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BIKING VIKING

#60 BULGARIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 10:09

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: BULGARIA

2016 VARNA MARATHON, BULGARIA: 4:22:31 (2016-05-15)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=737230503098954

Race report:
http://www.runnersworld.se/blogs/andersforselius/varna-marathon-bulgarien.htm

Redan två timmar innan starten av Varna Marathon så riktade jag en tacksamhetens tanke till några nyvänna kinesiska vänner som jag träffade i samband med Prag Marathon förra helgen. De gav mig nämligen en kepa med en kinesisk flagga och en text som jag fortfarande inte har fått översatt. Antagligen lyder det kinesiska budskapet: “Länge leve kulturrevolutionen: Förbjud Melodikrysset, mandelpotatis, allsång & bandy, typ.

Men oavsett texten på kepan så spelade det en mindre roll just denna dag när termometern visade på all time high i Bulgarien, hatten räddade mig. Note to myself: Hälsingar ska hålla sig norr om Dalälven, basta!

Det här var premiärupplagan av Varna Marathon och av den anledningen fick jag inte nys om tävlingen förrän för bara några veckor sedan. Ursprungsidén var ju i själva verket att cykla ifrån min förra marathondestination Prag till södra Polen för att springa Krakow Marathon. Men eftersom jag sprang i Krakow redan för tre år sedan så lät en mara i Bulgarien mer intressant. Inte minst med tanke på att jag då kunde få till ett jubileum i form av mitt 160:e marathonlopp i det 60:e marathonlandet. Dagens Dubbel, typ.

Så fick det naturligtvis bli och av den anledningen cyklade jag norrut från Prag istället för österut. Jag hade fortfarande ingen aning om hur jag skulle ta mig till Varna när jag kom fram till Dresden i forna DDR i onsdags. (Varna ligger vid Svarta Havet och därmed sex timmars bussresa öster om huvudstaden Sofia.) Jag litade emellertid på att de tyska städerna hade hyfsade flygförbindelser till Balkan.

Efter att ha checkat in på ett vandrarhem i Dresden och sovit på saken så hittade jag en hyfsad lösning på dilemmat: Enligt Mr Google skulle jag senare samma natt kunna ta en buss från Dresden till stadsdelen Alt-Tegel strax norr om Berlin. En plats dit jag skulle komma fram strax innan fyra på fredag morgon. Därefter t-bana tre stationer och en promenad på tre kilometer till flygplatsen Berlin Tegel (näst efter den etiopiska flygplatsen i Addis Abeba den allra sunkigaste på hela världskartan) och avslutningsvis fem timmars väntan på ett flyg som skulle ta mig till den bulgariska huvudstaden.

Nästa steg var att ta sig från flygplatsen i Sofia med t-bana (vem i h-lvete kom på det kyrriliska alfabetet?) till centrum av staden och därefter byta till en ny t-banelinje (jag upprepar frågan, vem i h-lvete kom på det kyrilliska alfabetet?) för att ta mig till tåg- och bussstationen i Sofia.

Av någon okänd anledning lyckades jag hitta rätt anknytning och hamnade så småningom på min önskade destination. Nu gällde det bara att bestämma sig för transportsätt: Tåg eller buss? En bulgarisk tjej (med amerikansk accent på sin perfekta engelska) löste den gordiska knuten genom att jämföra bulgariska tåg med indiska tåg. Det fick alltså bli en sex timmar lång bussresa till Varna.

Väl framme (och sent slagen klocka = becksvart) insåg jag att busstationen i Varna var typ tre km utanför det centrum där jag någonstans hade bokat ett vandrarhem. Eftersom jag konsekvent alltid vägrar ta taxi (jag är säker på att alla utländska taxichaffisar tänker blåsa mig på pengar och därefter stjäla mitt bagage och alla mina inre organ + fotvårtor) och namnskyltarna på bussarna var på (ni gissade rätt!) kyrilliska, så valde jag istället att promenera in till centrum av Varna.

Nästan framme i centrum lyckades jag dessvärre radera kartanvisningarna på min iPhone, vilket innebar några ofrivilliga varv runt stora torget innan jag helt apropå befann mig rakt framför Casablanca City Hostel. Jag kunde andas ut, nu återstod ju bara ett marathonlopp.

Varna Marathon var med facit i hand en positiv överraskning. Jag undviker helst premiärupplagor av marathonlopp då “mycket kan gå fel” i form av barnsjukdomar, men den här arrangören hade lyckats få till en kul bansträckning (fem varv x ca: 8.5 km) och bra support med många funktionärer. Det fanns ingen som helst möjlighet att springa fel i parken. Stor eloge till arrangören!

Banan är relativt kuperad och påminner en del om Central Park under New York City Marathon. Temperaturen är naturligtvis jobbig, men glädjande nog så har man skugga under större delen av loppet. Det blåste dessutom svalkande vindar utmed Svarta Havet.

För er som är intresserade av att springa nästa år så är det en ganska enkel anmälningsprocess. Man anmäler sig på nätet, men betalar avgiften när man hämtar ut nummerlappen. Precis som i Italien och Frankrike så krävs även läkarintyg i Bulgarien. Ett dokument som måste visas upp när man hämtar ut nummerlappen.

