Göteborgsvarvet's history 1980-2018

The course, fastest times, number of runners and of course the weather. A lot of things have changed throughout the years, but Göteborgsvarvet has always been a joyful event.

1980
1,800 runners started in the city center at Heden and finished in the Ullevi Stadium. Sunny and 30 degrees Celsius. The first winners were Göran Högberg and Midde Hamrin.

1981
The start is moved to the street Södra Vägen, and the finish was at Ullevi Stadium again. Grete Waitz welcomed the winner.

1982
The start had now been moved to the street Margretebergsgatan with finish inside the arena Slottsskogsvallen. Very popular often winner in the women’s class was Grete Waitz. Another very well-known person finished the race: “The Champ” Ingemar Johansson, 50 years old and 115 kilograms.

1983
3,500 runners. The crowd cheered and applauded for The Champ, who participated for the second year in a row.

1984
Thanks to The Champ, the number of runners had increased to 14,800! Winners were Gothenburg’s local running stars Mats Erixon and Midde Hamrin. The singers/dancers Herrey brothers won the Eurovision Song Contest the week before the race and they all ran and were enthusiastically cheered on by the 150,000 spectators. After the race they left in a helicopter from Slottsskogsvallen direct to Copenhagen where a television show awaited.

1985
The police strike created concerns about Göteborg’s largest sporting event. However, ten men did a tremendous job and managed to keep everything under control without any incidents among all the spectators and 18,000 runners.

1986
The king of Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon Mats Erixon took his fourth victory and the queen Evy Palm, 44 years old, took her second victory.

1987
After seven years of sun this was the first year that it had rained. However as it got closer to the starting time – three o’ clock –the rain stopped and held off until later in the evening.

1988
Record breaking with over 30,000 runners participating. The high jumper Patrik Sjöberg welcomed Evy Palm, who once again won. Sunny and 26 degrees Celsius.

1989
10th anniversary. First African victory by Simon Robert-Naali from Tanzania. Total of 245 runners have ran all Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathons thus far. Lilla Göteborgsvarvet race was arranged for the first time.

1990
Over 22,000 runners finished the race. All of them are winners according to the reporter Ulf Jansson from GT. The police force had their own national championship with the half marathon.

1991
Ingrid Kristiansen won the women’s class and was welcomed by Swedish politican Kjell-Olof Feldt.

1992
The fire department started their own national championship with the half marathon. Over 35,000 runners.

1993
General secretary Harry Ericksson ran his first and last Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon. Time: 2.58. Swedish singers Sofia Källgren and Ingmar Nordström were involved in a sports service in the church Hagakyrkan. Three generations Østbye ran the race.

1994
15th edition of Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon. Total of 175 that have completed all the Göteborgsvarvet since the start. Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon was, by the prestigious U.S. magazine Runner’s World, ranked as one of the world’s ten best long distance races. 150 runners competed in the national championship for the church.

1995
Göteborgsvarvet HM held the Swedish Championships in half marathon. Åke “Biten” Eriksson and Sara Rome became Swedish champions.

1996
Leif “Loket” Olsson is the commentator for the fifteenth time for Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon. Nearly 34,000 runners, with participants from 32 nations. National championship for Media for the first time. 25 music bands played for the runners and spectators.

1997
Göteborgsvarvet’s course is changed. Instead of running over the hilly Ramberget, the race now runs along the harbor walkway Eriksberg, Lindholmen and Götaverken. In the Eriksberg area there was a major military exercise in the “Partnership for Peace”. Martin Ojuku, Kenya, sets new record with 1.01.44 and Joyce Chepchumba, Kenya, wins at 1.09.50. Lilla Göteborgsvarvet race moved from August to the day after Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon and together the weekend became Sweden’s largest running weekend.

1998
142 runners have completed all 19 Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathons thus far. The course at Lindholmen was supplemented by a pontoon bridge to allow more space for the runners. 43 exhibitors took part in the Sport Expo. Lilla Göteborgsvarvet race celebrates 10 years.

1999
A large anniversary race when Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon took place for the 20th time. 22,222 runners crossed the finish line. The Moroccan Rachid Ait Bensalem won the race and also became the audience’s  favorite. Russian Nadesjda Ilyin won the women’s class for the second year.

