We just finished such a fun running experience that we want to document it before we forget any details. On 1 July while in London we were researching runs in Stockholm when we came across the Stockholm Urban Trail which was billed as a unique running experience in the centre of Stockholm City and they gave the following information: “The course is approximately 10 kilometres and takes in the city’s streets, lanes and stairs. Instead of forests and nature, you’ll run not just past, but also through, a good number of famous and not-so-well-known buildings. With STHLM Urban Trail, we guarantee a running experience out of the ordinary. You will smell the scent of asphalt in the morning sun, feel your hands caress world-famous banisters, skip up walnut staircases and sweat in buildings more familiar with perfume, make-up and horn-rimmed glasses.” Well we just experienced it and they did not disappoint. Fortunately for us the heat wave has broken and it was in the 50’s when we headed out, Jim had to wear a jacket for the first time in months. As this is an Urban Trail run the running route is quite narrow and they let the 3,700 registered runners go out in small groups of 25-30 at a time.
The first start was at 07:10 and we were in the last of six groups scheduled to start at 08:50. We were being passed by finishers as we were walking to our start. We started about 08:55 and ran along the waterfront a short ways by The Vasamuseet before going into Vikingaliv which is a journey to the Viking age, up a flight of stairs through the first floor displays and down another flight and out the back door we went.
On the street again we passed Abba The Museum and then ran up a short hill to Skansen which is the world’s oldest open-air museum, showcasing the whole of Sweden with houses and farmsteads from every part of the country.
Here we ran up a long escalator, which was not running of course, to the top of Skansen where we ran through some of the displays back down the hill onto the street.
We then ran quite a ways from Djurgården across a bridge to Östermalm where we ran into Armémuseum up three flights of stairs to the 2nd floor display hall which we ran through before exiting down the stairs and running on into Norrmalm for a spin through Rigoletto, a classic theatre, and Mood a downtown shopping mall.
Our number pickup a few days before had been at the Downtown Camper by Scandic hotel which is quite a hipster hangout so of course we had to do a brief run through the lobby of the hotel.
From here we started our run back towards the start/finish line going through Musikaliska, a county classical music venue, and the Nordic Museet, a Nordic lifestyle museum on the way.
When we came out of the music hall it was raining quite hard and we had to run the last kilometer in a cold rain. Just before the finish line we ran through the large back deck of a restaurant where one of the runners jumped into a small swimming pool on the deck. We finished cold and soggy but with very high spirits as the run was so much fun. We covered around six miles and 22 flights of stairs in about 80 minutes with a lot of stops for pictures. Jim learned that his name in Swedish is Yames as that is how the volunteers cheered him on. One of the highlights was having an Iraqi and his Palestinian boss ask Jim about his Palestine Marathon shirt at the end of the run. We struck up a long conversation and shared contact information. For the first time in a long time we were both quite cold and walked/ran quite briskly to the bus stop to get home for long hot showers. Now we have Sunday afternoon to do the NYT crossword and work on blogs.