Who is Who
Tom A. Karlsen

Tom A. Karlsen, M55, NOR

[Picture: Tom A. Karlsen (left) during WMOC 2006 in Austria, with Geoff Lawford, a friend from Australia: "A good symbol for friendship in orienteering across the borders", Karlsen said.]

What is your date of birth and where do you live?
I am born 07.05.1952 and I am living in the town Fredrikstad, 100km south of Oslo in Norway.

In World Masters you have got very good results in M50 (3rd in Norway 2003, 4th in Italy 2004, 2nd in Austria 2006). How can you maintain this performance for so long?
I have been training regularly since I was 10 years old and I'm still training about 4 times a week. I have been lucky and avoided serious injuries.

Last Year, in M55, you had a result not so good (26th in Finland 2007). What happened? And how can you rectify this result in Portugal 2008?
Last year in Finland I was ill during the races. I had a disease called chickenpox and was influenced by some fever in the final. During these circumstances I could not cope with the challenging orienteering and did a huge mistake on one control that cost me 7minutes time loss. I also did some other mistakes. This was due to lack of concentration. In Portugal I hope to be in good health and top shape. In my preparation I will try to train as usual 4-5 times a week. I also plan to go to Denmark in the Easter to compete in sand dunes terrain. This will give me experience regarding navigation in Portugal. I think I have my best chances for a top result in the long distance. Sprint is not my favorite distance. I prefer to run in the forest.

Tapio Peippo was the M55 winner in 2004, 2006 and 2007. Do you think he is able to win again? Who else is in favourite position to win your class?
I have not seen the runners entered in my class. I normally don't look at that before the start list is drawn. Tapio Peippo is definitely a strong name. However there will always be runners from Norway, Sweden and Switzerland who can win the race. In my opinion Sigurd Dæhli and Jan Solli from Norway are the biggest favourites if they are entered.

How did you discover orienteering?
My uncle was an orienteer and he introduced me to this sport in 1962. Since then I have been hooked.

What do you enjoy the most in orienteering?
I enjoy friendship with runners from many nations and of course adventure from forests around the world.

Which events gave you the best memories?
My most exciting memory from orienteering is a race in Mongolia in 2006. The nature was very special and the atmosphere was very friendly. The terrain consisted of granite stone columns rising up from the grassy plain around. The weather was cold and we stayed in a gear (tent) camp during the night. I also have good memories from Minesota in USA in 1997 when I first time won WMOC. I remember there were bears and wolves in the terrain and some runners were really scared.

Have you ever competed in Portugal?
I run last year in Portugal "O" Meeting in São Pedro do Sul in February. I enjoyed the terrain, but the weather was colder than I expected. I have been several times in Spain for orienteering as well.

Where else have you been doing orienteering?
I have done orienteering in Sweden, Finland, Denmark, Lithuania, Check Republic, Switzerland, Hungary, Italia, Spain, Portugal, Germany, Austria, France, Australia, New Zealand, China, Mongolia, USA and Canada. I have been twice on orienteering trips in China (Yunnan Orienteering Festival). Those travels were very interesting.

Can you remember a funny episode in a big event?
I remember the kangaroos from WMOC in Australia in 2002. I met a lot of them and they run in all directions.

Have you made any friendships in this sport?
I have friends in nearly all countries I have visited.

Please, indicate other highlights of your sporting career.
I have won WMOC 3 times (USA 1997, New Zeeland 2000 and Australia 2002. I have been winner in Sweden 5-days 3 times in M50. In 2007 I won the street orienteering in Venice. This was a very special event which I and my wife enjoyed very much.

Which was your best year?
It was 2002. I won all events I took part in.

Do you remember your best race?
My best race was when I won WMOC in New Zeeland in 2002. It was a very challenging terrain and my navigation was perfect even if I was not in my best shape physically.

What is the secret to be a winner?
The secret is concentration and mental strength. You also need to be well trained physically and technically. It is hard work for many years.