2000
The half marathon got two very worthy winners this year. The men’s class was won by the young talent from Tanzania: Faustin Baha. In women’s class the Norwegian Stine Larsen won with a new track record, 1.09.28.

2001
Summer arrived early this year and contributed to one of the hottest Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon ever. Stine Larsen took her second victory in a row. In the men’s class Estonian Pavel Loskutov won. Lilla Göteborgsvarvet race hit a new record and in total the weekend had nearly 40,000 runners.

2002
First Swedish winners in over ten years – for both the women’s and men’s class. The women’s class was won by Lena Gavelin from Jamtrennarna while “local runner” Mustafa Mohamed from IF Hälle surprised by winning the men’s class with his first time running this event. Volvo Cars makes up the largest group amongst the companies and had their own start group, with nearly 1,500 runners. Again, new record of runners in Lilla Göteborgsvarvet race.

2003
New record of total finishers – both in Lilla Göteborgsvarvet race and in Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon. 24,600 runners finished Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon and the kids’ races became Sweden’s largest youth running event with 69,63 runners finishing. Both winners came from Kenya: Benjamin Rotich and Miriam Wangers. Marathon champion from the Olympic Games in Atlanta in 1996, South African Josiah Thugwane, took third place.

2004
25th anniversary with a record both in the number of runners registered (36,095) and finishers (27,000). Many of the previous winners were running – among them Mats Erixon, Midde Hamrin and Evy Palm. Total of 116 runners have ran all the 25 races thus far. In the men’s race Mustafa Mohamed won for the second time, beating the marathon Finnish star Jan Holmen. New records were also set in Lilla Göteborgsvarvet. Walking event – Stav Göteborgsvarvet was arranged for the first time on Friday.

2005
The rain poured down during the morning’s preparation and the 10,000 meters – Nordic championships in the athletic arena Slottsskogsvallen, but it stopped in the afternoon the 25,700 runners had perfect running weather. The big news was that the main city avenue – Kungsportsavenyn – was ran in both directions with the statue Poseidon as the rounding point. The Kenyans won both classes: Silas Sang and Susan Kirui. The weekend was extended with another event – Special Göteborgsvarvet on Friday at lunch – more than 400 participants from special needs schools and daytime groups! The walking event got a new route through the beautiful and hilly Änggårdsbergen and Botanic Gardens. The event attracted more than 400 walkers. New records were also set in the race for kids up to 6 years old – Mini Göteborgsvarvet for the youngest had 1,500 participants.

2006

Perfect running weather – sunshine and a pleasant tailwind when passing the Hising Island. New records were set over the weekend, which attracted 46,603 runners Friday-Sunday. A new energy station in the city center. Göteborgsvarvet HM and Lilla Göteborgsvarvet/Kids race were broadcasted on two TV channels.

Two Moroccan brothers came in first and second place – Abdelhadid and Abdelkader El Mouaziz and the women’s class was won by Helena Javornik. Lilla Göteborgsvarvet race (7,078), Special Göteborgsvarvet/Special needs (465) and Mini Göteborgsvarvet (1,680) set new records for the number of  participating runners.

2007
Outstanding number of 51,866 registered runners to just one of the races during the Göteborgsvarvet weekend. Tuesday evening during the event week there was also a race for women – Vårruset – organized by IK Vikingen  in Slottsskogen with 19,000 runners. With a total of 70,000 (!) runners in one week in Gothenburg.

The entire weekend had perfect running conditions and over 30,700 runners completed the Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon.

The track was improved for the runners – but there was also a delay due to a large NATO Military Exercise, held the same weekend in the Port of Gothenburg.

Extra efforts were made around the course for the audience, with activity areas, speaker support, and giant screens. AB Volvo had 1700 participants in Göteborgsvarvet.

Göteborgsvarvet Pre-training that goes on throughout the year expanded to include the cities Borås, Trollhättan, Lerum, Mellerud and Göteborg, with up to 200 participants per session.

2008
The fastest Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon ever! Sylvester Kimeli Teimet from Kenya sprinted away from Silas Sang, which led to a new course record 1.01.21. Kirsten Melkevik Otterbu beat her personal best and won the women´s class with 1.10.19. Isabellah Andersson from Kenya/Hässelby/Vilshult took second place beating out Christelle Daunay from France.

