Fits Do Race Reviews: The Midnight Sun Marathon 2024

On Saturday, June 22 (and, well into Sunday, June 23 due to the timing!) I ran my 45th marathon, the Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromso, Norway.

The Midnight Sun Marathon was one of the most beautiful marathons that I have ever run.

It was absolutely surreal running at night under a FULL sun! I spent several miles just thinking to myself “what IS this beautiful world?? Is this real??”

Running a marathon that started at 8:30 pm was challenging of course; I’m a morning runner through and through!

Yet despite the unique challenge, I am so glad I ran the Midnight Sun Marathon and didn’t let the time of day scare me away. It was amazing.

We really lucked out with the weather (this recap is for the 2024 race), as there was not a cloud in the sky, which doesn’t always happen; I read plenty of recaps where it was overcast, which was still a cool experience, but not quite as surreal as the full sun we experienced this year.

Read on for more!

This is my recap of my personal race experience. I ran this marathon while living in London, England. My husband (who also ran the marathon in 2024 in 3:08) and I flew into Tromso (via Oslo, no direct flights from London to Tromso) on the Thursday before the marathon.

We had a delicious arrival dinner at a restaurant called Mathallen, where I tried several dishes with whale via the 4-course tasting menu; whale looked like steak, but tasted like chicken! This meal was lovely, though definitely richer than I normally eat, so probably not the best choice leading up to a marathon…but, I don’t like to be too restrictive, as we run many marathons, so I want to ensure I’m still allowing myself to experience a destination fully.

On Friday, we joined the Northern Runners running club for their hosted shakeout run. We met at city hall at 8 am and they took us on a charming tour of their town, for a little over 5 miles, at a very easy pace with lots of stops for pictures along the way. Lovely experience.

Dustin and I spent the afternoon on a fjord boat cruise, which was a great choice to see more of Tromso without doing too much walking before the marathon.

After the boat cruise, we did stop at the “expo” or packet pickup, which was a very low-key event. They did have some Midnight Sun Marathon perch for sale. I had to buy something- this was a once-in-a-lifetime race!

That evening, we got in our carb loading at Casa Inferno, which was a great pizza place in town.

Saturday was a bit of a weirdly challenging day, as it was hard to figure out when to eat or what to do, with the whole day before the 8:30 pm marathon start.

We ate a late breakfast at the hotel (around 10:30 am), went to a Troll Museum, and took a nap. There was a lot of ‘killing time’ and checking the watch to see how much longer we had until we could head to the start line!

The start line was very close to our hotel (the Clarion Edge, which was a wonderful option for the marathon, though most everything in Tromso is walkable!)

Around 8 pm, we made the short walk to the start line, and I headed to the toilet line just in case. I was really worried about my stomach for this race, as my body is not used to running at night! (I was right to be worried, as I did end up having to stop 3 times.)

After the “energy dance” (warm-up) which consisted of such classic songs as “Bad Touch” Bloodhound Gang or the “Thong Song” by Sisqo (ha!).

Then we were off, promptly at 8:30 pm! Sun was bright as day and the temperatures were perfect (50F/10C.)

I felt good, not nervous but may be a little weird as body felt a little stiff to be running then, but overall not tired or anything.

Mile 1: 8:35 I settled into my pace; the first part of the course was an out-and-back in the town centre.
Mile 2: 7:57
Mile 3: 8:21
During so many of these early miles along the coast, I just could not get over the views. The mountains, the sea, the BRIGHT SUN AT 10:30 pm! How is this real??

Mile 4: 8:25
Mile 5: 8:22

Mile 6: 8:44 We crossed over the large bridge here; the bridge definitely had a significant incline and was just under a mile long. It was a cool part of the course as the views were stunning, but it was also a physically challenging part (especially when we had to do the same hill at the end of the marathon!)
Mile 7: 8:32

Mile 8: 8:20 The spectators were scarce in this marathon; it was definitely a little lonely too as there were only about 400 full marathoners. But the spectators who WERE out were out there enthusiastically waving Norwegian flags and cheering “HEIA” which is pronounced “HEY-YA” and means GO, GO, GO! I gave as many high-fives as possible and smiled at all the lovely friendly Norwegians. God, I love Norway…

Mile 9: 8:24
Mile 10: 9:18 toilet stop
Mile 11: 8:28
Mile 12: 8:25

Mile 13: 8:40 – some hilly bits in here.
Mile 14: 8:23
Mile 15: 8:43

Mile 16: 8:23

Mile 17: 10:17 I think this was when we came back across the bridge! Ugh, this was tough.

