Stockholm weather the second time around was still not ideal for marathons. I ran this race the first time in 2015 when it was raining and windy the whole time. It was so cold that I ran with a space blanket in the second half of the race! This time though, it was blisteringly hot that race organizer emailed an advisory to the 20,000 runners to give up any specific time goals for the 40th EDT ASICS Stockholm Marathon 2018. The Scandinavian part of Europe was in the middle on an unseasonably hot streak during the last few days of spring. The forecast predicted lots of sun between 25 and 30 degrees Celsius. Officials wanted us to enjoy Saturday and take it easy in the heat that the marathon’s time limit was extended by half an hour to six hours and 30 minutes. Fine by me. I won’t have the pressure to run fast at all this time.
We flew out of Brussels South Charleroi Airport on the 14:55 Ryanair flight to Stockholm, Skavsta Airport on Friday, June 1, 2018. Our flight was delayed by more than an hour. Upon arrival, we took the Flygbussarna bus bound for the city’s main train station. The bus ride took 80 minutes; fare was 556 SEK . It was already past 8:00 PM when we arrived, too late for picking up the bib at the race expo which closed at 8:00 PM.
We decided to proceed directly to our hotel a few meters away from the bus stop. Radisson Blu Royal Viking Hotel is one of eight Radisson Blu hotels in the city.
We had our own carbo loading dinner a time the restaurant chain Vapiano nearby.
We tucked in early and woke up for a leisurely breakfast.
The subway brought us to the Gärdet station. It was an easy walk to get the bib at the Expo at Kungliga Tennishallen (Royal Tennis Hall).
From there, we walked down the street to the starting line by the Olympic Stadium. The marathoners took off in two waves: 12:00 and 12:10.
The elite runners were running in fine form but the back of the pack runners like me took their time by alternately running and walking, and staying under the shade where possible.it looked like there were a lot more cooling stations this year, areas where a fireman hosed us with cool water, or stations with tubs of water you can dunk your sponge in.
Richard found me at the 16K mark.
The finish line was inside the Stockholm Olympic Stadium. I was slower than my 2015 Stockholm race, clocking in at 5:57:42.
Richard was waiting for me at the finish line. We took the subway back to the hotel to shower and get a proper post-race photo.
We decided to do a bit of sightseeing after the race.
The sun finally set around 10:00 PM that night, our cue to head back to the hotel.
We flew back to Brussels on the Ryanair flight on Sunday afternoon at 12:35 PM, arriving in plenty of time to do some weekend chores.