27th September 2015
Some may remember my account from taking part in this grueling race last year. Without going into too much detail I made a hard time of it and felt I didn’t do myself justice. So of course I wanted revenge but it just so happened that the seeded starts were happening on the same day I was to take part in Toughest Copenhagen. Luckily there is an opportunity to get a time the day before, so counting it as a slightly over the top ‘loosener run’ I entered myself in. This type of running, being so short, definitely doesn’t suit me but it’s a hell of a challenge to get up there as quickly as possible so I wasn’t going to miss the opportunity.
Stoltzen is a famous stone staircase here in Bergen, it ascends about 310m over a distance of 900m of winding uneven stone stairs. Stoltzekleiven Opp is a race held from the bottom to the top every year. It’s quite a sufferefest for all that take part and leaves many of the 6000 competitors crawling over the finish line.
My best time in training was just over 9 minutes. With my poor pacing in last years race I only managed 9 minutes 16 seconds. This left me with a clear goal of sub 9 minutes, anything beneath that and I would be a happy boy.
I wasn’t making it easy for myself not starting in the seeded group though. Instead of having a clear track in front of me I would be starting in the masses with a person going of every 10 seconds. This meant a lot of overtaking for me on what are very narrow uneven stairs.
The weather left something to be desired but I hardly noticed the torrential rain as I got started. Soon descending into a dark place of max heartrate, lactic acid and breathing like a horse, the time it took to get to the top went strangely fast. As I collapsed over the line I heard the announcer saying 8:48 which put a smile on my face. There are normally fewer than 10 people that mange this per year and I was one of them.
Thoughts soon turned to Toughest the next day and the state of my legs having just been emptied of all the energy they had. A mixture of me failing an obstacle, masses of sand to run on and some surprise competition would actually make this race quite a battle, check out my next blog to see how I got on.