May 27, 2015

Stockholm Marathon, Harness Races (Elitloppet) and more...

This coming weekend (May 29th-31st) is one of the craziest in the Stockholm calendar with a couple of big events happening at the same time. If you are visiting this weekend and none of them appeal to you... remember that you still have to consider that these events mean lots of people in the city (full hotels and restaurants) and traffic problems.
Marathon runners on "Strömbron"
Photo by Rickard Forsberg
First off, we have the 31st annual Stockholm Marathon happening on Saturday. This is a huge event with almost 21,000 runners representing 101 countries. Both the start and finish lines are at Stadion (the classic 1912 Olympic stadium). The race starts at 12 noon and the course takes racers through the scenic streets and parks of downtown Stockholm (two laps). This of course means major road closures throughout the city for most of Saturday. To avoid any problems... stick to walking, subways or ferries to get around on this day. Wherever you go in downtown Stockholm on Saturday, you are bound to see racers and people lining the streets. Take the time to stop and cheer the runners on! It is easy to get from the Rival Hotel to the stadium. It is just five stops away on the subway (red line). If you are running in the marathon, public transportation is free for you... just show your racing bib or registration.
"Univers de Pan" at Solvalla
Phot by Lars Jakobsson Kanal 75
Secondly, we have Elitloppet going on all weekend. This is one of the largest harness (horse) races in the world and attracts over 50,000 visitors to the Solvalla race track. The track is located a little outside the city center, so you might be oblivious that races are actually going on if you aren't a harness enthusiast... though you will notice it at hotels, restaurants and bars in the city. If you are interested, there are 40 races going on between the 29th and 31st with the main race (Elitloppet) happening on Sunday, May 31st. Tickets can be purchased through their website linked above.
Runners passing Stockholm City Hall.
Photo by Rickard Forsberg.
Thirdly, this weekend is the infamous lönehelg ("pay weekend"). Most Swedes get paid on the 25th of every month and the first weekend following the 25th tends to be notoriously busy in bars and restaurants... filled with Swedes with pay checks burning holes in their pockets. Cruise ship season has started as well and several big cruise ships are due in this weekend. And to end it all, Sunday is Mother's Day here in Sweden! So, all of this means you really should book restaurants for this weekend in advance. If you are staying at the Rival Hotel, contact me directly for help.

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