The histories of Sweden and Norway are closely intertwined, and that’s also true for their parkrun story, as both countries approach their anniversary at the end of August.
parkrun Sweden began in August 2016 with the first event, Haga parkrun, located in the beautiful royal park of Hagaparken in Stockholm. One year later, it was the turn of Norway to join the parkrun family with Tøyen parkrun in Oslo hosting their first event. 143 parkrunners attended the inaugural event – a wonderful start to parkrun’s story in this beautiful country.
Together, the two countries have recently reached the landmark of having more than 25,000 people registered to take part in parkrun and numbers have continued to grow year on year. The second quarter of 2023 brought the highest ever attendance in the Nordics.
Currently, there are 18 events spread across the two countries, with parkruns in most major cities and towns. Swedes and Norwegians have definitely embraced the concept of a free, weekly walk, jog, run or volunteer and we’ve built some wonderful parkrun communities in all of our locations.
parkruns here start at 9.30am. This is partly driven by the fact that in the depths of winter, it’s still dark at 9am when teams in the northern parts of the countries are setting up their courses. And there are other challenges in the winter too, like snow and ice. Who knew that a drill was an essential part of the event kit to put up signs!
parkrunning on snow can be magical though and it’s usually no barrier to putting on our events (although the same can’t be said for ice).
Most Norwegian parkruns share a common theme – they are very hilly! It may be tough on the legs, but there are some spectacular views available from the top of course. For example, here below in Løvstien parkrun, Bergen, or from Vålandstårnet near the end of Stavanger parkrun.
Recently, the launch of two slightly flatter parkruns in the greater Oslo area – Nansenpark parkrun and Ekebergsletta parkrun – have bucked the trend.
In Sweden, there are events in parks, forests and nature reserves, around lakes, alongside rivers and next to the sea. Nature is always close at hand in the Nordics and parkrun really shows off some of the beautiful locations that Sweden has to offer.
With events established in the biggest population centres in the country, we look forward to bringing parkruns to other communities. Who knows, maybe even an Arctic Circle parkrun in the northern city of Tromso, which would certainly take the crown of being the world’s most northerly parkrun!
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