I was the kid who hated phys ed class, and the thought of running the 1,500m made me so nervous, I would nearly make myself sick.
I ran my first 1/2 marathon in 2010, starting this decade of slowly running long distances, collecting finishers metals and very attractive finish line photos in the process. I have not gotten faster or more graceful, but I have got to run races in some pretty incredible places, but the most exotic location was my 4th marathon – the Tromso Midnight Sun Marathon in 2019.
The Midnight Sun Marathon is a great “bucket list” marathon, as it is one of the most northern marathons, it takes place in the middle of the night on summer solstice, where the little city of Tromso is treated to 24 hour light. This is a scenic race, which takes you along arctic landscapes, beside a fjord, and past the arctic cathedral for an unforgettable experience. The midnight sun was the most surprising – I had expected it to have an eerie twilight glow, but it felt like 2pm all day and night.
The title midnight sun turned out to be a little misleading. Turns out it was a midnight rain race, and from the moment I lined up at the start line to the minute I crossed the finish line, I was bathed in cold arctic rain.I had optimistically worn a sun hat, which did make for some weird optic illusions when I tried to get selfies!Note the complete outfit change in these last two photos. Andrew saved my skin, as he delivered a change of clothes to the half-way point, and I did a complete costume change at 13k, out of the coat which had cold water pooling in the sleeves and drenched t-shirt into a briefly dry top. I think this allowed me to stave off the chill long enough to finish the race.
My phone did not fare so well in the weather, arbitrarily turning my tunes up and down for most of the run in alternating ear-drum bursting blares and silent gaps, which did not distract me from the long, difficult race. It ended up being a tough run for me, but several hours later, I crossed the finish line, happily accepted my metal and deliciously-warm foil blanket. I hobbled back to the hostel, thrilled to have finished, excited for a hot shower, until I saw the extent of chaffing the 42.2km in the rain had etched on my skin.
This is the glamorous side of running! I was completely decimated by this race, but really pleased to have persevered, but I failed to recognize that the biggest challenge was yet to come – getting out a bunk bed when my legs had stopped working.
Here are a few more pics from the race photographer to give you a flavour for the rainy race:
But if you are looking for a cool race to add to your collection, a trip to Tromso is highly recommended.