Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Polar Night Half Marathon Tromsø - Race Review

It would be very strange waking up in darkness. I knew this would be the case. However, it was even more strange running a half marathon in the dark-- at 3pm. 

It was -8° C and I was jogging in place at the starting line. I was eager to get moving, every minute felt like it was getting colder. I looked down at my trusty running shoes, looking a bit more like a Transformer with its new running ice spikes purchased that day. 

No, the Tromsø Polar Night Half Marathon is not your normal half marathon. And I definitely wanted it that way. This is not your typical half, it not difficult in terms of terrain but weather wise it is definitely one for the books! 


Entering the race was very easy, and there were no issues at all. Got my race number via email a week or so before the race and given further instructions on where to pick up my bib. Tromsø itself is quite small and everyone is very friendly so finding your way is no issue!

I arrived late Friday night so could not attend the pasta party, however we had our own carb-load at Casa Inferno. Definitely use the daylight hour or so before the race to snap some photos of the harbour! I am not joking, its about an hour of daylight with about and hour of dusk/dawn light. 


The race itself was a there and back route from the center of Tromsø to the airport. They had candles lit all along the route, but to be honest it was well marshalled so there really was no point where I was nervous about getting lost. 

Obviously there were more people in Tromsø cheering us on than along the route, but those that were sprinkled around made up for it with the enthusiasm. I remembered high-fiving two little children somewhere around mile 4/8 who kept chanting "Hey ya!" (well thats what is sounded like to me!)

On the loop back the wind started to pick up, which along the water was very chilling. It was at that point that I wished I wore wool gloves instead of my fancy synthetic ones! 

I had no dreams of a PB on the race, I was simply wanting to keep below a 2-hour time. I was using other runners for pace, including one of them a Northern Runner. I figure if anyone was used to this kind of temperature running, it would be one of them!


Upon finishing, I got my medal, space blanket (yay!) and half banana and shuffled quickly to change.

Sadly I cannot talk about the award ceremony and party as we needed to leave Tromsø shortly there after to get to our cabin. 


Norway is an amazing backdrop for a race. The scenery is stunning, although maybe not during the race itself. However, had we been graced by the Northern Lights, my opinion about the race scenery would have changed dramatically. Heck-- I would have even stopped to try and snap a photo ;)

If you decide to register for this race and if you can, test out running with spikes in case you need to on the day. My first run with spikes was the race, I am sure I lost some time trying to get used to the feel of them. My right arch was sore but it went away overnight. 

This race is for you if:
  • you love a challenge (unless you live in the Arctic Circle, the weather is something fierce!)
  • you need an excuse to travel to Norway
  • you want to see the Northern Lights
  • you want to go dog sledding
  • you want to see moose (we saw four!)

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