Tens of thousands of Norwegians flocked outdoors in the brilliant sunshine over the weekend, not least to take part in some of the biggest organized sporting events of the year. From the mountains to the streets of the capital, they skied and ran, or just took a stroll.
Around 12,000 skiers took part in the last major race of the season called Skarverennet, which goes over a 37-kilometer course from the high mountain plateau at Finse, or 25 kilometers from Haugastøl, to Ustaoset. Skiers come from all over the country, and the world, to take part and this year’s race ran under some of the best weather in years.
The warm temperatures and soft snow meant that even the elite skiers taking part, including Dario Cologna and Marit Bjørgen, logged finishing times that were around 20 minutes longer than last year. The race was won by Therese Johaug, one of Norway’s Olympic gold medalists, for the women and Chris Jespersen for the men.
Most of the others took it much slower, enjoying what’s become a big end-of-season party for many of those taking part. Not least with the weather was as perfect as this year, when sunscreen was a bigger concern than wax on their skis. Many skiers went with bare arms and even shorts, even though the weather in the mountains in April can change quickly.
Runners out in the thousands, too
Meanwhile, back in Oslo, another 10,000 fitness enthusiasts took to the streets for the annual race known as Sentrumsløpet. It’s among many held in Oslo when the skiing season turns into the running season and attracts young and old to a 10-kilometer course that winds through the city from Spikersuppa in the heart of town, up through the Frogner Park and back to Jernbanetorget.
It was won this year by Sindre Buraas of the Vidar sports club in the men’s class, who ran the course in 29 minutes and 29 seconds, and by Veronica Blom of NFIF who finished the race in 34 minutes and 43 seconds.
Most of the thousands of others, including many children, used considerably more time and claimed they were there to enjoy the good weather, meet a personal goal or just join what’s also become a major social event. The first Sentrumsløpet took place in 1981 with 1,860 runners and that doubled to 3,600 the next year, according to race organizers. A record number of 16,000 participants ran in 1988.
Many who don’t care for organized, competitive events opted for walks along the fjord and in the hills and forests, or one of the summer season’s first day out on their boats. Beaches were also crowded, with meteorologists predicting the warm weather would turn chillier later in the week, with showers on Wednesday and temperatures down to around 9C from the weekend highs in the low 20s.