The Midnight Sun Marathon – Tromsø 2014 was my first half marathon.
In February, while Steinar was sleeping (he enjoys sleeping until 12 in the morning) and I was googling ‘marathons in Europe’, I found out about the MSM – Midnight Sun Marathon. It takes place every year, in Tromsø, a small city far, far north. On the 21st of June (the longest day of the year in Europe).
When Steinar woke up I said:
– Hey Steinar! You know what? I had an idea this morning. I am going to run the half marathon and dedicate it to you. What do you think?
Not surprisingly, I got a thumb up.
I registered for the half marathon that same day when I arrived home. In addition, I ordered a t-shirt with a picture of us saying ‘I am running for Steinar’ and with a cool animation on the back saying ‘Midnight Sun Marathon – Tromsø 2014’. Unfortunately, the t-shirt arrived after the event.
Since my commitment that I had trained as much as I could. It is true that over the previous 4 weeks to the event I got lazy and did not train as I should have. Therefore my goal was readjusted in my head to ‘complete the whole thing’ instead of ‘finish the 21kms in a good time’. By ‘good’ I was thinking about a 90-100 minutes range.
I left Oslo on the 20th of June (a sunny day) with some winter clothes (just in case).
On the bus from the small airport in Tromsø to the city centre I exchanged some words with a Spanish couple who had come to visit the city and also to run together. Coincidence or not, they got off the bus at the same station as I did. They rented an apartment about 100m from the hotel where I stayed. I find Spanish people so social and easy going. Right there and then I knew the trip would get as lonely as I would want it to be.
The half marathon was scheduled for 22:30. The environment was amazing. The temperature was about 5ºC and I only had shorts and a t-shirt to run. Baaaaah! I was freezing! Luckily, I did not have to wait long.
I loved the experience. It was a lot of fun and I really thought about Steinar while I was running. He must have been through so much since he was diagnosed with ALS. I wish I could do more for him actually. It is hard to realize that I cannot do much more than just provide assistance and care for him in the best way possible.
Despite all the circumstances, I want Steinar to feel that I am not just doing my job, but also that I enjoy his company and that I do care about him and his state of mind. That I think about him when I am free for long periods. That I miss knowing about him while I’m on vacation. That I worry about him.
My total time was much better than what I and the Spanish guys thought. Eheheheh! I was impressed and very happy with it! Close to 90 minutes! And all my effort dedicated to Steinar!
The t-shirt has already arrived at my address. I displayed it on the wall that Steinar is facing in his room, together with the medal. Hopefully, it means something to him.
About Tromsø… Well, the weather was really bad. I was not able to see the midnight sun. Not for once! Which is a shame since it’s the second time that I travel north and the weather does not allow me to see the sun during the night time.
I stayed in the Smart Hotel for two nights. Great breakfast, clean, nice room&bed (small but with all the commodities one needs), and a warm common area. Recommended! Service? Well… We’re in Norway. Do not expect a great service.
Tromsø is expensive. Yes, even compared to Oslo. Some examples.
- Kebab (pita): over 100 NOK.
- Thai green curry dish in a restaurant: 209 NOK (the same dish in Oslo: 135 NOK).
- Dental floss in the supermarket: 57 NOK. Ridiculous!
- BUS from and to the airport: 70 NOK, or 100 NOK if you pay both ways at once. The trip lasts about 10-15 minutes.
Coffee seemed to be the exception. About 27 NOK for a latte. Not bad. Otherwise, eating out: expensive even for Norwegian standards.
All in all, I am happy that I did this trip and participated in such an event. It felt like a break that I needed. I had time to read my book, watch some football (Portugal was not done yet by the time and I saw Italy drawing), walk alone through the city, practise my Spanish, etc. Furthermore, I ran for someone that I admire for being so strong. My boss (as I like to call him) Steinar. I really dedicate it to you man!
On top of all this, I got to know a really nice couple from Madrid. How cool is that? It was really nice to meet you. Gracias!