It was a Friday when my friend called me and asked – can you run 600m in our relay team tomorrow? Sure, how hard can 600m be? In English, the relay is called the Holmenkollen Relay, but in Norwegian, it’s known as Holmenkollstafetten. Holmenkollen is a ski jump located to the north of Oslo. It’s a great place to visit just to see the view of the city and the fjords.
Somewhere amongst the 30,000 people getting ready for the world’s largest relay race, I found my friend and met the team. At least I met who was passing the baton to me and who I needed to pass the baton to. 15 girls in one team and 15 boys in another team. I was pretty happy not to have been asked to run the 2300m or anything with a steep incline. I would have needed much more than a days notice for that.
Starting from Bislett Stadium, teams take turns to relay up to Holmenkollen and back to the stadium. I was in the 3rd leg and it turned out to be pretty easy. No steep hills and I had enough adrenalin pumping to almost sprint the whole section.
I hung around afterwards and soaked up the atmosphere. Teams cheering each other on, everyone smiling and in good spirits. Along the route, locals came out to cheer the runners on and the cafes were full of people having a beer. Unfortunately there was no sunshine to relax in, but it was a great feeling all the same.
That night we all met up at a pizza restaurant where I got to know the team a bit better. There were mostly Norwegians and a few Swedish people, but there was also people from China, Brazil, Romania and New Zeleand. It was very international.
During the night, the results came in. Both teams ended up coming 51 in our division (I think there were 61 teams). I came 31 in my section with a time of sound 2 minutes and 30 seconds. I was pretty happy with that, given I hadn’t been running much this year.
After a few bottles of wine and enough pizza to fill us up, we were all friends and keen to beat our times in the relay next year.
Originally I am from Sydney, Australia, but have been living in Oslo for around since August 2012. After a long and cold winter, it was great to be outside again. My number one bucket list item is to live overseas, and I’m glad to be living my dream. The relay reminded me of home, as I often ran in the City2Surf (which is 14km from the heart of Sydney city to Bondi Beach). I once ran a half marathon!
Have you participated in any sporting events outside of your home country?