Who are your heroes in this sport?
My hero is my friend Egil Johansen, double world champion in orienteering. He is a good man. I also admire Thierry Gueorgiou from France. He must be the best orienteer ever.

Norway may has the best junior at the moment: Olav Lundanes. Do you believe that Lundanes will be an Elite star in two or three years?
I don't know him personally, but I have followed his career. He is a very strong runner especially in heavy terrain and of course he is a good navigator. I think he possibly can be a star in the Elite class in the future, but he still has a long way to go.

Have you ever organized an orienteering event?
My club Fredrikstad Skiklubb organize every year the biggest ultra long event in Norway called Blodslitet. This race has been carried out 40 times. Last year 1800 runners were entered. It started in 1967 with 12 participants and has been developed through the years. It is an IOF ranking event. Top athletes and world champions from many countries take part every year. It is very popular. We hope more runners will come in the future, especially from new countries. There are courses for all categories. Course lengths vary from 4 to 25 km.

Do you have any responsible position in your club or in your federation?
I am chairman for the orienteering section in our club. I am also responsible for the mapping section. Earlier I used to train youngsters. I like to be course planner. Every year I am speaker at our ultra long distance race Blodslitet.

What are the main differences between Scandinavian and South Europe terrains?
I like to travel to foreign countries for orienteering. Normally orienteering in Scandinavia is more technically than on the continent. However the sand dune terrain in my opinion is very challenging. I like this type of terrain. Of course the vegetation is different and the geological conditions. If you can manage the Scandinavian terrain, you can manage all type of terrains.

What kind of training do you use to do?
I prefer a combination of long runs in slowly speed (2 hrs.) and middle distance training in close competition speed (1hr.). I don't practise any sprint training in order to avoid injuries. Normally I do all my training in the forest. Before big events I train 3 long runs a week in 3 weeks and 2 orienteering events every week. The last week I have some extra rest, but try to run nearly every day (some very short sessions).

Do you have any special care with what you eat?
I eat all kind of food. I also like most drinks, but prefer wine to beer.

Do you have orienteers in your family?
Both my wife and my son are orienteers.

Do your friends support your sporting ambitions?
All friends support our activities. Orienteering is a well-known sport in Norway.

What is your job? How can you coordinate your professional and sporting life?
I am working as a civil engineer in Sanitary engineering in a Danish based company called COWI AS. Sometimes it is difficult to get enough time for training and competitions.

What are your hobbies besides orienteering?
I like to travel and see new places. I am a freemason. There is no time for other hobbies.

Can you suggest a book, a film or a music that we can't miss?
I like to read books written by Paulo Coelho. He is a good storyteller and you have to be concentrated as during an orienteering event.

What do you expect from WMOC 2008?
I hope to win a medal.

Can you give a message to other competitors?
I will wish them all welcome to a nice and warm week in Portugal. I am sure they will make new friends and feel the warm atmosphere and hospitality from the Portuguese people. Do not care about your shape. Just come, there is space for everybody. See you!

(Interview by Manuel Dias. Questions and answers by e-mail. Received on 2008, Jan 9th.)

