Scan Magazine, Issue 120, January 2019

Page 37

Scan Magazine  |  Special Theme  |  Nordic Festival Special – Norway

An Arctic marathon

By Synne Johnsson  |  Photos: Eivind Bye

Almost as close to the North Pole as you can get, beneath Arctic mountains and surrounded by spectacular nature, Svalbard Turn arranges the world’s most northern marathon on solid ground. It takes place in Longyearbyen, Svalbard, and the track runs through both the town and the surrounding nature. What makes it extra special is the unique wildlife that runners can experience from the track. “The wildlife around the track is spectacular. Runners can spot eiders, Arctic foxes, reindeer and geese. Last year, there was a polar bear walking by the track two weeks before the run, so runners could see polar bear paw prints on the track,” says Silje Hagen, marathon manager. “The chances of meeting a polar bear are very slim, but we care a lot about safety so there will be armed polar bear guards around the tracks, just in case.” Longyearbyen is situated at 78° north, and the weather conditions in June are slightly unstable. It is usually between zero and ten degrees. Fog, wind and rain are not

unusual, so it is recommended that participants bring windproof clothes, hats and gloves. The run takes place on 1 June, and runners can take part in a half or full marathon, a ten-kilometre run or a children’s run, so there are activities for every age group. “What previous runners have appreciated is that, during the marathon, the locals actively take part in the event by, for example, selling pancakes or waffles and giving out water. It gives the visitors a unique opportunity to experience the local community,” Hagen says. This year, Spitsbergen Marathon takes place for the 25th time. As the event gets bigger every year, this is the year to run if you prefer to take part in more intimate marathons.

Spitsbergen Marathon welcomes runners from all over the world.

Web: Facebook: spitsbergenmarathon Instagram: @spitsbergenmarathon

Race of a lifetime BMW Oslo Marathon prides itself on spectacular running terrain around Norway's capital, with a jovial atmosphere for participants and spectators alike. By Sunniva Davies-Rommetveit  |  Photos: BMW Oslo Marathon

Taking in all the main sights of Oslo city centre, from the government buildings to the trendy Aker docks area, BMW Oslo Marathon attracts around 20,000 participants each year from over 90 different countries. “People of all fitness levels can participate in the BMW Oslo Marathon,” explains marathon chief executive May Britt Dørum-Persen. “Whether you’re running on the day, or if you’re one of the 100,000 spectators, it’s a brilliant day out with lots of live music and fun activities.” The event’s inclusivity is well-illustrated by the sheer number of different races – from the mammoth Oslo triple, a 72-kilometre endurance run that combines a full and a half marathon, to the ten-kilometre race − all the way to shorter-distance runs for those just starting out.

Valuing health, wellbeing and the power of community, BMW Oslo Marathon combines fitness with the concept of giving back. For example, there is the ‘plogging’ fun run − a Scandinavian invention that combines a ten-kilometre jog with picking up litter. Another ten-kilometre run, called ‘10 for Grete’, is named in honour of Norway’s most successful marathon runner, Grete Waitz, who lost her battle to cancer in 2011. “This is what the BMW Oslo Marathon is all about,” explains Dørum-Persen. “We mix serious competitive long-distance running with various fun runs that everyone can partake in and enjoy.” BMW Oslo Marathon next takes place on 21 September 2019.


Issue 120  |  January 2019  |  37

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