, but I really loved it. A huge hand up to all the runners. They are superhumans.