Focus on a race Interview

Holmestrand Marathon : Running against cancer

23 Aug 2012 06:00
Jean-Loup Fenaux

§staticmap(12745,4,450,250)Hello, on April 14th 2013, you’ll be organizing the Holmestrand Marathon. Can you tell us where it is located?

Holmestrand is located 80 kilometer south of Oslo, with easy access from two airports: Oslo Gardermoen (direct train every hour 8 minutes past the hour – 90 minutes train ride at about 40 €), and Sandefjord Torp Airport only 30 minute train ride at around 20 €.

Holmestrand is part of Vestfold County, which is the second smallest county and is located on the western side of the Oslo fjord. Population amounts to 4.7% of the country’s total population, yet Vestfold has the third largest population density in Norway: 103 people per square kilometer.

Because of the conditions of the Oslo Fjord, Vestfold has a rich flora and fauna. In Vestfold, there are 110 sites and objects that are protected under the Nature Conservation Act Areas. Over half of Vestfold is covered by forest and the county’s archipelago has a coastline of over 500 large and small islands.

How old is the race and why was it created in the first place?

The race was held for the first time on April 15th 2012 and made an all time record in Norway of being the 2nd largest new race in over 30 years next to Sentrumslopet in Oslo. Over 1,800 runners took part in the inaugural Holmestrand Marathon. It was a huge success. The race was created in tight cooperation with Active against cancer, the foundation established by the Norwegian Marathon runner Grete Waitz.

Active Against Cancer Foundation was established following ideas and inspiration from the US charity program “Fred’s Team” in the ING New York City Marathon. Its goal is to raise money for cancer prevention and encourage more businesses and individuals to increase physical activity, competitive sports participation and enjoyment. Participation in one or more sport events, the New York City Marathon being the most challenging, is an important part of the Active Against Cancer. Grete Waitz won the New York Marathon nine times and was one of the biggest sports stars in Norway. She experienced how important fitness and wellness was in the fight against cancer. Grete Waitz and Helle Aanesen established the Foundation in November 2007. Purpose The main purpose of the Active Against Cancer is to fund training and activity centers for cancer patients on the model of the “breathing room” at Ullevaal University Hospital which was opened in 2007, Grete Waitz being an initiator. Another project Active Against Cancer Foundation has worked on is raising funds for a PET scan (Positron Emission Tomography) at Oslo University Hospital, Ullevaal. Procurement and installation of the scanner cost 33.5 million dollars. The scanner was officially inaugurated on 14 February 2011. Vision Active against cancer to prevent cancer through encouraging and facilitating increased physical activity. Founders Grete Waitz (1953-2011) World Championship gold in the marathon in 1983, five world championship gold medals in cross-country, the Olympic silver medal in the marathon in 1984, 9 wins New York Marathon, two victories in the London Marathon, 7 royal goblets (1973-1979), 33 individual Norway championship, Morgenbladet Gold Medal in 1977, and received Fearnleys Olympic Prize in 1984. Helle Aanesen Founder of the foundation with work experience from the LOOC (Lillehammer Olympic Organizing Committee), Norwegian Skier and Oslo Spektrum. Acting in IL Heming and graduate.

What kind of route have you set up for the runners? How would you describe it?

The marathon route is based on a 14,066 meters loop which is run 3 times, with a total of 390 ascent meters. It is a route where your running steps will change a lot, as it is not flat.

Credit : Holmestrand Marathon

How many runners do you expect on Sunday morning? What type of runners do you plan to attract?

On the 14th of April 2013, we expect 3,000 runners whereof half of them are running the half or full marathon. It will be a combination of a small elite group with the best runners from Norway combined with a much larger field of traditional runners that run for themselves. A lot of runners are expected to run charity.

Credit : Holmestrand Marathon

Do you organize other races during the Weekend? If so, on what distances?

Holmestrand Marathon arranges 6 races on Sunday the 14th of April 2013:

  • Marathon,
  • Half Marathon,
  • 7.5 km fun run,
  • 7.5 km powerwalk,
  • 400 meters children’s race,
  • 1.6 kilometer children’s marathon

In addition to Holmestrand Maraton we are arranging the Vestfold Ultra Challenge. Also held in Holmestrand on November 3rd 2012, it is limited to 50 participants and will be run purely on trails.

At that time of the year, what kind of weather can we expect?

This year we got everything from heavy rain to clear sky and sun. It is the time of the year where the chances are 50/50.

Have you planned festivities around the marathon?

At Holmestrand hotel we arranged a marathon party after the race. The hotel also gives 50% discount on hotel rooms to Marathon runners needing accommodation during their stay in Holmestrand.

Finisher medals
Credit : Holmestrand Marathon
The race finished, what advice would you give a runner who has never been to Holmestrand before? A good restaurant, a fancy sightseeing?

Cultural life in Tønsberg, the oldest city in Norway (founded in 1100), seethes with life all year round. If you are interested in medieval, Viking, whaling history or old treasures, we recommend visiting to the Vestfold museums. Cultural events to check out include Nøtterøy Civic and Oseberg Hall and Library.

Tønsberg is only 1 hour train ride away from Oslo, the capital of Norway with its many activities and attractions.

In a single sentence, what would you tell the readers of ahotu Marathons to make them register for the Holmestrand Marathon?

Holmestrand Marathon will be the second largest marathon after Oslo Marathon in 2013 – Make sure you get hold of one of the exclusive finisher medals. If you register before January 1st 2013, you’ll get the finisher running shirt as well. If you are a fast runner and finish top 3 in your class you will get a superb class winner medal.

If anyone has any questions or specific needs, please feel free to send me an email at [email protected]

Tomas Pinås
Holmestrand Marathon
Interview with Tomas Pinås, Race Director. Tomas is 43 years old and started running at the age of 25. With two kids and a wife, he lives in Holmestrand and works out of Oslo. Two years ago he started participating in running races and has done already 15 half marathons, 7 marathons and a number of smaller races. He lost his father and several other relatives to cancer, thus wanted to combine his passion for running with charity. When running the New York Marathon in 2011, he got in touch with Active against cancer. On his way back to Norway the plans for Holmestrand Marathon and charity work was initiated.

In addition to the Holmestrand Marathon he also has started running Ultras and will do his first on September 15th : UltraBirken (ultra – 60 Km) followed by Oslo Marathon on September 22nd and Nordmarka Ultra Challenge 50 miles in Oslo on September 29th. What a start!