Author Archives: run

Stockholm Marathon

Author: Frederic Gabry

Exactly 6 weeks after Paris marathon, it was time to take on another race together: Stockholm Marathon… Here is a slightly-delayed race report!

Before the race
At Paris Marathon I was slightly better prepared than Dennis. However during the 6 weeks leading up to Stockholm Marathon (SM), Dennis managed to prepare very nicely while I had to decrease the mileage due to various reasons. I ran a 10km 2 weeks prior to SM in 34:39 in the woods of Paris with good sensations, while Dennis ran Kungsholmen Runt in 1:19:03. Hence we were expecting to be roughly at similar shape for the race, something around 2h45.

I came back to Stockholm on Thursday night for the first time since December, and I realize how I had missed the city! I spent quite some time walking in the city on that evening, just for old times’ sake.

First thing in Stockholm

First thing in Stockholm

The pre-race plan, if we can call it so, was discussed at Zhao’s Ph.D. defense dinner in Pong buffet. We decided to go at around 3:50pace until hopefully Stadion, or at least as far as we could. If we could follow a group or some runners that we expected to be at sub2:45, this would be even better. I had convinced Hartmut, a colleague of mine from Paris to join the race as well, and he was attempting a 3h30 time that would be, if successful, a 30min improvement over his PB. My hope was to be able to run the last 4-5kms with him to provide some help. This would not happen as planned, though…

The race
After a relatively good sleep and some light breakfast (followed by some more sleep) with Hartmut in my old apartment next to KTH, it was time for a quick warm-up and a long run.

Back in my old flat

Back in my old flat

Legs were feeling heavy, as usual for me during marathon warm-ups… I had packed 3 of my favorite energy gels (they have the uncommon characteristic to not taste like toxic waste), and we were in our vintage Midnattsloppet 2011 shirt. No rain until 11:59:59, BOOM here we go! And the rain starts with us.

After a relative uneventful first 10km, it was clear that 1) we were going for a steady pace that felt easy to me 2) I had to pee 3) It was going to feel cold at some point. Point 2) was solved at the 12km mark when Dennis kindly dropped his key, which allowed me to take a 20sec break. Point 1) and 3) however were more problematic as it seemed after 15km that we will not be able to break the best limit we could hope for pre-race: 2h40. However PB, that is roughly sub 2h45, was still possible assuming an even pace all race. Point 3) also came into play at kilometer 24km while entering Djurgården, as my shoe laces untied and with stiff hands I was not able to re-lace them. This was the lowest point for me in the race as Dennis, after waiting a long while for me thought I was done for and started “running again”. Fortunately a race funktionär was nice enough to expertly tie my laces, and with that rush of adrenalin, I went on with a quicker pace to come back with Dennis, which was managed after a 26th km at 3:34pace!

The rest of the race went quite easily afterwards, even though legs were obviously becoming stiffer. We were still discussing at regular intervals, which might have slowed us down overall, but made the race really enjoyable. At km 38, we passed legend Swedish runner Anders Szalkai and Dennis was very happy to be able to exchange a few words with him. At km 40 we began discussing our triumphal entrance in Stadion, and we settled for the hand holding strategy as illustrated below. We finished 103rd and 104th , with a satisfying 2h46min20sec time.


After the traditional duo photo by Dennis’ mom, it was time to unfreeze!

Frozen guys

Frozen guys

After the race
The most painful part was only beginning as we were completely frozen, and I have a very bad resistance to cold. I obviously skipped my plan to pick up Hartmut, being unable to hold things or utter intelligible words other than “Ca va”. Walking back home took 30minutes for a 2km walk through Stora Skogen… After a warm shower everything was OK again, and the feeling was overwhelmingly positive. Sure we had not gone as fast as we could considering the weather conditions, our 2 stops and our “take-it-easy” behavior during the race, but it was so much better than in Paris marathon when we had to run the last 20kms alone. Finishing together in a crowded Stadion despite the rain was a unique feeling that beats any time on the watch consideration. Hartmut was also very pleased with the race, having realized a 3h29 time, beating his previous PR by more than 30minutes! We all celebrated at Dennis’ friends on that night with jacuzzi, sauna, beer and good food on the program and in that moment it all felt worth it. To the next one!

