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18 August, 2007; 22:00 Leave a comment Go to comments

Originally uploaded by hindfelt

Some of you may remember that I had this crazy ambition, when I lived in Stockholm in 2004, of running the Stockholm Marathon. Having never done a running competition before. Well long story short, it only took a 13 km training run, 6 weeks into training, to halt my training for another 6 weeks due to a strained ligament in my knee, and this put my ambitions on hold.

Three years later, after coming back to Stockholm, I arrived in plenty of time to train for a more reasonable event: the Midnattsloppet — literally, Midnight Run — which is a 10 km run around the island of Södermalm, and going right through my neighborhood (much in the same way that the Pride Parade did). Along the way, I also recruited Christina, a recovering athlete, to run with me.

As the name suggests, the run happens at night. Not exactly midnight; actually, it starts between 10 and 10:30 p.m., depending on your start group, and pretty much everybody runs it in less than 1 1/2 hours (so I suppose you could say it ends at midnight). I read somewhere that it is the run in Stockholm that draws the most spectators (probably because it’s so easy just to step out of the bar on a Saturday night to watch the runners pass by). It may also draw the most people. Certainly, according to Dagens Nyheter, one of the main dailies, 18,000 runners participated, more than in any previous year for this event.

And along the way, there are stages with live music situated in some of the main squares — everything from folk to rock to country to electronica was performed at these stages, making the run more interesting.

As for the running itself: since I’ve never participated in a run this big before, I was surprised at how big of an issue the crowds can be for setting a good running pace. I found that for most of the first half, I had a shorter stride than normal because I was often dodging between other, slightly slower runners. This is party my fault — I should have been in an earlier start group, but by the time I signed up, they were full. And I certainly wasn’t the only one doing this; there was a ton of re-mixing going on as people sorted themselves out. Anyway, the difference was only slight, but it had an effect. Looking at my stats (which you can see here), I really ran substantially faster in the second half than the first, and this is because as the race went on, the crowds opened up a bit more, and also I got more assertive in finding my way forward past slower runners.

I had simple goals for the race: beat 55 minutes, and beat Christina. On the first, I really had no idea how well I was doing. But on the second, hmm, well during the second half, there were several times when I thought I pulled ahead of her, only to realize after a few minutes that she was a bit ahead of me, so she must have been creating a temporary portal through another dimension to get past me. Is that cheating? You decide. But in the end, my time was 54:14, only beating Christina by a mere 17 seconds. So I met both goals!

Categories: recreation
  1. Janet Franklin
    23 August, 2007; 4:54 at 4:54

    Does this mean that your run in Seattle did not count?
    Congratulations on meeting your goals and making reasonable enough goals that you could achieve them.


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