Over 15,000 people will descend on the streets of the Danish capital on May 18th for the 35th annual Copenhagen Marathon. This year’s course loops through the heart of the city centre, passing several of Copenhagen’s most famous sights and attractions along the way.
Put yourself through your paces on the Copenhagen streets
If last year’s event is anything to go by, this year’s race will once again be a truly international event. The 2013 edition attracted runners from 59 countries, with international entrants accounting for 20 per cent of the total amount of runners.
The average completion time on the 41.2km Copenhagen Marathon course is roughly 4 hours 15 minutes, although the fastest runners tend to cross the finish line in just over two hours. No need to feel the pressure, however, as the race is open to runners of all abilities. So-called ‘pacesetters’ will be positioned at the start line carrying flags indicating their target finish times. Racers must then line up behind the pacesetter who best matches their anticipated finish time, which ranges from three to five hours.
This year’s race starts on Islands Brygge, just a ten-minute drive north from The Park Inn by Radisson Copenhagen Airport Hotel.
Sights along the route
The first couple of kilometres will see you make your way down H.C. Andersens Boulevard where you’ll pass The Tivoli Gardens, Copenhagen’s wonderful outdoor theme park. You may not have the energy for a rollercoaster ride come the end of your marathon, but a visit to one of the capital’s most iconic attractions is highly recommended at some point during your stay. Thrilling rides, carousels and a 100-year-old rollercoaster are just some of the attractions awaiting you.
Having taken in the outskirts of the Tivoli, you’ll soon find yourself galloping effortlessly past Copenhagen City Hall, easily recognisable thanks to its 105.6 meter tall clock tower. From there you will soon reach the magnificent Rosenborg Castle, a grandiose renaissance castle complete with vast gardens dating back to 1606. And if you fancy taking a closer look at a later time, you can drop by and explore the historic castle every day between 10am and 4pm, with an adult admission fee priced at 90 Danish Kroner (€12).
Directly opposite the castle you’ll find the city’s botanical gardens, a haven of peace and tranquillity which could be just the ticket for those wishing to recuperate from the exertion of a marathon challenge. Bring a picnic on a sunny day or simply stroll through this peaceful inner-city beauty spot.
Following a foray into the north-western part of the city centre, the route loops back into the heart of Copenhagen. The 16km mark sees you pass through Christianborg Palace, which houses the Danish Parliament, Supreme Court and Prime Minister’s Office. The marathon route dwindles its way through the 800-year-old building’s courtyards – exactly the type of fascinating surroundings required to give you that much needed energy boost. And if you’re a fan of Scandinavian TV drama, the palace exterior may seem more than a little familiar, having served as the backdrop for the hit political drama Borgen.
Nyhavn & Amalienborg Palace
The 25km mark lies just before the entrance to Nyhavn, Copenhagen’s most popular waterfront area which is lined with bars, restaurants and sailing boats. It’s the perfect spot in which to treat yourself to a well-earned drink later in the evening.
Next up is Amalienborg Palace, the main residence for the Queen of Denmark, which consists of four identical buildings spread across a majestic courtyard. Two of the buildings are open to the public, whilst the changing of the Royal Guard takes place every day at noon and is a real hit with tourists.
The Little Mermaid
The final point of interest lies just after the 27km point, and is by all accounts Copenhagen’s most iconic landmark. Since its unveiling in 1913, visitors have flocked to Langelinje Pier to catch a glimpse of the famous sculpture of The Little Mermaid. Inspired by Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, the bronze sculpture can be seen keeping a watchful eye on the city’s waters.