Mile 18: 8:29 I was definitely starting to struggle. I think my stomach was off (perhaps it was the whale I ate!) and I may have also been a bit dehydrated. The aid stations were every 5k, which isn’t actually that often for a heavy sweater like me. I was coated in salt by the end, even though I did take in several Salt Chews (I love those!)

Mile 19: 9:11

Mile 20: 9:07

Mile 21: 8:43

Mile 22: 9:50– Another toilet stop and definitely some walking. I tried to take in my gels to see if that would help energize me.

Mile 23: 9:25

Mile 24: 10:45– I think this was my 3rd stop.

Mile 25: 9:41

Mile 26: 9:47

Final 0.2: 9:08

Finish time: 3:56:14

Done! Marathon #45 complete.

I was proud of myself for staying under 4 hours. It was a hillier course than I expected, which proved to be challenging, but I do live in north London, which is quite a hilly area of the city. I have to finish every run going up a big hill called Haverstock Hill! I should have been fine.

I always chuckle when someone says “Oh, I was on pace for the first 20 miles until the last 10k” because honestly, all that matters (in my opinion) is that last 10k. If you were on pace for the first 20 and then fell apart, then you weren’t actually as fit as you were “running” those first 20. All that matters is that final 10k. That’s where your true fitness shows up, or…doesn’t show up! The marathon is a 20 mile warm-up to a 10k! And for this particular marathon, as magical as the surroundings were, I did not physically perform at my best ability in that last 10k.

With that said, I do feel like my training was stronger than how I actually performed in this race and I’m quite happy with my coach Donal, he’s been really great to work with. Not every marathon is going to feel as magical as Dublin or Barcelona did, I suppose! The Midnight Sun Marathon was a bit more challenging at the end than my most recent two marathons.

But don’t you worry, I still LOVE the marathon!

Honestly, what am I going to remember about the Midnight Sun Marathon?

I’m not going to remember that 10:45 min/mile in mile 24 or how nauseous I felt at the end (that cold coke in the above picture helped with the nausea!)

What I’m going to remember is the magic of the Midnight Sun.

I am going to remember how cool it was grabbing a post-race drink with Cari (and Dustin) at a Tiki Bar in Tromso, Norway, above the Arctic Circle, at 2 AM!!! in the FULL sun. Surreal and I just can’t describe it. It was amazing, and a top marathon experience for me.

Favourite marathon experiences (so far) out of 45:
5. Twin Cities Marathon with my sister Erin.
4. Tokyo Marathon. I know not everyone loves this one, but I just did…
3. Marathon du Medoc (the wine marathon)
2. Midnight Sun Marathon – this one!
1. Antarctica Marathon (this will never be topped, its just not possible!)

Dustin finished the marathon is 3:08, so he was done before midnight. Still counts as the midnight sun, right?

He also loved the experience!

Then Cari, Dustin and I grabbed a fun little tiki drink after the race and had a wonderful time chatting. It was so lovely to meet you Cari!

On our last day in Tromso, we had a “lie in” (fair, ha!) then walked across that same (mean) bridge from the marathon the day before (twice) to take a cable car up above Tromso for some views and some hiking.

We spent the afternoon at a sauna on the sea, where of course there was the option to do a cold plunge! (The plunge was not as cold the plunge in Antarctica.) We had a nice dinner that night with some pints at a cute brewhall called Olhallen.

I highly recommend the Midnight Sun Marathon. If you’re not up for a full marathon, the half marathon starts an hour later than the full , so you get a very similar experience running un the midnight sun at half the distance. I also recommend visiting Tromso in June around the summer solstice. So cool.

(Visited 18 time, 18 visit today)

Credit : Source Post

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