Marathon de Paris

Author: Dennis Sundman

Last year both Frédéric and I graduated from school. So it was time to get a haircut and find a job. I decided to start working close by, but Frédéric chose to try his luck in the city of light, Paris. Naturally this makes a perfect excuse to run Paris marathon.

Signing up to the race was an easy task, and a few weeks before the start a race-certificate arrived in the mailbox. However, a detail easily overlooked for Paris marathon is that the participants are required to provide a health certificate. The certificate must explicitly state “no contraindication to athletics, running, or triathlon in competition”. You would guess that getting such a certificate is an easy task, but then you are mistaken. I first tried two different vårdcentraler (first level health care), but their main problem was that I was still listed as belonging to another vårdcentral. Changing this might be done, but none seemed very keen on helping out and I got comments like “the next free time slot is in three months” (this was two weeks before the race), and “we don’t provide that service here”. So I went to a private health care elsewhere. There they happily provided the document after 1 minute of listening to my lungs and heart – at a price of 1250 SEK. Below is a picture of the certificate. They didn’t even get the text correct.

Race certificate

Race certificate to run Paris marathon. No Dr. degree on this certificate.

A colleague decided to join the trip and on Friday afternoon, departing early from work, we set off to Arlanda. In contrast to Löfven we knew that flygbussarna travel from Bromma to Arlanda. Conveniently they stop just outside our work. The trip was smooth and we arrived in Paris about 9 pm.

Since the race was on Sunday, we had the whole Saturday to take it easy. We picked up our numbers (this is where the certificate was required) and ate pasta and candy. We also managed some post- and pre-race shopping, chess and other relaxing activities such as watching soccer.

Paris marathon starts 8:45 am, so we decided to set the alarm at 5:45. Some light breakfast and then slacking for an hour before the race. We choose to get the warmup by jogging there, which turned out to be a good idea. On the way we ran along parts of the marathon track and since the race was soon about to start they had already placed the “bajamajor” ( there. This may have saved the day since it turned out that the number of bajamajor at the start of the race was dramatically (yes) too few.

The race started and I immediately felt that this was going to be a tough day. Our plan was to keep 3:50 pace for as long as possible, attempting to run sub 2:50. This is a mutual benefit agreement we have used before and if one of us wants to go on, that is fine. The first 10 km was averaged at about 3:48 pace. I was trying to keep my spirits high, but it was clear that sooner or later I would have to slow down. However, we took a first energy gel and pressed on. Now I was struggling a bit, and the second 10 km went at about 3:52 pace. We met some of Frédérics friends at km 21 which lightened the mood, but at km 22, I told Frédéric that I must slow down and since he looked strong he should continue alone. Below is a video from just before km 21. We appear at 14:15 and are easily distinguished by the neon orange midnattsloppet shirts and the fact that we seem to discuss other things than running. I wear a white cap.

I slowed down to 4:00 pace and adjusted the goal from sub 2:50 to sub 3:00 marathon. I managed to keep this pace up until km 29 where a friend (the colleague) provided energy gel and sugar. However, from km 30 until the finish was serious pain. I was so focused on counting the distance to the finish line that I totally missed the second last water station at about km 32. This was not good since there were no more water until about km 40. Anyway, the crowd was awesome although it took me a while to realize that “Alé Denní!” means “Go Dennis!”. Particularly the support in the last few hundred meters was something I had never experienced before. Usually towards the finish line, people are cheering a lot, but the roar we were greeted with this time was amazing. This was a good thing because no matter how beaten down I felt before, after such support the legs felt tons lighter and I happily sprinted the last part. I finally met Frédéric again in the goal after 2:54. He was also happy, succeeding with the time 2:48.

After the race we quickly gathered some people that had been cheering for us and went to the park for wine, cheese, baguette, ham, and any other sort of french picnic food you can imagine.

Frédéric to the right and myself to the left celebrating our run with some bubbly wine.

Frédéric to the right and myself to the left celebrating the run with some bubbly wine. Still post-race cold, but this changed quickly with some food.

Later we went to Gladines and had one of the greatest meals of all time.



Both my colleague and I had taken another two days off, so Monday and Tuesday were spent on the streets of Paris, shopping, eating, hanging about, and all the other things you might want to do in The City of Light.