04 April 2014, 7am
With New York City Marathon as its model, ASICS Stockholm Marathon started in 1979 and was an immediate success. With over 2,000 runners, it was Europe’s largest marathon and the success story has continued. This year’s event has 21,813 participants from 92 nations. Both figures are records for the race, which, last year, was the 4th largest Marathon in Europe after Paris, Berlin and London.
The start takes place just outside Stockholms Stadion, the main arena for the 1912 Olympic Games, and the race passes many of Stockholm’s great sights. After two kilometres the runners turn onto the beautiful Strandvägen, one of the city’s most fashionable streets. The race continues past Norrmalmstorg, in the middle of the business and shopping district, and through Kungsträdgården before reaching the Royal Palace. The Palace is open all year to the public and is the official workplace of the Swedish royal family.
The runners are now in Gamla Stan, the medieval part of the city, a must for any tourist interested in history. If you are spending a few days in Stockholm, we recommend you step back in time and wander through the narrow lanes between the well-preserved buildings from the 14th century.
The race continues over Skeppsbron to Slussen and the district of Södermalm. A flat stretch along Riddarfjärdens waterfront is followed by the most difficult part of the course, the incline to Västerbron bridge. From Söder Mälarstrand up to the crest of the bridge is a climb of about 30 metres, but once there you can enjoy one of the finest views of Stockholm. To the right are the silhouettes of the City Hall and the heart of Gamla Stan with its churches and towers. To the left, beyond green Långholmen, lies Lake Mälaren, packed with boats of every kind.
After a few kilometres along Norr Mälarstrand on Kungsholmen, the characteristic three crowns on top of the City Hall come into view. Every year, at the beginning of December, the City Hall is filled with the world’s leading scientists and researchers together with the Swedish royal family and government, when the Nobel banquet is held in honour of the Nobel prize winners.
The course then continues through the districts of Norrmalm and Vasastan before the runners return to Östermalm and Valhallavägen and begin the second lap of the race. This lap leads out to the wide green open space, Gärdet. Along Djurgårdsbrunnsvägen are several large museums, which are well worth a visit.
After just after 20km you will see the 155 metre tall Kaknäs Tower, and a few kilometres further, the runners cross Djurgårdsbrunns Canal and enter the Royal National Park of Djurgården, renowned for its many sights. During the two kilometres on the island, you will pass the world’s first open-air museum, Skansen, amusement park, Gröna Lund, the Abba Museum and the world famous Vasa Museum. The Vasa was the world’s mightiest battleship when she set sail on her maiden voyage in 1628. After just a few minutes she sank to the bottom with 64 cannons and 300 men onboard. In 1961 the Vasa was raised and the well-preserved ship is today one of Sweden’s biggest tourist attractions.
The last quarter of ASICS Stockholm Marathon follows the same route as the end of the first lap. After just over 40 kilometres the runners turn into Sturegaten and are carried along by the crowd towards the finish in the magnificent Stockholms Stadion. A total of 83 world records have been broken in this stadium, which was also the finish for the Olympic Marathon in 1912. After 42,195 metres through the beautiful city of Stockholm you can finally take a breath and celebrate.