Och just det ja; min kinesiska kepa var fantastisk. Rekommenderas!



#59 SLOVENIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 10:04

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: SLOVENIA

2016 ISTRIA MARATHON, SLOVENIA: 4:55:24 (2016-04-10)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=737226119766059

Race report:
http://www.runnersworld.se/blogs/andersforselius/istrien-marathon-slovenien.htm

För några år sedan cyklade jag igenom Istrien (halvön som till stor del tillhör Kroatien, men där även Slovenien och Italien har en kustremsa) och visste hur j-kla vackert det var i området. Istrien visade sig vara om än vackrare med löpardojjor på fötterna, nu hade jag ju mer tid på mig att ta in alla intryck. Med facit i hand den kanske allra vackraste bana jag någonsin har sprungit.

Loppet arrangeras av städerna Koper, Izola och Portoroz och av den anledningen roterar starten & målet mellan dessa platser. I år var det den gamla kurorten Portoroz som var “huvudarrangör”. En stad som under sextiotalet hade besök av många svenska turister, men som sedan fallit något i glömka.

En sloven jag snackade med innan loppet berättade att det var så många svenskar på plats under sextiotalet att han lärde sig prata svenska. Utan problem kunde han fortfarande räkna obehindrat från ett till tjugo, och eftersom han var femton år under den här epoken så kunde han även “jag älskar dig!” utan minsta brytning.

Det är alltså hög tid för svenskarna att återupptäcka Istrien på nytt. Man når ju halvön ganska enkelt med en båttur från Venedig såvida man nu inte väljer att kombinera Istrien med de övriga slovenska pärlorna Ljubljana, Bled och Kranjska Gora. Det går ju utmärkta tåg- och bussförbindelser till Istrien.

Om man dessutom har böjelsen för långdistans ska man absolut utforska halvön med nummerlapp på bröstet. Man får ju ut väldigt mycket för den oförskämt låga anmälningsavgiften på 27 Euro i Istrien Marathon. Förutom en av världens absolut vackraste banor är det nämligen ett arrangemang där man har tänkt på precis varenda detalj.

Några exempel: Istrien Marathon kör med “omvända kilometermarkeringar”, vilket alltså innebär att man räknar ner kilometrarna från start till mål. Tro mig, det är mentalt mycket lättare att under den sista milen mötas av siffran 9 istället för 33!

Direkt efter målgången bjuds man på massage, riktig mat och livemusik i väntan på prisutdelningen. Precis innan ceremonin skivades det även upp tårta till alla deltagare.

Loppet har en generös tidsgräns på sex timmar och med hänsyn till de långsammare löparna väntar man med prisutdelningen till sex och en halv timme efter startskottet. Den siste löparen hinner då korsa mållinjen, äta soppa och varva ner i lugn och ro. Ett koncept som fler marathonlopp borde följa. Det är ju en skymf mot de långsammare löparna att så många marathonlopp har sin prisutdelning då halva startfältet fortfarande befinner sig ute på banan. Tänk er om man skulle köra samma princip direkt efter finalen på 10 000 meter i OS? Köra igång prisutdelningen & nationalsången medan de varvade löparna fortfarande har ett varv kvar till mållinjen…



#58 SOUTH KOREA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 09:39

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: SOUTH KOREA

2016 SEOUL MARATHON, SOUTH KOREA: 3:55:27 (2016-03-20)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=737208073101197

Race report:
http://www.runnersworld.se/blogs/andersforselius/seoul-international-marathon-sydkorea.htm

Det var nog krigsvintern -47 som jag senast träffade den här gamle polaren: Tävlingsdjävulen! I Seoul dök han i alla fall upp och det var verkligen när jag som bäst behövde honom.

Jag har aldrig sprungit en mara under tre timmar, men drömmen fanns alltid där fram tills att jag förstod att det aldrig kommer att hända. Tåget hade gått och ungdomen stod kvar på perrongen. Jag hade närmare till ett medlemskap i PRO än en sub-3.

Som bäst fick jag till en mara på 3:04 i slutet av 2011, men allt sedan dess har det alltså gått utför. Det fanns ju inte den där riktiga motivationen att dra på sig blodsmak i munnen när jag insåg att jag hade det betydligt trevligare i ett lägre tempo, jag får ju en medalj oavsett om det står 2:59 på klockan eller 5:30.

De flesta marathonlopp kör med en maxtid på sex timmar medan Seoul tillhör ett av undantagen med sina fem timmar. När jag sprang genomförde Tokyo Marathon tre veckor tidigare visade sluttiden 5:26. Det fanns alltså all anledning till viss nervositet inför det här loppet.

På pluskontot hade jag naturligtvis Tokyo Marathon bakom mig som åtminstone kunde kategoriseras som ett långpass. Jag hade dessutom två kortare träningar på strax under milen bakom mig som lovade gott. Fem timmar var nog möjligt.

