On May 28th, I participated in the 33rd running of the Stockholm Marathon. I was one of 15,000 runners who completed the event. The weather was beautiful: 16 degrees Celsius, overcast, with a light wind. The crowd support was especially strong in the "old city" island of Gamla Stan. The course began outside the 1912 Olympic Stadium and finished with a lap around the stadium. It was beautiful course through miles of medieval architecture, across bridges, through newer sections of town, and a long run through a large city park.
There were a few things that made the race unique. The race started at an unusually late time of 11:30 AM. Some of the food choices for runners were unusual. Midway through the race, runners were offered dill pickles. Towards the end of the race they were handing out cups of warm vegetable broth. Cola and sugar cubes were also available at a few locations along the race.
The streets were very crowded for much of the race, making it impossible to pass fellow runners. Despite the crowded course, I ran a PR of 3:34:10. The weather conditions were good, and the course was relatively flat. I credit the speed work (run primarily with Wes Borowski and Josh Tysver over the last several months) for the 22 minute improvement in my marathon time since the Twin Cities Marathon of October 2010.
Stockholm is a beautiful city. Lisa and I had a great time there. I am looking for inspiration for my next overseas destination marathon.
Marathon winner, Shumi Gerbaba (Ethiopia), 2:14:07.