Kungsbackaloppet - The oldest annual long distance race in the world

22. Jun 2021

Last Saturday, the 124th consecutive Kungsbackaloppet was held when 113 brave runners despite the heatwave ran the half-marathon through central Kungsbacka. This keeps the record streak alive for the world's oldest long distance race.

- Yes, I'm pretty sure we can call ourselves that,
says Lars Carlsson, who is part of the organising team.

Finally, it was time for event again! After a year with almost no races due to the pandemic, many of us were extra excited. Both runners, organizers and we at mika:timing. Since 1st of June, it is possible to organize outdoor races with 150 participants in Sweden.

- We had set a maximum limit of 140 participants to have some buffer. Then there were some injuries and dropouts right at the end but we managed to get 113 runners to the start.

It turned out to be a tough race. With a heatwave and temperatures above 30 degrees, it was not the best conditions for setting new records. And already after the first lap, several runners made the (perhaps?) wise decision to drop out.

For mika:timing it was a special race for several reasons. Not just because we finally got to go out to events again. But it was also a race in our own backyard since mika:timings Swedish branch is located in Kungsbacka.

When the race was finally summed up, 92 runners had crossed the finish line. Many with foam at their mouths. That meant a DNF rate of an unusually high 18.5%.

So what do you think? Was it just the weather that messed things up or did we not train well enough during the pandemic?

- I spoke to a few runners and the desire and will to complete the race was definitely there. But it was extremely tough. Not only because of the heat but it was also very windy so there was nowhere to rest. Even I in the role of official was quite sweaty, Lars tells us.

So what about the title of the oldest long distance race in the world? The Boston Marathon started back in 1897, a year before Kungsbackaloppet.

- Apparently, Boston had a year during World War II when it was only open to firemen because all the men were out in the war. And last year during the pandemic, they only ran virtually. So even if we play in a different league than Boston we might be the annual long distance race that has been held the most number of times.

Kungsbackaloppet on the other hand managed in 2020 to run a scaled down version with 40 starters. This kept their streak alive.

And next year they are aiming big.

- For the jubilee year 2022, we want to do a special race. Then Kungsbackaloppet will be 125 years old!

At mika:timing we thank you for the co-operation and we are already looking forward to next year's full-scale race. Now we are back on track!


Photo: Linda Nilsson & mika:timing

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