Det största pluset var däremot sex tappade kilon i form av cyklingen genom Japan och etappen mellan Nord- och Sydkorea. Långfärdscykling är ett fantastiskt hjälpmedel för att snabbt tappa vikt. I genomsnitt förlorar jag ett halvt kilo om dagen under de första veckorna i cykelsadeln.

Långfärdscykling är dessutom en klart underskattad mental träning där man får smaka på längre distanser utan att nämnvärt belasta kroppen. Har man trampat över 100 km om dagen under några veckor så har man ju stor nytta av detta i slutet av en mara. Det är lättare att bita ihop efter 30 km av en mara med vetskapen om att man några dagar tidigare kanske cyklade hundra kilometer längre.

Eftersom jag fortfarande inte har orken för mer än 25 km så var taktiken glasklar i Seoul: Gasen i botten så länge det gick och därefter en improviserad run-walk-run till målsnöret.

Sex kilo mindre gjorde underverk och kilometermarkeringarna försvann förvånansvärt fort (tänk er att inte behöva kånka runt på en fem kilo säck potatis av modellen King Edward och en liter laktosfri mjölk i 42 kilometer!). Min målsättning att försöka ligga under 2:05 på första halvan infriades därför med marginal då klockan visade 1:49 efter 21,1 km.

Efter 25 km kom tröttheten smygande, men jag kunde ändå fortsätta springa om jag tog korta promenader. Vid 31 km kom pacegruppen för 3:50 ifatt mig, men en hastig blick på klockan avslöjade att det trots allt fanns en chans på sub-4 om jag fortsatte med min run-walk-run och inte maskade för mycket.

Utan den mentala träningen jag fått via cyklingen (tyvärr är även det här en färskvara) hade jag promenerat resten av loppet och njutit av seoulskenet i den koreanska huvudstaden, men nu satt ju tävlingsdjvävulen på axeln och skrek: Fortsätt, fortsätt!

Det är mycket matematik i slutet av en mara. Har man någorlunda med krafter kvar så vill man ju gärna gå under någon gräns. Det spelar ingen roll om det är tre timmar eller fem timmar och tjugo minuter, man vill bara komma på rätt sida av något j-vla streck.

Åtta kilometer kvar och en snabb kalkylering i huvudet visade att jag måste hålla mig under sju minuter per km för att kunna springa under fyra timmar. Nästa km avslöjade att jag sprungit/gått på strax under sex minuter, jag hade därmed vunnit en minut. Mattelektionen fortsatte ända tills det bara var en kilometer kvar av tävlingen. Härifrån hade jag 12 minuter på mig att korsa mållinjen. Segern var alltså vunnen. Klockan visade i detta ögonblick att jag i princip skulle kunna göra ett avbrott för en tre-rätters-middag medan jag samtidigt rättade stryktipset och ända gå under fyra timmar.

Inne på den vackra olympiastadion anno 1988 kunde jag därmed defilera till mållinjen, med nästan fem minuters marginal hade jag fixat fyra timmar.

Med facit i hand var det här min 61:a mara under fyra timmar, men ändå den som jag är allra mest nöjd med. Det finns hopp för framtiden, jag tror medlemskapet i PRO får vänta…

SOUTH KOREA

Capital: Seoul

Population: 51 million

Currency: Won

Fun facts about South Korea:

In Korea, babies are considered one year old at birth

South Korea is the largest market for plastic surgery per capita in the world. It is estimated between 1/5 and 1/3 of the women in Seoul have gone under the knife for at least one cosmetic procedure.

South Korean men love makeup, spending close to US$900 million a year, or a quarter of the world’s men’s cosmetics. Up to 20% of the male Korean population is reported to use makeup regularly

The name “Korea” comes from Goryeo, which was the name given to the dynasty established by General Wang Geon in AD 918. Goryeo means “high and clear.” Some poetic interpretations of the name Korea are “Land of High Mountains and Sparkling Streams” and “Land of the Morning Calm.

More facts about South Korea:

http://facts.randomhistory.com/south-korea-facts.html

Logistic:

https://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294197-Seoul-Vacations.html

Seoul Flyers Running Club (Registration for the marathon):

http://www.seoulflyers.com



#57 SINGAPORE

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 09:29

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: SINGAPORE

2015 SINGAPORE MARATHON, SINGAPORE: 6:57:17 (2015-12-06)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736603109828360

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/singapore-marathon/

SINGAPORE

Capital: Singapore

Population: 5,5 million

Currency: Singapore dollar

Motto:

”Majulah Singapura” (”Onward, Singapore”)

Famous people from Singapore:

Jackie Chan (actor), Erica Tham (actress)

Fun facts about Singapore:

Though there is no scientific explanation for it, it has been seen that more Singaporeans are born in the month of October than any other month of the year.

Bukit Timah Hill, 164 meters high, forms the highest natural point in Singapore.

Singapore is made up of one main island and 63 other tiny islands. Most of the islands of the country are uninhabited.

The symbol of Singapore is ‘The Merlion’, half-fish and half-lion beast.

Singapore boasts of housing ‘The Night Safari’, the first night zoo in the whole world.

Singapore is counted amongst the 20 smallest countries of the world. However, it is the second most densely populated country in the world, after Monaco.

