The most beautiful race of the last year was Norwegian Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromso. Charmed by this tiny city, I was searching for some winter race to come back during those months when northern lights are visible. Northern lights still remain in plans for some other winter due to the differences in ours and plane’s schedules, but I’ve found this Winter Run series in a few cities of Norway and Sweden.
In Stockholm, the race takes place in Skansen, the open-air museum. We walked there more than once, so I had a good idea of what awaits us – steep climbs, steep slopes – lots of fun, y’know. The race is not positioned as a serious competition, rather as a running party. Despite this, all of runners’ needs are taken into account – warm dressing rooms, water, Vitamin Well sports drinks, bag drop, toilets and even studded shoes for rent for those who were not ready for the weather.
Our trip started in advance, when news letters were still promising snow and ice, so we packed winter gear. Spring started on Thursday, sun warmed the air to +5C, snow and ice disappeared. However, on the day of the race some rain happened and temperature dropped to -1C, turning the smooth asphalt outside Skansen into a skating rink and making our winter shoes quite suitable.
On the stage there was great fire show and a much needed warm-up. The start was very spectacular, perhaps even more stunning than summer Midnight Run series, because instead of fireworks the real fire was used. Candles along the route made the race super cosy but gave so little light that I was glad to be surrounded by people wrapped in Christmas lights or wearing a head lamp.
I fell in love with Winter Run from the very first minutes after the start. The view of the Stockholm from the hill and silence of the park filled me with the feeling that the city is hugging and lulling me, and endorphins go off-scale right after the first kilometre thanks to severe elevation gain. No, seriously, I climbed every hill with a wide smile, partly due to the fact that on the steepest climbs the loudest supporters were cheering runners, and I understood ’em this time, because I started to re-study Swedish a month ago.
Unlike Ivan, I didn’t get any photos from the race, but got a useful reflective medal (can wear it now on my darkest morning runs), hot blueberry soup and two new buffs from Icebug.
Photos with WinterRun logo are taken from I Love Winterrun Facebook page, other photos are taken by me.