Orienteering Columnist, Hans Werp, wrote this on his Facebook page last saturday:

On this day (15th September) 40 years ago, the individual WOC was organised by NOF (Norwegian Orienteering Fedration) and Eiker OL. From the arena at Bermingrud the runners could enjoy some of the best terrain Norway and Eiker had to offer.


H.M. Crown Prince Harald was present as well.

There were absolute secrecy concerning the preparations, and very few people were involved. Knut Berglia led the main committee for the event, with Hans Roar Bakken as the secretary. 

The race director was one “Peder Ås”, which says everything about the level of secrecy. The man behind the pseudonym was in fact Kjell R. Johansen.

The event was televised live, and it was drawn cables through the terrain for two of the controls, one south of Ormåsen and one north of Kølabånn. Rolf Rustad was the NRK commentator, with Åge Hadler as his expert side kick. For the time age the broadcast was top notch. A quite large number of representatives from different media were present as well. 

The WOC turned out to be a thriller for both the women and the men. The three women Anne Berit Eid (Norway), Liisa Vejalainen (Finland) and Wenche Jacobsen (Norway) fought a tight battle all the way through the course. On the 12th leg Wenche had to spend an extra minute searching and lost her gold medal chances. Anne Berit came in for a new best time, and everybody’s attention now was on Finish Vejalainen. 

At a control at the foot of a small knoll up on a vague hilltop area Liisa came to narrow on to a funnel that was built to catch the runners onto the same path and lost enough to be two seconds behind Anne Berit Eid after she’d crossed the finish line. Wenche Jacobsen claimed the bronze medal.

Image 9staendeThe men’s race turned out to be exciting as well. Egil Johansen made an early mistake, but his speed was outstanding. Then he messed up once more at the 16th leg, and he really had to run like the wind to win this race. The control staff at control 18 were Truls Astrup and Tore Burud, and they told they only could hear rocks rolling and suddenly he was there. He cought up with the leading Fins Nuuros and Nurminen by the smallest of margins, and the two Fins had to settle for silver and bronze.

At this year’s Eikerløpet the same terrain was used, and Anne Berit Eide was back once again. She told me that the WOC title was a door opener for her later in life. 

Another time and age. Orienteering was on the rise even though the exposure in the media was limited and the events were fewer than today. Even Eiker OL was on the way up and had a great experience before the club’s golden age in the eighties. 

Maybe I’ll try to wear my stored WOC pullover today, I think I just might crawl my way into it.

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