Another record, 57,914 participants during the entire weekend, of which 45,375 runners from Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon. The number of women runners increased with more than 12,000 participating in the Half Marathon. Three bridges for spectators and runners were built in the finish area, and a new “changing room village” was built, the number of water stations increased to 10. After the finish Chiquita gave not only bananas to all participants but even a fruit smoothie. Amongst those who started only 300 participants did not finish. Perfect running weather. TV channel TV4 Sport broadcasted the race.

Stav Göteborgsvarvet/Walk event offered two courses: 7 or 10 k, and the number of walkers doubled from previous year to 1,435. Mini Göteborgsvarvet had 2,242 participants up to 6 years old – record again.

Göteborgsvarvet Pre-training had over 100 sessions in 7 different locations in western Sweden, with up to 250 participants per session.

2009
The 30th Göteborgsvarvet , was fully booked in November 2008, with more than 53,000 runners.

Slightly windy, but otherwise perfect running conditions. The number of musical bands increased from 35 to over 50. In the Slottsskogen park a world record was broken – with over 500 ukulele players playing at the same time (broadcasted in BBC), and the rock’n’roll band Rydell & Quick played on the main avenue. New restaurants and food in the finish area, signed the former football player Glenn Strömberg. Further investments were made along the course and the audience could watch the race on five giant screens.

GT broadcasted six hours live with a record number of viewers (over 50,000), the race was also broadcasted on TV4 Sport, and radio channels Mix Megapol and Radio P4 Göteborg. It was possible to follow the runners who carried a GPS mobile phone live on the Internet. Lilla Sportspegeln/Swedish Television broadcasted Lilla Göteborgsvarvet race.

The volunteer organization Clowns without Borders raises money to the Eden Center in Burma.

Swedish championships were included in Göteborgsvarvet HM, gold medalists Erik Petersson, Mölndal and Isabellah Andersson, Hässelby. Göteborgsvarvet was won with good margins by Nicholas Manza Kamakya, Kenya and Ana Dulce Felix, Portugal.

Over 40,000 runners finished the Göteborgsvarvet HM, which now is the largest half marathon in the world.

2010
Record race weekend with a total of 71,597 registered runners. Course record in men’s class by Sammy Kirui, Kenya with the time 61:10. A quick weather reversal from chilly spring weather to hot summer heat, affected many runners and caused more runners than usual to suffer from dehydration.

Success for the new races Mellan Göteborgsvarvet och Mini Göteborgsvarvet. Total of 11,007 runners registered for the youth running events on the Sunday, which was a new record. On the Saturday, Göteborgsvarvet was broadcasted live at gt.se with four fixed cameras. The audience could also follow the race on six big screens.

There was also a record number of 2,800 volunteers. Car park at Åby Travbana and shuttle busses to start and finish area were also successful. Thoughout the year leading up to the race weekend Göteborgsvarvets pre-training were arranged at 12 different locations and approximately 200 sessions.

2011
A great weekend with over 43,000 runners who completed the race! Track records for both men and women. More spectators along the course than ever before and many watched the live broadcast on our big screens. 3,400 race officials worked over the weekend. Over 73,000 runners registered for the races during the weekend. The runners that chose to support charity donated together 1.3 million SEK to different organizations.

2012
Despite a windy day, the race of 2012 became a very fast race. National TV broadcasted the race for the first time, and a lot of people followed Victor Kipchirchir, Kenya, when he crushed the old record with 27 seconds and crossed the finish line with the incredible time of 1:00:25. Isabellah Andersson set a new Swedish record with 1:10:30.

44,099 runners finished, making Göteborgsvarvet the world’s largest race. Another 1.3 million SEK was donated to charity, and several records were made in the other races of the week. The Expo had over 80,000 visitors.

2013
45,015 runners completed Göteborgsvarvet of 2013 — a new record with over a thousand runners. The race was a tough task due to the extreme weather with almost 30 degrees Celsius on some parts of the course and strong headwinds. National TV broadcasted the race again contributing to increased nationwide attention. Göteborgsvarvet acquired an Environmental Diploma and raised another 1.3 million SEK for donation to our charity partners.

