Hyper trail running in Stockholm: What’s special about Landrunning?

Hyper running in Stockholm: what's Landrunning and why should I try it?

In Stockholm, Sweden a unique multi-distance trail running event is about to take place. The first Landrunning World Series 2021 will bring us to Stockholm on 22 August, and to Pattaya, Thailand on 31 October. But what’s so special about Landrunning and how did it get started?

From running to navigation

Landrunning is a combination of orienteering and trail running, and it started in the autumn 2020 with a small demo event in Norra Djurgården near Stockholm.

Landrunning around Stockholm in the autumn dusk
Landrunning in Stockholm in the autumn dusk.

Orienteering has traditionally been a big sport in Sweden, but it also requires people to cross into the deep of forests. Orienteering, like Landrunning, is a sport that requires reading a map to find the next checkpoint. As maps became more sophisticated, however, orienteering events have also required more advanced navigation skills with detailed map reading. Such skills in orienteering and mapping have made that sport increasingly forming a niche of its own with a super-specific set of knowledge. This puts off a lot of people who couldn’t understand what’s going on in a race on TV, let alone which way they should go in the middle of “nowhere”.

Running, meanwhile, is a completely different affair. Running doesn’t usually require a map, but in a race there’s one and only one route that’s designated by the organiser. Deviate from that route, and you’re out.

Landrunning combines the fun of the two by retaining the navigation element of orienteering, while opening up this element to the many trail runners around the world. Without the need to run off-track into the forest, this much safer option of navigation would surely appeal to runners and beginners.

Landrunning basics

Suppose we have two checkpoints, south and north, and you must run from the south checkpoint to the north checkpoint (see map below):

Landrunning route choice example
A basic example of Landrunning.

You have two route choices, either to the west or to the east. It would be obvious from the map that the western route choices is much shorter (by 500 metres, or 18.5%).

In a Landrunning race, you’ll have more of these checkpoints, up to 20 for a Landrunning marathon race.

Why should I try Landrunning?

Traditional running races prescribe a single route for you to follow. In Landrunning, you don’t have to follow a single route, you can choose any route you want between checkpoints.

This freedom to choose your own way excites you as a runner for two reasons: first, the boring experience of running and following others is now transformed into an experience where you have an active part in progressing by finding your own way; second, by doing so, you can explore more on your way and expect the unexpected, since there are many, many combinations of routes you might take along the way and therefore a lot of possibilities of things you would experience.

Furthermore, by integrating the navigational element of orienteering into Landrunning, you can experience the fun of wandering around the forest in a safe manner, without having to venture deep into the woods. By staying on trails and tracks, you could also minimise the risk of injuring yourself or getting diseases like TBE.

This means that Landrunning is a perfect sport for all ages from 8 to 100 (perhaps more)!

Landrunning in Stockholm: what can I expect?

In Stockholm there are a lot of forest areas with good trail networks, in proximity to urban areas. You can therefore run around in anyway you like without too much concerns in safety. Moreover, this trail network makes Landrunning in Stockholm extra fun.

On 22 August we’re going for the first Landrunning World Series event at Järvafältet! The area is a former military training zone that’s handed back to the respective municipalities. While part of it gave way to development (e.g. the new town of Kista in Stockholm), other parts have become forested and are favourite areas for all forms of outdoor sports and leisure, and (in the case of the lake Säbysjön) bird watching.

Running a 42.195 km around Säbysjön and Järvafältet is one thing, running a Landrunning 42.195 km is another! A marathon with your own route choice is altogether a different experience that you must try.

Stockholm has an interesting terrain with small uphills and downhills. While largely flat without very might mountains, expect to have some fun changes in elevation.

Going beyond trail running without a specified route, this form of hyper trail running would give you an interesting experience with route choice challenges. Try to beat your opponents with the best route choice!

A direction sign around Säbysjön, the location of the Landrunning World Series 2021 Stockholm Station
You’ll have lots of route choices at junctions like this one.

What about Pattaya, can you talk a bit?

Well, the station in Pattaya on 31 October will be in Khao Mai Keao, a forest area with lots of paths, it’s a favourite area already for mountain bikers and a lot of runners.

In Thailand, it’s planned to have a gradual relaxation of quarantine. From 1 July you won’t need to quarantine in Phuket if you’re vaccinated, and Pattaya will probably start quarantine-free travel from 1 October along with some other cities and provinces.

Don’t worry about the tropical heat, the forest canopy would keep you cool and we’ll keep you well hydrated during the race.

Okay, I’m in! Where do I register?

Read more about Stockholm and Pattaya races, and register on Metvigo! Prices increases with number of registered runners so be quick!