3 parkruns, 3 countries in 4 days

If you follow Virtual Runner on social media, this might be slightly old news, but after lots of questions I thought I would blog about my recent adventure which enabled me to take in 3 parkruns, in 3 different countries in just 4 days!

How is this possible was the main question I received, so here are the details…

Each parkrun country can opt to run parkrun on a special day, for the UK this is traditionally Christmas Day and New Year’s Day. The exciting news is that not all countries pick the 25th December and 1st January – for example in Japan the bonus parkrun is held on Greenery Day. Details of all special days/events can be found here.

In 2022, I travelled to Copenhagen to do the ‘Double’ which meant I ran a bonus in Denmark (5th June) and another bonus in Sweden (6th June). for 2023, I upped my game and completed the treble taking in the more traditional parkrun on Saturday too.

Tøyen parkrun, Norway

I flew from London Stansted on Friday 2nd June and spent the day touring around beautiful Oslo. After a night in Tøyen (City Apartments for accommodation) and a very short walk to the start, I ran the first of my Scandinavian parkruns. Tøyen parkrun made us feel very welcome and we got to know the volunteers very well during the 4.5 laps of Tøyen park. Oslo has lots of green space so whilst this many laps wouldn’t usually be my idea of fun, it was lovely.

In traditional parkrun style, we went to the local cafe for what is the biggest pastries I have ever seen (my face size!) and enjoyed a coffee in the botanical gardens.

After our breakfast, we were quick to checkout of our budget stay for some last minute touring of Oslo before boarding our ferry to Denmark. The ferry was overnight (17 hours in total) and was a brilliant way to travel and see parts of Norway, Denmark and Sweden. An experience I would highly recommend.

We arrived into Denmark on Sunday 4th June with the full day ahead of us for exploring and taking in Copenhagen. I have visited Denmark’s capital before, but I did enjoy a boat trip (clearly 17 hours on a boat wasn’t enough) and appreciating ice creams in the sunshine.

Our overnight accommodation was another new experience for me – sleeping in pods in the local youth hostel, which saves us lots of money and certainly gave us a talking point 🙂

Amager Fælled parkrun, Denmark

We stayed only around 3km from the start line of parkrun number 2 so jogged alongside the floods of fellow parkrunners on Constitution Day (5th June) to tackle parkrun number 3 of our trip.

Another lapped course, but this time only 2. The usual attendance for this parkrun is around 30 but on this special day, the numbers soared to a record breaking approx. 300. Everyone’s mood was amazing – from the locals wondering what was happening in their lovely park to the volunteers teams and runners/walkers alike.

We sadly couldn’t stay too long but found somewhere for breakfast (Danish pastry of course!) on the way back to our hostel before making the journey to parkrun 3.

Next up, was hiring a car to take us from Denmark across the famous bridge to Sweden.

Our choice of parkrun was in Gothenburg which is Sweden’s second largest city and another place very much worth visiting. We stayed on the outskirts which meant we were closer to the parkrun for our third and final 5k run of the trip. With a 9.30am start in Sweden, we were able to get organised and still in plenty of time for the run.

Billdalsparken parkrun

This was easily my favourite parkrun of the 3 done on this trip. The regulars had put in loads of effort on the Swedish National Day adding motivational phrases to the paths and baking parkrun biscuits to handout at the end. The park itself was a mixture of gravel and tarmac paths winding through forest areas. There was a small out and back section which meant I could engage with others along the course.

Post parkrun was breakfast (or Fika) time in an independent cafe located within the park. The cakes and iced coffees were delicious and another great opportunity to catch up with others doing similar trips.

With a full belly, it was time to enjoy the Gothenburg area (plus some meatballs) before getting on a flight from Gothenburg back to London Stansted.

I had a super time with stunning weather and really enjoyed spending time with fellow clubs mates from Beeston AC and seeing old parkrun friends and making news ones. When I wasn’t busy running, sightseeing or traveling, I was very lucky to take in some beautiful swim spots!

Tips in case you want to adventure to Scandinavia for the bonus parkruns

Not all parkruns in Denmark (5th June) and Sweden (6th June) took place on the holiday days so consider this when making your travel plans. There are Facebook groups and webpages that will update, but often only 4 weeks ahead of the events happening.

All 3 countries (Norway, Denmark and Sweden) happily accepted card as payment pretty much everywhere. I personally never needed to spend cash – which was a good job as I didn’t take any!

Scandinavia is an incredible place to visit – I felt very safe (even when traveling solo for parts), clean and friendly. However, it can be expensive. Planning ahead particularly for accommodation is key.

I wouldn’t have been afraid to do this trip on my own – although friends made it better and easier to share costs. There is always a parkrunner to tag along with so you’d never truly be on your lonesome.

There are opportunities from bonus parkruns in other countries too – so get researching.

Most importantly, enjoy!

Lego Susan rated the trip a firm 10/10.