The Stockholm Marathon Organizers Did the Right Thing Last Week

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Written by Charlie

Last week was the big Stockholm Marathon. In addition to the 20,000 runners in attendance, there was one uninvited participant – heat! Heat like that can be very difficult yet Stockholm Marathon organizers did several things right for the runners last weekend.

The Stockholm Marathon is one that has been on my to-do list for several years (I even signed up for it one year but had to skip it due to health issues). Not only is Sweden beautiful but the Stockholm Marathon ends in the 1912 Olympic stadium – cool!

The Stockholm Marathon Organizers Did the Right Thing Last Week

Link: Stockholm Marathon

The Stockholm Marathon has a start time of 12:00PM on the first Saturday in June. It is a multi-wave start to accommodate the over 20,000 runners in all race events.

This year, the weather was hotter than it had been before with temperatures forecasted to hit 30 degrees celsius (86 degrees fahreneight). For Sweden, that is unseasonably warm. With a midday start time, this weather was definitely going to be an issue and especially for the thousands of Swedish runners who had been training in much cooler weather leading up to the race (though there were participants from over 100 countries in attendance).

So What Did Stockholm Marathon Organizers Do?

  • Proper communication
  • Suggested steps to prepare
  • Considered deferral options
  • Increased cutoff times
  • Installation of additional showers on the course

First of all, a doctor for the Swedish Athletic Association spoke up and said “If you are the slightest uncertain you shouldn’t start, especially not if you are 30 years or older. It’s very demanding for the heart, it’s not appropriate” according to Business Insider. He went on to describe the training for the days before to help prepare the body for running in the heat:

”If you haven’t done it by now you can go for walks in a rain suit in the coming days, to teach your body to sweat. The last two days [before the race] you should just rest and eat a lot of carbohydrates and drink a lot”, he says.

tips for marathon etiquette

Grab that water and get out of the way! | Courtesy of Shutterstock

In addition to that, the marathon organizers made several statements on the marathon’s website to instruct runners and keep them informed about the possible heat issues during the marathon:

1 June – Weather forecast for Stockholm Marathon

The temperature is predicted to be between 24 and 27 degrees C on Saturday afternoon. It is not expected to go over 30 degrees, but it may feel like over 30 degrees in areas with a lot of asphalt.

The wind will be mainly light, approx 2-3 m/s, but there can be gusts of approx 9 m/s.

Humidity in the afternoon will be between 35 and 45%.

The chance of showers looks minimal now (even if there is some chance), so Saturday’s weather should be sunny with some cumulus clouds in the afternoon.

31 May – Weather forecast for Stockholm Marathon

According the the weather forecast, temperatures will reach between 26 and 29 degrees C on Saturday (between 12:00 and 18:30), with the highest temperature around 15:00. The air temperature should not go over 30 degrees but in areas with a lot of asphalt, which absorbs the heat, it may feel like over 30 degrees. 

Average wind speed will be around 2-3 m/s, but gusts can be up to 8 m/s.

Humidity in the afternoon will be between 35 and 45%.

Late in the afternoon, from 16:00, there is a chance of showers. If the showers move in, it will result in increased humidity. 

Also, Stockholm Marathon organizers extended the cutoff time from 6 hours to 6 hours and 30 minutes to allow for runners to slow down.

They also installed additional showers throughout the marathon course to allow runners to cool down. Finally, they had even mentioned that they may allow for deferrals until 2019 if the weather was going to get dangerous. Apparently, that did not reach that level so they did not offer it.


Having run the very warm Belgrade Marathon just over a month ago, I have understanding and appreciation for the Stockholm Marathon organizers doing all of these extra steps to help runners in the heat. There was not that much that the Belgrade Marathon organizers did (for a much smaller crowd of runners) and what Stockholm did apparently was much more than London had done for their very warm marathon this year.

Heat can be a real beast for a marathon! I have run in some incredible warm conditions (like 113 in Abu Dhabi and 125+ in Death Valley) but I went into those runs expecting and prepared for the heat.

If you have not properly trained for really warm weather before a marathon, going out at your expected marathon pace can be dangerous if not deadly. Thankfully, the Stockholm Marathon did an apparently good job ensuring runner safety. Hopefully I will do it next year and experience it for myself!

Featured image courtesy of coronado via

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About the author


Charlie has been an avid traveler and runner for many years. He has run in marathons around the world for less than it would cost to travel to the next town - all as a result of collecting and using miles and points. Over the years, he has flown hundreds of thousands of miles and collected millions of miles and points.
Now he uses this experience and knowledge to help others through Running with Miles.