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Stockholm Marathon

June, or late May, every year is when the eyes of the marathon world focus on Sweden. The Stockholm Marathon is very popular with runners and spectators and the course provides an opportunity to see the city centre twice, as there are two laps.

Runners start the race close to where it ends, making the collecting of bags and the transport options more simple, and begin by starting the first clockwise lap around the city centre by heading east. After a turn to go south the runners meet up with the water views that will feature in many parts of the race. The course heads west before the runners cross Vasterbron bridge. The course then heads north and east to complete the first lap. The second lap is longer than the first, with runners heading more to the east to visit Gardet and Djurgarden. After completing the second lap the marathon ends at the Olympic Stadium.

The Olympic Stadium hosted the 1912 Olympic Games, making Stockholm a city with a century of marathon tradition. South Africans Ken McArthur and Christian Gitsham won gold and silver in that race.

Something different compared to many other races is that the Stockholm Marathon has a start time around lunch, not early in the morning. The expected temperature range is 10 degrees Celsius to 20 degrees Celsius. There are a variety of drink stations around the course, many provide water and energy drinks while others just have water. Energy foods, fruit and other helpful items are also available.

There are some uphill segments for runners to be aware of, the two toughest times are on the approach and crossing the Vasterbron bridge. Leaving the bridge is also tough with a steep descent to contend with. Heading to the finish, from around the 38km mark, means going uphill for most of the final part of the course.

Hugh Jones of the United Kingdom set the record for the course in 1983 and it still stands today. His quick time was 2 hours, 11 minutes and 37 seconds. Others to have won the race include Kjell-Erik Stahl, Simon Robert Naali, Alfred Shemweta and Kasirayi Sita. The women's course record was set by Norway's Grete Waitz in 1988 with a time of 2 hours,28 minutes and 24 seconds. Some of the Swedish women that won this event include Isabellah Andersson, Midde Hamrin and Evy Palm.

International visitors will fly into Stockholm-Arlanda Airport. Around Stockholm, the public transport to use is the T-Bana metro system and the other trains, light rail, trams and buses the city has.

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