Lighthouse Challenge – 50 miles / 80 km on Öland (english version)

Like with almost every travel we do, there needs to be a highlight with running. Already when planning I poked around and found the Marathon in Jönköping, but it would have been hard to fit into our plans. Looking at the map of Öland I thought, this island with its proportions almost screams for a long run, e.g. by circumventing it in multiple days. Digging a bit more I found all the races taking place on Öland. The marathon took place while we were still at home. But who needs a marathon if there is a suitable ultra marathon? As a bonus this would be a premiere: The Lighthouse-Challenge runs from the northern lighthouse (long Erik) to the southern lighthouse (long Jan), in total 100 miles or 161km. This was far too much for me, as I was looking for something that fits into a vacation that also should be kind of relaxing. As alternatives there is a 50km race and one 50 mile (equivalent to 80,46km) race, so everything very clearly in the ultra marathon range. As I already did quite a few 50K races this year and the longest distance was 73,6km at the Rennsteig, the choice was an easy one: 50 miles it is.

Signing up for the race was no big deal, except that most of the website is in Swedish. Luckily I was backed up by Marion, who helped me as well with some of the later updates about the race that were posted later on. So I am well aware of all the required equipment, a list that is usually a bit longer for ultra races. At least for the 161km a reflective jacket and a headlight are required, as the race will well quite sure extend into the night. Looking at the list of participants it soon becomes clear that this will be a small and cosy event. Just 36 runners have signed up. At least until some days before our departure to Sweden, it looks like all I have to do is to arrive at the finish line to get a place on the podium: only 6 participants for the 50 miles are registered, three female, three male. Until the race takes places the numbers raise slightly, there are nine runners (m/f) in total, so at least some kind of effort will be required …

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