Norwegian Language Blog

MSM- Midnight Sun Marathon in Tromsø Posted by on Jun 27, 2011 in Culture

I´m a runner, but I´ve never competed in a race, nor do I really enjoy running with others (except my dog).  Therefore, I´ve never considered a marathon or half marathon.  I´ll do centuries (100 mile bike rides), but somehow I can´t even compare a century to a marathon.  Biking is so much more forgiving.  Anyways, I have just established an interest in a particular maraton (Norwegians spell it without the ´h´)-the Midnight Sun Marathon (MSM-Midnattsol Maraton) in Tromsø!  It just took place on Saturday night.  My golden birthday was yesterday.   Little did I know I could have spent it running with thousands of others under midnattsola!


There are races for all sorts of runners. The whole marathon starts at 8:30 pm and the half at 10:30 pm.  There is also a 10km and a 4.2 km run.  The marathon starts in the city center and continues over the bridge to mainland where the runners spend 20km before they head back over the bridge to the island again, where they run around the southern tip of the island and finish up in the city center.

This year marked the 22nd annual MSM race in Tromsø, the unofficial capital of northern Norway.  Last year there were participants from 63 countries in the world.  That´s incredible especially considering Tromsø´s latitude of nearly 70 degrees north.  It is quite an international city, with residents from over 100 countries.

Believe it or not, there is also a Mørketidsløp (Dark time race) in January when the sun never rises. I think if I lived in Tromsø in the winter I´d participate in that race just for the exhilaration factor in such a long, dark time of winter.


And, if those 2 races aren´t extreme enough, there is actually a race called Ekstremløp (Extreme Race) where runners run up the mountain to the cable car.  I´ve hiked up the mountain and it was not easy.  There are several ways to get up it and we chose to just go the steepest way possible.  My legs burned so badly once we got to the top.  I´m quite happy we took the cable car down.  But seriously, I can´t even imagine running up that thing.  I have great respect for people who participate in the Mørketidsløp either as a race or just as a goal to complete it, running or not.


No matter what day of the week it is, Tromsø is always a hopping place.  It´s quite lively during the day as well as in the evening at the various bars and coffee shops.  Really, if you have not been to Tromsø, I highly suggest it!

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About the Author: kari

I attended St. Olaf College in Northfield, MN, where I majored in Norwegian and History. During college, I spent almost a year living in Oslo, Norway, where I attended the University of Oslo and completed an internship at the United States Embassy. I have worked for Concordia Language Villages as a pre-K Norwegian teacher and have taught an adult Norwegian language class. Right now, I keep up by writing this Norwegian blog for Transparent Language. Please read and share your thoughts! I will be continuing this blog from my future residence in the Norwegian arctic!


  1. jonn:

    I would love to be able to run this marathon or race alone! I have visited Svolvaer and would love to visit Tromsø soon! love your posts! keep it up kari!