A fairy-tale marathon for everyone
TEXT: NICOLAI LISBERG | PHOTOS © HCA MARATHON
As HCA Marathon celebrates its 20th anniversary, it invites both newcomers and experienced runners to an unforgettable day on Scandinavia’s fastest route.
A marathon route that is ideal for both beginners and runners looking to beat their personal best: it sounds like a fairy-tale, and it almost is. HCA Marathon in Odense, named after the city’s famous fairy-tale author, Hans Christian Andersen, is more than just a race. The route resembles the scenery from some of his stories: there are popular characters of his on each kilometre sign, and you might even spot him cheering for you along the route.
The tales of Hans Christian Andersen often work on different levels, and the same can be said about the HCA Marathon, as the race has different distances to suit everyone. “Many people come here to run the marathon route, since it’s the fastest route in Scandinavia, but we also have a lot of runners who come for the half marathon or just to run the last ten kilometres of the route. It gives families and running clubs with different levels the option to participate on the same day, because they can just choose the distance they are comfortable with,” says race director Torben Simonsen. Last year, HCA Marathon had a running club from London with 119 runners of all ages participating on the different routes.
An anniversary to remember
This year’s edition is the 20th of its kind, and the organisers are doing everything possible to mark the anniversary and make the race even more of a fairy-tale than normal. The half marathon and marathon will begin and end at Odense Sport Centre, while the ten-kilometre race starts at the city hall and ends at the Sport Centre alongside the others.
“The route is very well thought-through: you run along the shape of a four-leaf clover, which means that you run towards the centre of the city on more than one occasion, giving families and friends several chances to cheer for you,” Simonsen explains. HCA marathon is also the host for the National Championships for the 14th time, as well as the police’s annual championships.