More facts: http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-singapore-1470.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g294265-Singapore-Hotels.html



#56 THAILAND

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 09:18

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: THAILAND

2015 RAYONG MARATHON, THAILAND: 5:43:09 (2015-11-29)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736601073161897

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/rayong-marathon-thailand/


THAILAND

Capital: Bangkok (6,36 million)

Population: 67 million

Currency: Baht (THB)

Motto:

”Nation, religion, kung”

Fun facts about Thailand:

According to the World Meteorological Organization, Bangkok is apparently the hottest capital city in the world.

In Thailand it is deemed impolite to ask someone their age or salary.

It is called the “Land Of Smiles,” because of its ever smiling, inviting, soft spoken, friendly, and hospitable inhabitants.

In Thai tradition, the tradition of touching the head is severely looked down upon. The Thais believe that the soul resides in the head, which makes it an extremely sacred place that should not be touched.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-thailand-10285.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g297935-Rayong_Rayong_Province-Hotels.html



#55 MALAYSIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 09:11

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: MALAYSIA

2015 PENANG BRIDGE MARATHON, MALAYSIA: 5:44:19 (2015-11-22)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736599449828726

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/penang-bridge-international-marathon-malaysia/


MALAYSIA

Capital: Kuala Lumpur (1,59 million)

Population: 30.2 million

Currency: Ringgit (MYR)

Motto:

”Bersekutu Bertambah Mutu” (”Unity is Strength”)

Fun facts about Malaysia:

In 1997, the state of Kelantan, Malaysia ruled that lights would be kept on in cinemas in order to deter people from kissing and cuddling.

Five of Malaysia’s six Olympic medals were for men’s badminton; the other was for diving.

The lowest temperature ever recorded in the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur was 14.4C (57.9F); the average annual rainfall is 95.5 inches.

The Petronas Towers in Kuala Lumpur were the world’s tallest buildings from 1998-2004.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-malaysia-1519.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Hotels-g298302-Penang-Hotels.html



#54 JERSEY

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 09:06

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: JERSEY

2015 JERSEY MARATHON, JERSEY, CHANNEL ISLANDS: 5:04:30 (2015-10-04)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736594119829259

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/jersey-marathon-2015-10-04/

JERSEY

Capital: Saint Helier (28,300)

Population: 98 000

Currency: Pound sterling (GBP)

Fun facts about Jersey:

Two golfers from Jersey have won The Open Championship 7 times between them, Harry Vardon winning 6 times and Ted Ray winning once. Harry and Ted also won the U.S. Open one time each and Harry’s brother Tom Vardon had some smaller wins on European Tours.

The Channel Islands are actually made up of seven different islands: Jersey, Guernsey, Alderney, Sark, Herm, Jethou, Brecqhou and Lihou.

Jersey is officially the sunniest place in the British Isles.

Jersey and the Bailiwick of Guernsey both issue their very own bank notes and coins, although UK currency is widely accepted on the islands. The islands also have their own phone and postal systems.

Jersey was a favourite holiday destination of the Father of Communism, Karl Marx.

Herm is home to the smallest prison in the world. It has room for just one person!

The Channel Islands were the only part of the British Isles occupied by the Germans in World War II.

Jersey and Guernsey were the home in exile of French playwright and author, Victor Hugo who completed Les Miserables on Guernsey.

The islands are self-governing and have their own parliaments.

The Channel Islands are all smaller than Greater London!

More facts:

https://www.jersey.com/business/archive/tradeinformation/Pages/DidYouKnow.aspx

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g186230-Jersey_Channel_Islands-Vacations.html



#53 UKRAINE

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 08:59

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: UKRAINE

2015 KIEV MARATHON, UKRAINE: 4:54:49 (2015-09-27)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736592349829436

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/kiev-marathon-ukraine-2015-09-27/

UKRAINE

Capital: Kiev (2,8 million)

Population: 45,5 million

Currency: Ukrainian Hryvnia (UAH)

Famous people from Kiev:

Golda Meier, Israeli politician, Milla Jovjovich, model, Andriy Shevchenko, football (born in Dvirkivschyna 100 km outside Kiev)

Fun facts about Ukraine:

Ukraine is the biggest country in Europe (2nd biggest if counting Russia) with total area of 603.550 square kilometers, yet the population is lesser than in France and Germany.

The deepest metro station in the world is Arsenalna station in Kyiv going down at 105.5 meters. It was made that deep for military purposes with secret huge bunker hidden between Arsenalna and Khreshatic stations.

Trembita is the longest musical instrument in the world. It is a very long pipe played on by Hutsul ethnicity from the Carpathian Mountains.

The official language is Ukrainian; however most people are bilingual and speak equally well Russian and Ukrainian with people from west most regions being also fluent in Polish, Hungarian and Romanian.

Popular traditional Ukrainian dishes are borsh – yummy beef and meat soup and varenyky – dumplings filled with meat, potato or sweet berries.

No, Ukrainians don’t drink vodka all the time. (or horilka as they call it). Ukraine rank 6th in the world after Romania, Russia, Lithuania, Moldova and Belarus being the most drinking nation in 2014 according to the Independent.

