Gothenburg was the latest destination conquered on my quest to run the world. Sweden’s second largest city hosts some Scandinavia’s largest annual events, including the Göteborg International Film Festival, the world’s largest football (soccer) tournament, Gothia Cup and Göteborgsvarvet, the largest half-marathon in the world.
Göteborgsvarvet began at the Slottsskogsvallen Athletic Arena in a staggered start, sending groups of runners out every 2 to 6 minutes from 1pm to 4pm until all 62,000 participants were off and running.
The scenic course took us through Slottsskogen, one of Gothenburg’s most beautiful parks, across the Älvsborg suspension bridge, along the Göta Älv River and across the Göta Älv Bridge where we got some of the best views of the city and the harbor.
Göteborgsvarvet is a play on words because varv means both lap and shipyard in Swedish, which is appropriate since part of the race course is a lap around the harbor. We then ran through Gothenburg’s city center before returning to Slottsskogsvallen Athletic Arena for the finish.
Everything about this race was crazy, but in a good way. From the number of runners participating to the crowds of spectators all along the course to the general atmosphere of the event.
The area around Slottsskogsvallen Athletic Arena where the race started and finished was as crowded with spectators who’d come out to watch the event, as it was with runners.
There were also vendors selling everything from hot dogs and soft drinks to popcorn and the typical Swedish candies and a DJ blasting music, getting everyone even more excited.
And you know what else was crazy? The weather. What is it with the weather and me on race day? It was 25°C /77 °F when the race started, which is perfect beach weather, but very hot when you’re talking about running a half-marathon, as I know fromPortugal and Marrakech, and more like what I would have expected inMadrid, not the freezing temperatures I had when I ran there a few weeks ago.
Thankfully, there were not only plenty of hydration stations offering water and sports drinks, but a few spray showers along the way to cool us off. Several of the spectators even got into the act, splashing us with water hoses or spray bottles as we passed. But the spray showers and water hoses were nothing compared to the soaking we got from that random rain shower that seemingly came from nowhere. And the gigantic hail stones that accompanied the unforeseen rainstorm.
As much as I complain about the weather, I think I might used to the unpredictability. Before the start of the race, I slathered on the sunscreen and made sure my water bottle was full, and when it started to rain, after my initial thought of “really?”, I just shrugged my shoulders and kept it moving.
After running the half-marathon, and the gamut in regards to the weather, I went back to my hotel to shower and change before heading to the Liseberg, Gothenburg’s famous amusement park.
Another destination conquered on my quest to run the world and a trip to an amusement park.
Disclosure: GöteborgsVarvet Half Marathon provided me with free race entry. All thoughts and opinions expressed are all my own.
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