Over lunch at the IBM office one day I had managed to get myself on to the reserve list for the Software Group team for Holmenkollstafetten. This is an annual 15 person relay around the streets of Oslo which, with a total distance of just 18km, manages to attract a massive entry. If you live in Oslo and are not running yourself you almost certainly know someone who is. As predicted, the drop out rate in our team was pretty high and in the week beforehand I was called up.

The different classes have start times staggered over a few hours and, with a changeover point just outside our apartment, we were able to sit on the balcony and watch the action unfold. Eventually it was my turn and I jogged down to Holmendammen to join the assembled crowd waiting for their incoming runner.

Fortunately, given that I had no idea who most of the other people in my team were, we had all been kitted out in some rather nice dark blue technical T-shirts replete with IBM logos. (Likely to be used more than most of the IBM merchandise dished out at last week’s conference!) This, combined with the race number, meant that I didn’t have too much trouble spotting Hege coming down the hill towards me.

Having spent about half of the previous 24 hours on a plane I was glad to discover that, despite being the longest leg at around 2.5km, it was pretty much all downhill. Having gathered a bit of momentum I was soon able to overtake some of the slower participants. The gentle incline to the handover in Frognerparken seemed like a mountain but in 7 minutes and 49 seconds it was all over and I had successfully passed the baton on to Merethe.

Sadly the jetlag kicked in a couple of hours later and I didn’t have the energy to join the rest of the team for the evening session (the reason I suspect most employees agree to take part!). There were just under 500 teams in our class and the results show us in a respectable 234th place. Unfortunately the GBS team had surpassed us finishing 190th but there were still two further IBM teams behind us. Looking at the results for our team I don’t think I can be said to have let anyone down.

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