Stockholm summer of sport
They might have narrowly missed out on qualifying for this year’s World Cup, but Sweden isn’t going to let that get in the way of a great season. Pack your running shoes and get ready to enjoy a summer of sport in the Swedish capital.
Sweden might have made a name for itself with meatballs and efficiently designed flat pack furniture, but there’s a lot more to this country than the mighty Ikea chain. The capital is filled with beautiful architecture and the people responsible for the surge of ‘Scandi cool’, and it also just so happens to host some world-class athletic events. This summer, Stockholmers will be running, swimming and cycling all over their gorgeous city – so here’s our pick of the best three races.
It’s called the ‘Midnight Race’ in English, and 16 August 2014 will mark the 33rd birthday of this insanely popular run. Thousands of competitors dressed in neon yellow ‘Midnattsloppet’ t-shirts set off just after the late summer sunset at 10pm, navigating a 10km course around trendy Södermalm.
As you can imagine, it’s quite a spectacle. That’s probably why 200,000 people turn out to watch each year, shouting encouragement at the runners, stomping their feet and revelling in the festival atmosphere. There’s music, fancy dress contests, and partying well after sunrise. Head to the Zinkensdamms IP sports ground on Ringvägen to catch the start of the race.
The Triathlon World Championships
Running, swimming, and cycling all rolled into one sweaty, exhausting event. The ITU World Triathlon Series is one of the biggest competitions around, with events taking place in eight cities throughout the year. On 24th August, Stockholm will host the penultimate race, with the final held in the Canadian city of Edmonton, Alberta just a few days later.
Registration is open to everyone, with races for elite athletes held separately out of consideration for both parties – no one likes getting lapped, after all. British athletes tend to do well in Stockholm, and Alistair Brownlee, Jonathan Brownlee and Non Stanford all brought home medals from last year’s race. The event is broadcast online, but we reckon it’s more fun to turn up and cheer them on in person.
The Stockholm Gran Fondo
Cycling is probably the hottest sport around right now. Its rising popularity has made Bradley Wiggins and Chris Hoy into household names, bike sales have gone through the roof (overtaking car sales for the first time), and now the citizens of Stockholm are gearing up for their first ever Gran Fondo mass bicycle race on 24th May.
Gran Fondo races are all about fun and friendship, so expect professional cyclists rubbing shoulders with total amateurs – the sort who occasionally cycle to work. The Stockholm route runs for 150km, passing through the city centre before heading out into the scenic Roslagen countryside. There’s also a Medio Fondo route; a comparably manageable 60km. The race starts and finishes at the Solna Friends Arena, just a stone’s throw from our Park Inn by Radisson Solna. Once the cyclists hit the road, spectators can enjoy trade fair, entertainment, and plenty of tasty Scandi snacks while awaiting their return.
Whether you’re taking part or just going along to watch, one thing’s for certain – Stockholm’s sure to get your adrenaline pumping this summer.