Whether it’s the warm glow of the midnight sun in the summer or the breathtaking beauty of the aurora borealis, Scandinavia is a region where there still seems to be a little bit of magic around every corner. There’s no better way to experience this than on foot, and fortunately, Scandinavia boasts some incredible marathons that showcase its charm. Here are six of the best marathons you can’t miss if you’re journeying north.
The far-northern city of Tromsø, some 1,000 miles north of Oslo plays host to the Midnight Sun Marathon.
Starting at 8:30 pm, the course is lit by the all-night sunlight of the Norwegian summer and hugs the waters of the Arctic Ocean. The city is surrounded by mountains, making this an unforgettably scenic race.
Dates: June 16, 2018
Location: Tromsø, Norway
Billed as the largest cross-country running race in the world, the Lidingöloppet has over 60,000 participants every year. The event, held just outside of Stockholm, Sweden, has several race distances, and the longest—the TCS Lidingöloppet 30km—is not quite a marathon, but close enough that any long-distance junkie will still love it.
The course crosses grass fields and dirt trails through the forest and is jam-packed with spectators. There’s no loneliness of the long distance runner in this massive XC festival.
Dates: September 28-30, 2018
Location: Lidingö, Sweden
The trail 42km at the EcoTrail Reykjavik isn’t actually the longest option at this stunningly beautiful trail event—you can double it to 84 km if you want! If you are looking for incredible views of the North Atlantic, along with a course that crosses lava fields, green meadows, and dirt trails just outside of Iceland’s capital, this is the race for you.
It starts at 10 pm, and thanks to the midnight sun, you’ll see both sunset and sunrise during your race. The race is limited to 300 participants, and you have to largely bring your own supplies, but it’s well-worth the journey.
Dates: July 6, 2018
Location: Reykjavik, Iceland
This early summer marathon loops around Lake Mývatn, a volcanic lake replete with natural hot springs rumored to have rejuvenating properties. The wide-open course follows the perimeter of the lake, and on a clear day, you’ll be able to see both the other side of the lake and the stark, volcanic scenery that surrounds it. It’s a reminder that not all of Scandinavia is green meadows and fjords—Mývatn Marathon winds through vast lava fields and craters that dominate the landscape.
It’s a reminder that not all of Scandinavia is green meadows and fjords—this marathon winds through vast lava fields and craters that dominate the landscape.
Dates: May 26, 2018
Location: Mývatn, Iceland
Few people think of the Faroe Islands when they think of Scandinavia, but this island nation in the North Atlantic has an incredibly beautiful marathon that meanders along fjords, past waterfalls, and through rolling hills along the coast.
With only about 130 participants, Tórshavn Marathon is the perfect choice if you want a serene marathon course far off the beaten path.
Dates: June 3, 2018
Location: Tórshavn, Faroe Islands
There’s no better way to see a city than on foot, and if you are looking for the best big city marathon experience in Scandinavia, it’s got to be the Copenhagen Marathon.
The course twists and turns through the heart of Denmark’s capital, showcasing the city’s architecture and history. The race is dead-flat, and starts and finishes just across from the Inner City, home to dozens of beautiful buildings.
Dates: May 13, 2018
Location: Copenhagen, Denmark
Feature image: Copenhagen MarathonLast updated on Dec 9, 2019
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