I am sitting here at Running Sweden Headquaters looking outside watching people running on their way to Hagaparken. The sun is out, the autumn leaves are falling and as they run, they seem happy.
Running is considered a one person sport, one that puts yourself against the demons in your own head and sometimes the weather elements. When I was running on a more professional level, I ran most of my trainings by myself. However it was not until I joined a team in the United States, with a group of guys that were as good as I was or better, that I really started to enjoy and made huge improvement with my running.
I think this was for many reasons but the biggest was that I had training friends to take my mind off of how I felt, helped me run better when I was having a bad day. I also felt a sense of happiness in helping out my training buddies when they had a bad day.
A group environment is a special place, a place where a sense of belonging and pride can install great belief and incredible results. In the United States, in one season - I finished 2nd in the 5000m on the track in one of USA's biggest track meets called Mt Sac Relays in California, running 13mins 52seconds. This was a start to a huge movement in our team, as by the end of the year we had an additional 6 guys run under the magical 14mins barrier for 5000m. Before this race the fastest time I had ever done was 14mins 23secs, and this race allowed these 6 other guys to think what was once considered impossible to the possible as if Rubin who I have trained with and kept up with during training can do it, then I can too.
When Alfred Shemweta and I help start the Team Stockholm Marathon group, we wanted Stockholm runners to come together and enjoy running with others, to have training advice, injury prevention, and a way to ask our running leaders questions to make running more fun, more safe, and of course more acheiveable.
The Marathon Challenge is also such a channel for advice, training friends, belief, and of course HAPPINESS - let us take you a step forward in your running - side by side we can make the Stockholm Marathon a Happy, and safe experience.