[2008-06-20] Carlos Monteiro, WMOC Event Director

[2008-06-20] Dieter Wolf, M55, SUI

[2008-06-19] Timo Teinila, WMOC speaker

[2008-06-19] Jorge Simões, WMOC Event Director assistant

[2008-06-18] Blair Trewin, M35, AUS

[2008-06-18] Mariett Matias, WMOC Media responsible

[2008-06-17] David May, WMOC Senior Event Advisor

[2008-06-16] Gottfried Tobler, M60, AUT

[2008-06-16] Tuulikki Salmenkylä, W45, FIN

[2008-06-16] Arvo Majoinen, M80, FIN

[2008-06-14] Fernando Costa, WMOC Marketing responsible

[2008-06-13] Sarah Dunn, W40, GBR

[2008-06-12] Santos Sousa, WMOC planner

[2008-06-11] Sigurd Daehli, M55, NOR

[2008-06-10] Alexandre Reis, WMOC mapper and planner

[2008-06-09] Nick Duca, M40, CAN

[2008-06-07] Tiago Aires, WMOC mapper and planner

[2008-06-06] Irina Stepanova, W55, RUS

[2008-06-05] Luís Sérgio, WMOC mapper

[2008-06-04] Ari Kattainen, M50, FIN

[2008-06-03] Rui Antunes, WMOC Mapping coordinator

[2008-06-02] Jon Musgrave, M45, GBR

[2008-05-31] Jacinto Eleutério, WMOC Course coordinator

[2008-05-30] Rune Carlsson, M70, SWE

[2008-05-29] Åke Jacobson, IOF President

[2008-05-29] Augusto Almeida, POF President

[2008-05-28] Jurate Uleviciene, W55, LIT

[2008-05-26] Vladimir Ioffe, M70, ISR

[2008-05-23] José Fernandes, M45, POR

[2008-05-21] Ezio Paris, M55, ITA

[2008-05-19] Gabriella Györffy, W40, HUN

[2008-05-16] Alberto Minguez, M40, ESP

[2008-05-14] Tomas Zdrahal, M55, CZE

[2008-05-12] Paulo Becker, M45, BRA

[2008-05-09] Ingrid Roll, W70, NOR

[2008-05-07] Jerzy Parzewski, M55, POL

[2008-05-05] Hugh Moore, M60, AUS

[2008-05-02] Martin Checkley, M55, GBR

[2008-04-30] Etienne Bousser, M60, FRA

[2008-04-28] Andreas Grote, M40, SUI

[2008-04-24] Liudmila Labutina, W65, RUS

[2008-04-22] Freddy Sillien, M60, BEL

[2008-04-17] Tomislav Kaniski, M35, CRO

[2008-04-14] Eero Tuuteri, M85, FIN

[2008-04-10] Lena Nordahl, W80, SWE

[2008-04-07] Albano João, M45, POR

[2008-04-03] Tom A. Karlsen, M55, NOR

[2008-03-31] Kayoko Sakai, W55, JPN

[2008-03-27] Finn Arildsen, M45, DEN

[2008-03-24] Anne Nurmi, W45, FIN

[2008-03-20] Peo Bengtsson, M75, SWE

[2008-03-17] Alida Abola, W50, LAT

[2008-03-13] Matti Railimo, M60, FIN

[2008-03-10] Cornelia Eckardt, W35, GER

[2008-03-06] Joaquim Sousa, M35, POR

[2008-03-03] Birgitta Olsson, W75, SWE

[2008-02-20] J. Salmenkylä, M75, FIN

[2008-02-18] Torid Kvaal, W65, NOR

[2008-02-15] Mykola Bozhko, M55, UKR

[2008-02-13] Pavlina Brautigam, W45, USA

[2008-02-11] Ferran Santoyo, M35, ESP

[2008-02-08] Sole Nieminen, W80, FIN

[2008-02-06] Stefano Galletti, M40, ITA

[2008-02-04] Gillian Ingham, W50, NZL

[2008-02-01] Jörgen Mårtensson, M45, SWE

[2008-01-30] Tom Hiltebrand, M50, SUI

[2008-01-28] Baiba Ozola, W40, LAT

[2008-01-25] Eddie Harwood, M55, GBR

[2008-01-23] Marje Viirmann, W45, EST

[2008-01-21] Alexander Afonyushkin, M40, RUS

[2008-01-18] Paulina Majova, W55, SVK

[2008-01-16] Björn Linnersjö, M65, SWE

[2008-01-15] Lillian Røss, W85, NOR

[2008-01-10] Tapio Peippo, M55, FIN

[2008-01-07] Elizabeth Brown, W90, GBR

[2008-01-04] Erkki Luntamo, M90, FIN

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