Nice pilgrimage route, and a fitting tribute to Sten's (the original runner) mother. Worth the trip! See https://www.strava.com/activities/3505214524 for full trip report and details, photos, etc.
Was great to run such a nice and varied route. I wouldn’t put it in the category of “epicly awesome” mainly due to the amount of road and paved travel that has to be done between sites, but it is really nice to have these objectives (Churches) to which to travel. Also nice to think of this as a tribute to Sten’s mother.
While there were some jogs and routing which I think were oddly chosen or possibly route mistakes by Sten, the first person to run this, in the spirit of FKT I tried to stay on his route as exactly as possible, save making the out and back to Sollentuna church (totally understandable how he missed this; easy to miss the variation that gives you the access under the road). The few mistakes I made where I wasn’t exactly on his route were either so minor as to not be important or even added a little distance. Because I was trying to stay on his route, sometimes I had to backtrack or cut back, so my total distance added up to a bit more than the original route (including the extra church). Overall a great route due to its pilgrimage nature.
For my trip, I arrived at the bus station at 0345. Rapidly found the only bathroom open at the time (one in the middle of the park), and then proceeded to the start. For gear and preparation, I had, admittedly, several advantages over the Sten’s initial voyage: 1. I had both some notes from him, as well as his .gpx track on my watch. 2. It was summer so I had daylight the entire time and no need for a headlamp! 3. It was summer, so I used a Naked band, three Salomon soft flasks, my phone with extra battery, and a buff and ultralight jacket. Shorts and a shirt. So super light on gear.
The first part went well, and I arrived at Kvinsta at 0700, 3 hours after the start. That was a problem, as the Willy’s supermarket opened at 0800… I had two emergency gels with me, but no more water, and a 2-2.5 hour section ahead. Luckily one of the last houses out of town had a garden hose in the front yard… and no fence… so I stealthily filled up there Vol State style. Note: there is a stream about 45 min after that which would be adequate for filling if this happens to you. By the time I reached Sigtuna, I was super hungry, so I first hit the ICA there, bought a two liter of Coke, a donut, a chocolate muffin, and a large bagful of the mixed chocolate and garlic cashews from the bulk section. Must have spent at least 10-15 minutes screwing around there filling, eating, and hitting the public restroom down by the water, but I needed all of it.
I over-bought food there, and right before hitting Uplands Vasby, my next planned stop, there is a spring on the right hand side right before going under the train tracks where I filled my bottle, thus no need to make a stop there. My next food stop was thus at the Akalla ICA (on route), and I stayed there a bit to eat another donut and chocolate muffin as it was raining by now so I was a bit cold.
The last part of the route was a mixture of cool sights, and frustrating turns and route choices. For instance, I get why, near the end, Sten makes one run back a bit, cross over the water, and then run towards the goal as it is a much nicer section on which to run, but by that point one is feeling they are needless kilometers in the bank. That, and some construction for the last water crossing to Old Town requiring a short backtrack, and I was quite happy to be done with it all!
Overall I was secretly hoping to go under 14.5 hours, and I do think that is very possible. Apparently not by me. I just slowed way down, and even though everything was on my side, I didn’t have it in me. Would be great to see someone else, especially Sten, go and drop the time a bit more. Reach out if you have route questions!