Stoltzekleiven Opp
27th September 2014

Categories: Hill Race

Thinking back to Redbull 400, it was one of the most painful experiences of my life. I was therefore unsure as to why I found myself at the bottom of some stone steps about to put myself through a similar experience. Stoltzekleiven Opp is, like many races in my new hometown of Bergen, a race from the bottom of a very big hill or mountain to the top… this one just so happened to have a set of stone stairs up it and is one of the most famous hill races in Norway. The route is about 900m of running with 300m of elevation gain.

The first time I ran up, I set a time of 9:08. This was a full minute over the record but still pretty good. Since then I have done the route multiple times in training for the Spartan World Championships – including with a 20kg sandbag. I was therefore hopeful that on the race day I could break 9 minutes.

A lesson I learnt at the Redbull 400 was how important it is to breath. Without breathing your not going to be going very fast for very long. I remembered this the first time I ran Stoltzen but duly forgot this time around. Setting off too fast I knew within a minute this was going to hurt! But hey ho, I was committed now and so started the slog. Thankfully, even though it was extremely painful, time did seem to speed up and before I knew it I was on the wooden staircases signifying just a tenth of the way to go.


And thank God. On crossing the line I did like many, collapsed in a heap. It went beyond this though, usually I can recover from such an effort relatively quickly but something was different after this race. I lacked the strength to stand and even 10 minutes after finishing I had a strange pain beneath my eyes making me want to lie down and fall asleep.

It took a small effort to tell myself how stupid I was being for acting in such a way and so was (relatively) soon up to jogg with Henriette back down feeling stronger with every step. My final time was 9:16, over the time I wanted but then it takes such an effort to produce such a time I can’t help but be happy.

Another race and another experience richer, I now look forward to getting back to some proper training and just running for enjoyment! I’m in the process of deciding between attending the Spartan UK Beast or make a trip to Limone, Italy and try my hand at sky racing. After that the Obstacle Racing World Championships is on the cards so exciting times!

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