Ukrainian national costume is called “vyshyvanka” – a plain white shirt made of linen and decorated with floral or ornamental embroidery. Worn by both men and women on numerous occasions. The best ones are still hand-made. Another part of the women traditional costume is “vinok” – a wreath made of real or fake flowers with long colorful ribbons attached to the back of it.

Logistic: http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294474-Kiev-Vacations.html



#52 MALTA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 08:52

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: MALTA

2015 MALTA MARATHON, MALTA: 4:14:43 (2015-02-21)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736591116496226

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/malta-marathon-valletta-malta/


MALTA

Capital: Valletta

Population: 423.000

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Malta:

David Millar (cyclist)

Fun facts about Malta:

Malta is believed to have served as the site for the legendary city of Atlantis.

In the past, there used to be a bridge connecting Malta with Sicily.

The island of Malta was under the occupation of the Knights of St John, from 1530 until 1798.

It was in Malta only that St Paul got shipwrecked, in 60 AD, and converted the Governor to Christianity.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-malta-2696.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g190328-Valletta_Island_of_Malta-Vacations.html



#51 QATAR

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 08:45

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: QATAR

2015 QATAR MARATHON, DOHA, QATAR: 4:53:03 (2015-01-09)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736588639829807

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/qatar-marathon-doha-qatar/

QATAR

Capital: Doha (797,000)

Population: 2,2 million

Currency: Riyal

Famous people from Qatar:

Mohamed Al-Modiahki (Chess), Ahmad Hassan Abdullah (track & field), Sheikha Mozah bint Nasser (politic)

Fun facts about Qatar:

As of 2007, oil and natural gas revenues had enabled Qatar to attain the highest per capita income in the world.

Qatar’s international image is bolstered in part by the Doha-based Al Jazeera news network, which has provided comprehensive coverage of the Near East and North African Arab revolutions.

Qatar highest point: Tuwayyir al Hamir 103 m

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294008-Qatar-Vacations.html



#50 COSTA RICA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 01:44

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: COSTA RICA

2014 COSTA RICA MARATHON, SAN JUAN, COSTA RICA: 4:41:48


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736583626496975

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/costa-rica-marathon-san-jose-costa-rica/


COSTA RICA

Capital: San Jose

Population: 4,9 million

Currency: Costa Rican Colón (CRC)

Motto:

Noble motherland, your beautiful flag

Famous people from Costa Rica:

Celso Borges (soccer), Giannini Facio (actress), Franklin Chang Diaz (astronaut)

Fun facts about Costa Rica:

The name ‘Costa Rica’ in Spanish literally translates to ‘Rich Coast.

Costa Ricans, locally or within the country are known as ‘Ticos’. Ticos is nothing but a local slang for Costa Ricans.

The country of Costa Rica is slightly smaller than the American state of West Virginia.

If you’re in Costa Rica at seven in the morning on any given day, make it a point to turn on the radio to listen to the country’s national anthem. The Costa Rican national anthem is played on every one of its radio stations at this time!

Every town in Costa Rica has its own plaza/little park in front of its Catholic churches. This feature is a lot bigger and more in number in the bigger cities. Most towns also enjoy proximity to at least one soccer field.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-costa-rica-10361.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g309293-San_Jose_San_Jose_Metro_Province_of_San_Jose-Vacations.html



#49 JAMAICA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 01:38

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: JAMAICA

2014 THE REGGAE MARATHON, NEGRIL, JAMAICA: 4:48:05 (2014-12-06)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736580809830590

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/reggae-marathon-negril-jamaica/

JAMAICA

Capital: Kingston

Population: 2,7 million (Negril 6,900)

Currency: Jamaican dollar (JMD)

Motto:

Out of Many, One People

Famous people from Jamaica:

Bob Marley (music), Usain Bolt (track & field), Shaggy (music), Grace Jones (Singer & actress), Patrick Ewing (basketball), Asafa Powell (track & field)

Fun facts about Jamaica:

The Blue Mountain district in Jamaica produces one of the best forms of coffee in the world.

Jamaica was one of the first Western countries to have a railway of their own, much before the United States.

Jamaica is the first Western country to sign the ‘Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Malaria and Tuberculosis’ grant agreement.

Jamaica is the home to the Giant Swallowtail, which is the second largest butterfly in the world.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-jamaica-10970.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g147313-Negril_Westmoreland_Parish_Jamaica-Vacations.html



#48 CURACAO

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 01:31

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: CURACAO

2014 CURACAO MARATHON, CURACAO: 5:15:13 (2014-11-30)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736578413164163

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/curacao-marathon-curacao/

CURACAO

Capital: Willemstad

Population: 153.500

Currency: Antiller Gulden (ANG)

Motto:

Unified by freedom

Famous people from Curacao:

Churandy Martina (track & field)

Fun facts about Curacao:

The name Curacao is believe to have from the Portuguese word for heart, coracao, and was known as a center for trade.

At one time it was known as the miniature tropical Holland, or the Dutch Gibraltar, being a very busy Dutch port colony.

