The next stop on our 2017 marathon itinerary was Oslo in the land of the Vikings. A third of Norway’s land is in the Arctic Circle, giving the country the nickname The Land of the Midnight Sun. Norway itself translates to “path to the North”.
I had the BMW Oslo Marathon on my sights ever since we arrived in Europe in 2014 but it was only this year when I finally decided to go ahead and run it.
The Brussels Airlines afternoon flight on Friday, September 15, 2017 landed at Oslo Airport Gardermoen after two and a half hours. Flytoget Airport Express Train goes direct to our stop, the National Theater station. The pleasant 26-minute train ride costs for 180 Norwegian kroner (NOK) per person. Exchange rate for the day was 8 NOK for 1 USD or 9.38 NOK for 1 Euro.
The station exit provided an easy way to Radhuskeie in Radhusplassen where I picked up my bib. We took the opportunity to have our photo taken in front of the Nobel Peace Center along the way to the race expo. The Nobel Peace Prize is awarded at the Oslo City Hall while the other Nobel prizes are given in Stockholm, Sweden. A couple of girls were giving out detergent samples to the walking public; I got two!
The sports expo was a beehive of activity with major brand exhibitors and marathon promoters.
Online pre-registration for the race was 885 NOK, including the race shirt. Since BMW was the major sponsor, it was only fitting that they had the latest BMW i8 sports car on display.
Race bib in hand, we made our way to First Hotel Grims Grenka, our home for the weekend. The hotel was in the city center and near the start and finish lines.
After dropping off our luggage, we decided to walk around and find a good place for dinner. We finally settled on pasta at Proseccheria Restaurant and Vinbar just around the corner. The restaurant was in front of the Christiania Torv, a big hand sculpture in the middle of a small plaza.
The race started at 9:15 AM on Saturday, September 16, 2017, with a six hour time limit. I found a group of Filipino expat runners based in the UK.
The weather at the start was cold, at least for me. I wore a vest that I took off midway as the day heated up. The marathon was a two-loop course starting and finishing at Radhuset. The aid stations provided water, sports drink, Cola, oranges, and bananas. Coffee was also provided at one sponsored aid station.
Entertainment dotted the course along the way.
The views were beautiful!
Richard took photos of the various boats docked nearby. People with extra time to spend in Oslo can visit the Viking ship museum where thousand-year-old preserved Viking ships are on display.
My finisher swag included the race medal, bread, Ritz chocolate crackers, banana, yogurt, and water. Sweet!
Food from the room service menu was our dinner that night. I was hoping to see the Northern Lights at night but it was too early in the season. Anyway, we woke up early to have a big breakfast.
We meandered around the city center to take photos and have ours taken in front of various important buildings: The Parliament Hall, Oslo Cathedral, the Royal Palace, Universitetsplassen. They were all close to each other along the main street, Karl Johans gate.
Oslo is a beautiful city but expensive! Nationwide, taxes are high but people are well paid and knew the benefits of their taxes. Education is completely free from elementary to college, for one thing. The high quality of life makes the country a great place to live in.
Before we knew it, it was time to head back to the airport. We took the same Flytoget Airport Express Train at Oslo Central Station, and flew back to Belgium on the same carrier at 5:45 PM, September 17, 2017.