Many big names in orienteering will line up to compete at this summer’s O-Ringen in Sälen. Annika Billstam is one of them. We caught up with her ahead of the tough week of competition in July.
How has your training and racing gone this spring?
I’ve been healthy and injury-free this spring and trained well in these circumstances. I spent a week training and racing in Portugal, apart from that I’ve run some smaller races near home as part of my preparation for the big relays and O-Ringen.
You’ve entered the elite class, even though you’ve retired from the national team. Was it a clear choice?
I chose the class with my heart and I love competition and challenge. So the elite class is the right choice for me.
What do you think about orienteering in mountain terrain?
I really like mountain orienteering. It’s easy to underestimate how hard it can be when there is good visibility up on the open fell. And then there’s the physical challenge of the climbs that the mountains offer. The landscape also gives the experience an extra dimension. The surroundings make it feel like a holiday between the races!
How do you rate your chances of a top result in Sälen?
Good, I hope, if I stay healthy and injury-free. Since I don’t have WOC as my goal, I’m fully focused on O-Ringen. But there are many world class runners entered and it will be exciting to see how the week unfolds!
Name: Annika Billstam
Age: 40 years
Club: OK Linné
Job: Project leader at Uppsalahem AB
Merits: 14 WOC medals. Gold medal in Middle distance, 2015