Göteborgs Varvet

First organised in 1980 wih 1800 competitors, the Göteborg Half Marathon (Göteborgs Varvet) has expanded over the years to the point where it is now the worlds largest half marathon, with over 63,000 competitors in 2012.

As the race has grown bigger, so has the organisation involved – there are 3500 volunteers, and the on the friday and sunday either side of the main event, there are age group and paralympic events.

I was commissioned by the race organisers, Göteborgs Friidrottsförbund, to document the atmosphere of the 2012 festival of running. I’m a runner myself (I ran the London Marathon in April 2012) so this was an assignment that I undertook with mixed emotions; while I enjoyed photographing the event, part of me wanted to be on the other side of the fence taking part in the race!

 

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Signage ready to go out into the race arena.
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Crowds gather in the the old athletics arena - 'Slottsskogsvallen' - for the Special GöteborgsVarvet.
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All competitors in the Special GöteborgsVarvet receive a commemorative medal.
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Post race fuel is vitally important. 63,000 bananas are given out over the weekend.
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Lars Kärstran - Finish Refreshments Volunteer
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Amy Quinones - Elite Runners Host.
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A triumphant finisher at the Special GöteborgsVarvet.
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The Special GöteborgsVarvet had over 1300 competitors in 2012.
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A well deserved post race rest.
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registration begins for the Half Marathon; all competitors must pick up their race number and timing chip before the big day.
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Volunteers prepare the finishers medals.
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Filip Möller - Technical Support Volunteer
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Johanna Clarin - Event Information Volunteer
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OK Landehof Orienteering Club coordinated the refreshments station at the halfway point.
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30,000 litres of sports drink are handed out by volunteers at dedicated stations on the course.
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Hygiene (in the form of lovely blue gloves) is paramount.
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Once the race leaders have passed, there is a constant flow of runners through the halfway point.
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As well as the 30,000 litres of sports drink, 100,000 litres of water is consumed by the runners too.
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Runners pass by Chalmers University.
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Emelie Karlsson - Refreshment Station Volunteer.
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Tobias Karlsson - Refreshment Station Volunteer.
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With just 5km until the finish from Götaplatsen, the sun has come out and the temperature is rising.
A sponge to the face keeps the mind clear to tackle the final section of the course.
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See?
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The race organisers estimate that 200,000 spectators line the streets to watch the Half Marathon. Götaplatsen is one of the most popular spots.
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competitors head up Vasagatan, 4km from the finish line.
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It's Familjefest day, with over 12,700 children and young people registered to compete. Bananas are in demand again.
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In the race arena there's plenty of activity. The Varvet participation figures are increasing every year, with the youth races becoming a real day out.
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The Banana Tent might just be even more fun than running.
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5,500 kids under the age of 6 took part in the Mini Varvet - a 200m sprint with a vicious hill part way round.
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The competition is fierce...
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With the vicious hill out of the way, it's time to sprint back down again.
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Warming up for the Mellan (Middle) Varvet for 14-19yr olds.
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Spectators gather for the start of the Mellan Varvet.
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The Lilla (little) Varvet has over 6000 participants, split up into different age grades. The nerves rise before entry into the start pen.
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Pre race warm up and aerobics.
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Almost 1000 competitors sprint out of the start area for the 5.1km Mellan Varvet.
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300m from the finish line in the Mellan Varvet.
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Time to cool down after a tough race.
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Sports teams (not necessarily running clubs) gather in Göteborg for the Mellan Varvet - there's a 5000SEK 'Best In Show'
prize for the best team outfit. I don't think these girls won it, but they definitely enjoyed the race.
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When you've run hard, sometimes you just want a bit of time on your own.
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Searching through the results.
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Everyone's a winner.
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Prizegiving for the LIttle Varvet.
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Carl Senorski from the Örgryte IS Friidrott team won the Mellan Varvet, ducking under 16 minutes for the 5.1km course.
His prize? Flowers, satisfaction, and a bumper load of chocolate.