Stafettvasan Finish Line

IBM Diversity Race – Team of Stars

I am so very proud! You have each and everyone of you conquered and exceeded your fears and believed in yourselves that you can complete a ski marathon race!

You have worked really hard with blood, sweat and tears of pain and joy to exceed yourselves! With only 3 months preparation – we made it together!! Some of you have rarely exercised before, and now – these months, you have worked up good stamina to ski with speed – “like the Swedes” as you say!  :)

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We started with SATS core sessions, indoors a couple of weeks, to get the body ready for moving on skis.

  • We went across the country to Gothenburg SkiDome where you had your first experience putting your skies on, and trying out snow indoors!
  • We went plenty of times skiing in Stockholm area, at Täby Konstsnöspår, Stadion and Granåsen – Bålsta.
  • We went on two long week-end Ski Camps to Långberget and Orsa Grönklitt.

Accumulating it all together, between December and March, you skied the distance from Stockholm to Hamburg – that is 950 km of preparation!!!

Stafettvasan was truely amazing!

Manjunath (leg 1) and Sorin (leg 2) woke up at 4:00 AM (!) in the morning together with Micke, Emma and myself. We stayed att Hotel Dalecarlia in Tällberg about 1 hour from Mora. We ate breakfast together and I saw you off. Emma loading up her car with Manju, Sorin, Micke and ski gear!

Manjunath on his way to Sälen (Leg 1)
Manjunath on his way to Sälen (Leg 1)

The start was around 9:00. There was one minor detail that was very important, to place the chip that registers time down on the ankle. There were some nerves playing part and when the start sparked off, little did we know Manju had his chip in his pocket! Everybody with the Vasaloppet App installed saw no time elapsing for Diversity Race! I got worried!

I know Manju! He is a fighter, very responsible and one of the best you meet along path of life. I knew he was fighting among 2000 other participants going uphill 3 km – straight up the hill! BUT! I had to call him, to tell him he had to turn around, go back to the start, to get the chip registered!!

I called once…. twice… three times… He answers: “Yes Bente!” and I say: “Manju, you need to TURN BACK…! Your chip has NOT been registered!!” Now picture this: while everyone are fighting to conquer the ever lasting hill, this guy from India, goes against the stream, shaky skiing, going downhill, one hand on the phone. Swedes are screaming “You are going the wrong way!!” 😀 😀 😀 Nevertheless, Manju got the chip registered with some help and was off on his way! It started to snow heavily…

Sorin completed leg 2 with 5:56/km in heavy snow fall!
Sorin completed leg 2 with 5:56/km in very heavy snow fall!

Next breakfast for me, was about 8:30. I met up with Madhumita (leg 3), Sanjog (leg 4) and Bakki (leg 5), and Sabari would take them to Mora to join Carl and Martin. Our awsome reserves Prasad, Prabakhara and Rajat were all there waiting to join.

I took the family members in my car. It was time to go to Evertsberg and get Madhumita prepared for leg 3. We were there in good time. It was snowing heavily… worst conditions possible!

Madhumita going to start leg 3
Madhumita going to start leg 3

We followed you all through the race, cheering you on in every checkpoint. IBMs checkpoint at leg 5 was a true party with Bruce Springsteen loud in the speaker and cheering the contestants on!

IBM Checkpoint leg 5
IBM Checkpoint leg 5

We finally met up at the finish line, waiting for Bakki! We waited, and waited. When the time said 11 hours and 30 min we spotted him with a headlamp far, far away! We all jumped the finish line area, jumped up and down, hollering “Bakki, Bakki, Bakki” and ran to greet him!

Stafettvasan Finish Line
Stafettvasan Finish Line

Champagne squirted! We had made it! We had worked hard together for so long! We were a team! The greatest team of Stars!

Celebrating at Hotel Dalecarlia after the race
Celebrating at Hotel Dalecarlia after the race

The big skills to have is curiosity, being brave and never stop moving forward!! You have these all in you! This is why you made it!! We are so proud of you! I’m so happy that our sponsors made this possible for us! “Unforgettable memories and unbreakable bonds!”

Thank you all! You are our Stars!!
All the very best, Bente Acking

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