I grew up in Tacloban City, Philippines, developing a love for Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tales and stories. The Little Mermaid stood out in my mind because of its particularly beautiful and haunting ending. When I registered for the marathon in Copenhagen, visiting one of its iconic tourist attractions was at the top of our must-see list.
We were in Ramstein AFB, Germany for work the past two days but we were on the road again at 3:30 AM on Saturday morning to catch the 6:40 AM Ryanair flight to Copenhagen out of Charleroi. Copenhagen Airport is a huge international airport serving Copenhagen, Denmark, the entire Zealand, the Øresund Region, and a large part of southern Sweden.
The marathon expo at Spartahallen opened at 10:00 AM so when we landed a little before 9:00 AM, I thought we could make it to the statue of The Little Mermaid and be back early to pick up my bib. Nope, I got us lost and we ended up at the Hellerup metro station because the train we were on did not stop at Nordhavn.
We backtracked and by the time we arrived at the marathon expo, it was already in full swing. At least we bought 24-hour tourist tickets for 170 Danish kroner each valid for the metro, train, and bus. One euro was about 6 Danish kroner. Free wi-fi was available on all public transportation, as well as at the airport.
The kids’ marathon was in progress at the park in front of the expo site. On the other side of the park, people were doing tai chi.
From Spartahallen, we took the 1A bus at Arhusgade (13 mins, 8 stops) to Kongens Nytorv and got on the M1 metro in the direction of Vestamager (8 mins, 5 stops) to Bella Center. The metro came at 3-minute intervals and was fully automated. It was both interesting and a little unnerving to get on a driver-less metro car.
We stayed at the AC Hotel by Marriott at the Bella Sky Center. The hotel is a very nice 23-story, two tower edifice that was the epitome of Scandinavian aesthetic. Our room was sparsely modern. The wall between the bathroom and bedroom area was glass. We faced the other tower and could see in the windows of those rooms. No privacy if you prefer, although you could lower the shades for some.
We deposited our luggage and went to the nearby Netto supermarket to stock up on our usual basics. We rested and were out again in search of the elusive mermaid. We asked the concierge this time for directions and he recommended that we take the M1 metro to Vanlose (9 mins, 5 stops) and get off at Kongens Nytorv. From there, it was a short walk to Nyhavn, a 17th century waterfront district with colorful buildings and many dining choices, and a few more minutes of walking to the correct waterfront.
We finally found the little mermaid statue displayed on a rock by the waterside at the Langelinie promenade. She was beautiful, and surrounded by a throng of tourists queueing to have their pictures taken with her.
We took some photos of the views on the way back and paused for a buffet dinner at one of the cafes by Nyhavn before calling it a night.
The alarm went off at 6:30 AM on Sunday morning. After a quick breakfast, we took the metro to Islands Brygge, three stops away from our hotel.
There was a cool breeze in the morning but it was basically a warm day for running. By 9:30 AM, the elite runners were off and the runners in my corral began our race 15 minutes later.
I love the fact that I get to see a city up close when I run. The Copenhagen course was designed to go through the city center where we ran by a mix of avant garde and historical architecture.
It was also interesting to watch the people I run with. A local running club was out in full force with its members running while pushing adults with very special needs. I was moved by the expressions on their faces and touched by the applause they received from the spectators. The club also provided its own logistical support so that runners and the people on the wheelchairs can get specialized aid. The aid stations had water, High5 sport drinks, oranges, and bananas. Water hoses were provided to cool us down.
Runners were duly entertained by the variety of entertainment provided on the course.
One section was interesting; women wore carnival costumes and danced to the drum line. We passed their section three times and they were tireless in cheering us on.
All said, it was another good race done. Richard got a 1:00 PM late checkout and they allowed me to use the shower at the fitness center to clean up before flying back to Belgium.