The currency used is the Netherlands Antillean Guilder, ANG.

The island is about 37 miles long and almost 7 miles wide.

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g147277-Curacao-Vacations.html



#47 MONACO

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 01:18

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: MONACO

2014 NO FINISH LINE MARATHON, MONTE CARLO, MONACO: 5:23:45 (2014-11-22)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736576663164338

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/no-finish-line-monte-carlo-monaco/


MONACO

Capital: Monte Carlo

Population: 38 000

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Monaco:

Princess Stephanie, Princess Caroline, Prince Albert, Furst Rainier III

Fun facts about Monaco:

The Principality of Monaco is the second smallest country in the world. The smallest is Vatican City. Monaco’s total area is only 2 square kilometres (1.24 square miles). Monaco is bordered by France on the North, South and West with the Mediterranean Sea to its East.

Monaco is a constitutional monarchy/principality ruled by a descendant of Grimaldi family, and the oldest ruling house in Europe. Up to 2002, it was understood that if their were no heirs of the Grimaldi to rule to country, control of the country would be taken up by France. A treaty between France and Monaco in 2002 meant that should the Grimaldi family leave no heirs, Monaco would still retain its status as an independent nation.

The Monaco Grand Prix is one of the most famous races in the world. Drivers take to the streets of Monaco, tackling its tight corners, narrow streets and famous tunnel. Ayrton Senna holds the record for the most wins on the track, coming first 6 times. The constructor with the most wins is McLaren.

Monaco gained its independence from the Republic of Genoa on 8th January 1297.

Monaco is famous for its casino in Monte Carlo. However, residents of Monaco are not allowed to gamble or even enter the casino! James Bond is a particular fan of the casino, having visited it in Never Say Never Again, GoldenEye and Casino Royale.

Monaco’s biggest football team is AS Monaco which plays in the top league of French football, Ligue 1. Over half of the country’s population is able to fit into the team’s stadium, Stade Louis II.

Monaco’s flag is the same as the flag of Indonesia. The only difference is that the Indonesian flag is wider. The red and white colours of the flag are the heraldic colours of the Grimaldi House. AS Monaco also play in red and white and are often known as Les Rouge et Blanc (the red and whites).

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g190409-Monte_Carlo-Vacations.html

There are several inexpensive hotels in Nice close to the railway station and many daily trains between Nice and Monte Carlo.



#46 URUGUAY

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 01:02

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: URUGUAY

2014 PUNTA DEL ESTE MARATHON, URUGUAY: 4:46:40 (2014-09-21)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736575349831136

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/punta-del-este-marathon-uruguay-2014-09-21/

URUGUAY

Capital: Montevideo

Population: 3.4 million

Currency: Uruguayan peso (UYU)

Motto:

Freedom or Death

Famous people from Uruguay:

Diego Forlán (soccer), Jose Andrade (soccer), Enzo Francescoli (soccer), Alfredo Evangelista (boxer), Luis Suárez (soccer), Edinson Cavani (soccer)

Fun facts about Uruguay:

The full name of Uruguay is Republica Oriental del Uruguay, which means Oriental Republic of Uruguay. The name of the country has been derived from a Guarani word, which when translated means “river of painted birds”.

A staggering 88% of the Uruguayans are European descendants, which is very high as compared to quite a number of other Latin-American countries. This is due to the fact that Uruguay received a number of European immigrants from Spain and Italy during the 19th and 20th century.

Uruguay has a coastline of about 500 kilometers, which offers some of the most beautiful and scenic beaches. Most of the good beaches are located towards the north of the coast, on the Atlantic Ocean.

The people of Uruguay life a healthy lifestyle. The infant mortality rate is around 13.9/1000, which is very low and life expectancy at birth is 75.2 years. This is the highest in South America.

Uruguay also has one of the highest grades of literacy in Latin America. The official figures state that the rate of literacy in the country is around 97%.

As per Transparency International, Uruguay is rated as the least corrupt country in Latin America, along with Chile.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-uruguay-2030.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g294066-Punta_del_Este_Maldonado_Department-Vacations.html



#45 BRAZIL

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 00:59

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: BRAZIL

2014 BAHIA MARATHON, SALVADOR, BAHIA, BRAZIL: 5:26:01 (2014-08-24)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736573246498013

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/bahia-marathon-salvador-brazil-2014-08-24/

BAHIA, BRAZIL

Capital of Bahia: Sao Salvador da Bahia

Population of Bahia: 15 million

Currency: Real (BRL)

Famous people from Bahia:

Daniela Mercury (musician), Gilberto Gil (musician), Bebeto (soccer)

Fun facts about Brazil:

Brazil is one of the biggest countries of the world and the most populous countries in Latin America. It is officially known as Brasil or Republica Federtiva do Brazil.

Christ the Redeemer, the 130-feet tall statue that overlooks Rio de Janeiro, is one of the seven wonders of the contemporary times. This sculpture is the symbol and icon of Brazil.

The only soccer team in this world to have won the prestigious ‘World Cup’ 5 times is Brazil’s soccer team. Brazil is also the birthplace of one of the best soccer players of this century, Pele.

