So in spite of the fact I said “never again” to running races, there is in fact one exception – the Copenhagen institution that is the DHL Stafet – a relay race of 5x5km that companies and institutions across Denmark participate in. It is billed as the “World’s largest training run”, which could be true and probably takes advantage of the fact the Danes are a nation of runners. It’s a beautiful example of Danish working life in operation and if you really want to know about the Nordic Model then you should definitely come along to see what the DHL løb is all about…
It’s usually the first week in September and is like a gigantic running party, with most companies treating it as a mini summer party and providing grills, beer and food afterwards to their employee competitors. In fact it’s so popular they have to put it on five days in a row in Copenhagen alone and more than 206,000 people ran in it last year in events across Denmark.
I have volunteered again this year and I’m already looking forward to my run this week around Fælledparken (the place that incidentally gave Werner Heisenberg the idea for his uncertainty principle among other famous incidents) followed by beer and food and hygge with my colleagues.
I am not sure if there is a UK equivalent to this. I suspect not, only the Scandinavians could take an essentially solitary sport like running and make it a social highlight of the year by turning it into a relay race. This is truly what the Nordic model is about, fellowship, eating and drinking together and getting out in the fresh air.
The tag line on the front of the event webpage means “together we deliver better” but it is also close to “together we live stronger” And I think both interpretations sum up both the DHL relay race and the culture of the Nordic Model in general.
And people think the Danes (and their fellow Scandis) are depressive introverts…
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