Yesterday evening it was time for the second running competition for this year. Both of us participated in Trosa Stadslopp at the beginning of July. It was now time for Midnattsloppet here in Stockholm. Sadly Susann felt a bit ill and decided not to run, so it was only me (Jesper) who did run in the end.

Midnattsloppet was quite an interesting experience. With around 25.000 people running the 10 kilometers on Södermalm here in Stockholm, the race is one of the biggest sports events of the summer. The name Midnattsloppet would in English be translated to the Midnight Run. Actually the run does not start at midnight, but around the time of sunset.

Midnattsloppet is also arranged in Gothenburg, Malmö, and Helsinki and it had a total of 65.000 runners participating in 2015. This makes it the biggest running competition in the Nordic countries.

Midnattsloppet 2016, Stockholm

Midnattsloppet: A Bit Of History

The first edition of Midnattslopet was held in 1982 and back then it had 2.852 runners participating. The number of participants has grown steadily ever since. Especially when the competition started to be arranged in more cities more people decided to take part. The first competition in Gothenburg was held in 2008, in Malmö 2013, and in Helsinki 2010. It was also arranged in Copenhagen twice – in 2009 and 2010.

As for the competition in Stockholm the best times have not been determined as the track has been adjusted over the years.

But the history of the competition is not only a dance on roses. During a warm summer evening in 2010 several people needed an ambulance and hospital treatment. Sadly two runners died during the race that year.

Preperations Before Takeoff

Considering that I had not been exercising since Trosa Stadslopp for over a month ago, I had no expectations for a good time. I decided to run and enjoy the atmosphere instead. Nonetheless, I hoped to finish the run within an hour.

It was quite amazing to see the amount of runners. As almost everyone was wearing the official t-shirt the effect was impressive. Even more so when seeing the first groups taking off in their turquoise t-shirts. The ones who didn’t wear the official top were either elite runners or people participating in the masquerade run. The color of the t-shirts change each year. This time the spectators witnessed a sea of turquoise!

I was warmed up and was ready to go when I went to the starting area at the designated time. But with so many people around it was hard to stay warmed up until the start 20 minutes later. However, I must admit that it was an impressive logistic achievement to get everyone to the starting line. It was really a good atmosphere at the start as the speakers cheered on all the runners and even took their time to give a short introduction on the code of conduct.

Midnattsloppet 2016, Stockholm

How Did It Go?

The first 3 kilometers of running felt really good, that was until we reached the first ascent. There were quite a few of these ascents along the way. You could actually walk faster than most people who tried to run, as the ascents were quite steep. At the same time it is really fun that there are obstacles around the track as it makes it a bit more challenging and fun. At least it would have been fun had I been exercising more before the competition.

So what was the best part? Running in beautiful Stockholm a late Saturday evening. The view from some parts of the track really was amazing and running in town instead of outside in a forested area also makes it more impressive. And of course the atmosphere created by so many runners- that really is one of the highlights of this run. One thing I do assume is that it would be difficult to run Midnattsloppet in an attempt to improve your time on 10 kilometers. This due to the fact that there are so many runners. A lot of your energy is lost on trying to pass everyone running slower than you. But this has some charm to it as well.

One thing is for sure, I’m quite satisfied with my time. I finished the race in just over an hour. And I did survive. Who knows, maybe this will become a new tradition together with Trosa Stadslopp.

Midnattsloppet 2016, StockholmMidnattsloppet 2016, Stockholm

Compared With Trosa Stadslopp

Earlier this summer we ran Trosa Stadslopp. Comparing these two events, there are just so many more runners at Midnattsloppet. In the end there were probably more spectators as well. Taking into account the difference in both the number of inhabitants and runners, I would say that Trosa Stadslopp is more successful in engaging the whole community. However, Midnattsloppet is more focused on engaging the participants.

It is almost a tie between the two competitions. I personally prefer Trosa Stadslopp, as it is a lot more familiar to me. I know more people in the area of Trosa and it is nice to return there for a weekend in the summer. But it is also nice to find and participate in a competition like Midnattsloppet here in Stockholm.

Midnattsloppet 2016, StockholmMidnattsloppet 2016, Stockholm

Cytunes And All The Bands Playing

One last comment about Midnattsloppet. The organizers had really put a lot of energy on ensuring that there were things happening along the track. There were bands performing, DJs playing and even a small carnival.

One of the most fun things to see was the band Cytunes. This is a local band that consists of my colleagues from work. Certainly, this is something that gives a bit of extra energy when running. The only sad thing about Cytunes playing is that they were not able to stand at multiple spots along the track.

Cytunes, Midnattsloppet 2016, StockholmMidnattsloppet 2016, Stockholm