The capital of Brazil is Brasilia and it is considered to be one of the most beautiful cities of the world. This city was designed by architect Oscar Niemeyer, who was considered to be one of the best architects in the world.

It is common in the country to kiss women on both their cheeks while meeting them or taking their leave, in informal situations. Between men, handshaking is customary and normal European courtesies are followed.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-brazil-1159.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g303272-Salvador_State_of_Bahia-Vacations.html



#44 ARGENTINA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 00:49

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: ARGENTINA

2014 ROSARIO MARATHON, ARGENTINA: 4:51:48 (2014-06-29)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736567463165258

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/rosario-marathon-argentina-2014-06-29/

ARGENTINA

Capital: Buenos Aires

Population: 41 million

Currency: Argentinian Peso (ARS)

Motto:

In Unity and Freedom

Famous people from Argentina:

Diego Armando Maradona (soccer), Eva Duarte de Perón (politician), Lionel Messi (soccer), Gabriel Batistuta (soccer), Alfredo Di Stéfano (soccer), Gabriela Sabatini (tennis), Mario Kempes (soccer), José de San Martín (General, liberator of Argentina, Chile and Perú from Spain)

Fun facts about Argentina:

It is the eight largest country of the world, spreading over an area of approximately 2,766,890 sq km.

As per the law, the President and Vice President of Argentina should be Roman Catholics.

The Iguazu Falls of Argentina are even higher than the world-famous Niagara Falls.

Mt. Aconcagua of Argentina is the tallest mountain in the whole of South America.

The period between 1880 and 1929 is remembered as the golden time in the history of Argentina, because it was at this time that the country became know to the rest of the world, due to its prosperity. Owing to its profiting agricultural export-led economy, Argentina emerged as one of the 10 richest countries in the world, during the period.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-argentina-1416.htm

Logistic:

https://www.tripadvisor.se/Hotels-g312809-Rosario_Province_of_Santa_Fe_Litoral-Hotels.html



#43 ENGLAND

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 00:41

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: ENGLAND

2014 RICHMOND PARK MARATHON, LONDON, ENGLAND: 5:28:37 (2014-05-18)

2017 LONDON MARATHON, ENGLAND: 5:15:31 (2017-04-23)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736566253165379

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/richmond-park-marathon-london-england/

ENGLAND

Capital: London (8,54 million)

Population: 53 million

Currency: Pound sterling (GBP)

Famous people from England:

Charles Darwin (naturalist), Princess Diana, David Beckham (soccer), J.K Rowling (author), Jane Austen (novelist), Winston Churchill (politician/author), William Shakespeare (writer), Charles Dickens (novelist)

Fun facts about England:

London was known by different names previously. When the Romans invaded England, they referred London as Londonium. The Saxons called it Ludenwic and during the reign of Alfred the Great, it the city was known as Ludenburg.
The largest and the oldest royal residence in the word is the Windsor Castle. The castle is also under continuous occupation and it is still being used as a royal home.

In England during the medieval ages, even animals were not spared from the law. Any animal caught for doing any mischief or damage would be brought to court and tried and sentenced by the judge.

The Buckingham Palace was constructed on the site of a brothel.

From 1066 to 1362, French was the official language of England.

The world’s first postage stamps were issued in England. Since English were the first to issue postage stamps, England is the only country in the world that does not mention the country’s name on the stamps.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-england-10124.html

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g186338-London_England-Vacations.html



#42 MACEDONIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 00:28

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: MACEDONIA

2014 SKOPJE MARATHON, MACEDONIA: 4:53:57 (2014-05-11)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736563423165662

Race report:
http://www.runnersworld.se/blogs/andersforselius/skopje-marathon-makedonien.htm

Skopje Marathon, ytterligare ett bevis på att norrlänningar ska hålla sig norr om Dalälven. I alla fall de som inte kan hantera “ett par” plusgrader. Det var nämligen en helomvändning i temperaturen jämfört med Belfast Marathon veckan innan och framförallt var det vinden som var problemet, eller rättare sagt bristen på denna. Det var helt vindstilla i den makedoniska huvudstaden när startskottet gick och jag kände på ett tidigt stadium att jag fick “tugga luften”.

Temperaturen till trots, en kul tävling i en fascinerande huvudstad. Jag kommer gärna tillbaka, men då iförd hatt och preparerad med solskyddsmedel.

Skopje ligger ju något offside på den europeiska kartan och får nog inte riktigt den uppmärksamhet den förtjänar, men staden är absolut värd ett besök. Den påminner lite om Ljubljana för er som har besökt den slovenska huvudstaden. Berg, vatten, broar och charm. Väldigt mycket charm.

Man får dessutom mycket för pengarna i Skopje. De knappt 48 timmarna i staden kostade mig sketna 400 spänn inklusive två nätter på ett riktigt bra vandrahem och transfer till och från flygplatsen. Wizzair har dessutom lågprisflyg från både Skavsta och Göteborg. De svenska plånböckerna älskar Makedonien!


