We try to create a new tradition for us and it is not to sit in front of the television. As a matter of fact we do not even own a television to sit in front of. The tradition in question is a running competition in the small town of Trosa on the Swedish east coast, a short distance south of Stockholm. The first Friday after the Midsummer weekend hundreds of excited people start gather at the town square. From the town square and run along the picturesque small streets of Trosa. Participating is a pleasure as Trosa Stadslopp is one of the local highlights during the whole summer.

The distance of 8,9 kilometers is not what is composing the biggest challenge. Sometimes the biggest obstacle is to keep up the speed in case someone you know (or someone who knows you) happens to be one of the hundreds a spectators that are standing along the tracks. Coming from an area nearby there are multiple people around that you know one way or another. And oh the shame if they see you slacking off!

I (Jesper) have been running the competition several times when I was younger. But last year was the first time in some years as I was able to convince Susann to join and luckily we both survived and wanted to run also this year.

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Trosa Stadslopp: A Bit Of History

In 2016 the race celebrates its 30th anniversary. It has existed longer than Jesper!

What makes the run enjoyable is not the route (there are plenty of hills) but the people. The spectators are really cheering on all the participants along the track. During the race the runners have the chance to enjoy almost all the important sights in Trosa, including the square, the harbor, and Jesper’s grandparents’ building.

The men’s record was made in 1997 by Martin Ojuku from Kenya. His time was 25 minutes 15 seconds. The record for women is held by Ethiopian Degefa Eshetu. She ran the distance in 29 minutes 8 seconds in 2011. Each time we are happy and clap each other’s backs if we survive.

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So, How Did It Go?

For first, we did survive and we did finish. It turned out to be a surprisingly nice summer evening in Trosa. Tthe forcasts during the week had repeatedly predicted an evening with thunder and rain. It even got quite warm during the race as several hundred runners filled the streets.

As always when running a race like this, you notice after the first kilometer that you probably should have trained a bit harder beforehand. A great deal of concentration was needed to keep up the pace throughout the 8,9 kilometers and it sure got sweaty. But isn’t that the point when running?

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We will not mention our exact times, they might not have been as good as we had hoped. But most of our training consisted of taking walks. But it really is a nice surrounding in which to run, all the old houses along the road. The view over the sea. Just perfect. And there’s always a next time, isn’t there?

The most impressive part of the race? How fast the winners always finish. Hearing from the speakers when you are around halfway that the first runners are closing in on the finish line. Well, we will never think about competing with them. Yetsedaw Minale from Ethiopia finished first in the men’s race, his time was 26:00. The quickest woman was Etalemahu Zeleke Habtewold from FK Malmö , she finished in 29:22. Far ahead of us. But we are happy and content – we made it to the finish line. We will be back next year, running the Trosa Stadslopp.

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If you want to read more about the town of Trosa, check out our post >>Exploring Sweden – Trosa, Södermanland
You can also find more information about Trosa Stadslopp at their official home page http://trosastadslopp.se/ (In Swedish).