MACEDONIA

Capital: Skopje (531.000 people)

Population: 2,1 million people

Currency: Macedonian Denar (MKD)

Famous people from Macedonia:

Mother Teresa

Fun facts about Macedonia:

Mother Theresa of Calcutta was born in Skopje, Macedonia. Even though she was born in Skopje, she was Albanian by ethnicity at the time of her birth in 1910. Today, you can see museum house dedicated to her in the center of the capital city of Skopje.

Macedonia is the only country that got independence from Yugoslavia without shedding a single drop of blood. It remained entirely at peace at the heat of Yugoslav wars in early 1990s and got independence from Yugoslavia in 1991.

Another interesting feature about this country is that it has more number of mountains and mountain peaks than any other country in the world. The country has as many as 34 mountain peaks, each with a height of more than 2,000 meters above the sea-level; with Mount Golem Karb being the highest at 2,753 meters above sea-level. Most peaks in Macedonia have never been visited by people.

The Cyrillic alphabet, official in Macedonia, is based on the alphabet developed in the 9th century by two Macedonian (Region) brothers – St Cyril (thus – Cyrillic) and St Methodius. It was taught by their disciples at a monastery in Ohrid, from whence it spread across the eastern Slavic world.

The official name of Macedonia in the United Nations is the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, or FYROM. This is due to a long dispute the country has with Greece regarding their history as the former Kingdom of Macedonia. Even though they’re officially FYROM in the U.N, the government has persuaded more than 130 countries (135 at the time of publication), including the United States, to recognize it as the Republic of Macedonia.

Alexander the Great, who was king of the former Kingdom of Macedonia, was the first world-size conqueror who extended his empire across Greece and Persia to India and Egypt. During his time, the Kingdom of Macedonia was the most powerful state in the world; but after his death, the empire fell apart and it became the first Roman province in 146 B.C.

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g295110-Skopje_Skopje_Region-Vacations.html



#41 NORTHERN IRELAND – Belfast Marathon

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 00:17

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: NORTHERN IRELAND

2014 BELFAST MARATHON, NORTHERN IRELAND: 4:30:39 (2014-05-05)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736467229841948

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/belfast-marathon-northern-ireland-2014-05-05/

NORTHERN IRELAND

Capital: Belfast (277 000 people)

Population: 1,81 million

Currency: British Pound Sterling (GBP)

Famous people from Northern Ireland:

C.S. Lewis (author), George Best (soccer), Norman Whiteside (soccer), James Galway (flautist), Amanda Burton (actress), Kenneth Branagh (actor), Liam Neeson (actor), Van Morrison (singer)

Fun facts about Northern Ireland:

Titanic was built and launched from Belfast Harbor in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland is the proud bearer of many internationally renowned poets and writers like C.S Lewis, Ian McDonald, Tom Paulin, Bob Shaw, Frank Ormsby, John Brown and many more.

The best-known delicacy of Northern Ireland is the ‘Ulster Fry’ that traditionally includes high cholesterol wonders like bacon, egg, soda bread, sausage, potato bread, mushrooms, fried tomato, baked beans and occasionally pudding.

More facts:

http://lifestyle.iloveindia.com/lounge/facts-about-northern-ireland-10996.html

100 reasons to love Northern Ireland:

http://www.propertypal.com/loveni

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g186470-Belfast_Northern_Ireland-Vacations.html



#40 SLOVAKIA

World Marathon Tour Posted on 2017-01-07 00:07

WORLD MARATHON TOUR: SLOVAKIA

2014 BRATISLAVA MARATHON, SLOVAKIA: 4:24:16 (2014-04-06)


Photos:
https://www.facebook.com/pg/Biking-Viking-730374053784599/photos/?tab=album&album_id=736464959842175

Race report:
http://bikingviking.net/listing/bratislava-marathon-slovakia-2014-04-06/


SLOVAKIA

Capital: Bratislava

Population: 5,4 million

Currency: Euro (EUR)

Famous people from Slovakia:

Pavol Demitra (ice hockey), Miroslav Satan (ice hockey), Anton, Marian & Peter Stastny (ice hockey), Martina Hingis (tennis, born in Kosice), Miloslav Mecir (tennis)

Fun facts about Slovakia:

Staff of Slovak and Slovenian embassies meet once a month with their colleagues to exchange wrongly-addressed mail!

Martina Hingis (born in 1980) – Tennis champion, former World No. 1 and winner of five Grand Slam singles titles and nine Grand Slam women’s doubles titles, was born in Slovakia to a Slovak father and a Czech mother.

The inventor of the parachute, Stefan Banič, was born about 10 kms north of Bratislava in a town called Neštich in 1870. He is the man who invented the parachute. He immigrated to the United States, where he worked as a coal miner for a while but then built a prototype for a harnessed umbrella-like parachute and tested it by jumping out of an airplane and surviving in 1914. He sold it to the US military but received very little money and next to no fame for what would go on to save the lives of countless individuals.

More facts:

http://www.slavorum.org/25-facts-about-slovakia-that-you-didnt-know/

Logistic:

http://www.tripadvisor.com/Tourism-g274924-Bratislava_Bratislava_Region-Vacations.html