For the first time, a relay race — Varvsstafetten — was organized which was a huge success with almost 400 participating teams. The Expo had once again over 85,00 visitors. In January, Göteborgsvarvet was awarded the prestigious Sports Event of the Year Award, issued by the magazine Sport & Business, with the motivation: “The world’s largest race in 2012 continues to develop. Very strong growth. Unifies the public and elite runners in all ages with an even distribution between women and menThe race puts the destination Göteborg on the world map.

Furthermore, Göteborgsvarvet played a major role when the city of Göteborg was awarded Sweden’s best sport’s city by the Swedish public service television in 2012. Race director Bo Edsberger was runner-up when the “World’s Best Race Director” award was presented in the Road Race Management Race Directors’ Meeting in November. In December, Göteborgsvarvet announced that a marathon will be held in 2021 to celebrate the city of Göteborg’s 400 year anniversary.

2014
83,064 runners registered to one of the races during the Göteborgsvarvet week — a new record. From the half marathon, 36% of the runners were women, 1,000 more than in 2013. Minivarvet for kids had almost 7,000 runners and the relay race Stafettvarvet was organized for the second time. Perfect weather accompanied Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon, held for the 35th time. Ghirmay Ghebreslassie from Eritrea, and Worknesh Degefa from Ethiopia were the well-deserved winners.

Safety and health were improved even further this year. Three runners suffered cardiac arrest, one of which the doctors could not revive. The deceased collapsed after passing the finish line and was immediately given medical attention. This of course casted a huge shadow over the whole race.

Also this year, Göteborgsvarvet was awarded an Environmental Diploma, one step closer to an even more sustainable event. For example, only vegetarian food was served to the race officials. 1.3 million SEK was donated to our charity partners. The Expo was expanded with a speakers’ corner and a scene program. Starting 2016 the Expo will be held in the Swedish Exhibition and Congress Centre.

Marie Robertsson ran Göteborgsvarvet half marathon twice, the same route as Göteborgsvarvet Marathon which will be held in September 2021. Already 4,000 runners are registered for this unique race. Göteborgsvarvet’s new vision with 2021 in mind is: A running event of world class which contributes to better health and a festive atmosphere.

2015

Runners from 64 countries participated in the world’s largest half marathon on May 23rd 2015. During the week several different races and activities took place. The youngest runners, almost 8000 participants up to the age of 6, participated during the two days of Minivarvet. Youtube sensation Clara Henry cheered on the little ones in the Lilla Varvet and Mellanvarvet. Stafettvarvet was the first race to kick off the week of Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon. For the third year in a row, Stafettvarvet attracted approximately 700 teams. Minister of Sport and Recreation, Gabriel Wikström, paid a visit to Göteborgsvarvet making it his half marathon debut. Recently published author of Löparens Hjärta (Runner’s Heart), Marcus Torgeby, participated by testing the course for the Göteborgsvarvet Marathon 2021 by running the Göteborgsvarvet  Half Marathon course twice.

Worknesh Degefa, from Ethiopia, ran an impressive race when she beat the Göteborgsvarvet’s record with 51 seconds. Degefa was in the lead for the majority of the race and once she crossed the finish line she was only 13 seconds away from finishing with the magical time of 68 minutes. The third time was the charm for Richard Mengich from Kenya running in the men’s class. He came in first place  after coming second and third the years before. Two local runners were the top Swedish runners. Therese Olin, Ullevi FK, that live one kilometre from the starting line was the fastest amongst the Swedish women. In 2014, Therese was the one that crowned the winner of the half marathon. Mikael Ekvall, that also lives in Gothenburg and competes for Strömstad LK, was 12th in the men’s class and the top Swede. The elite race and festival of events that is the Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon is broadcasted on SVT1 and via the app SVT Play. A new link technique makes it possible for several camera positions for the live sending.

The Göteborgsvarvet medal in 2015 was designed by Sara Lailasdotter, student in the jewelry/art program at the University of Art and Design. Inspired by the “victory bite” in the medal, which made it possible to take the medal apart and wear it as a piece of jewelry. Over 8000 half marathon runners voted for the winning medal from 3 entries.

Since 2011, runners have contributed to charities by donating over 6 million kronor. This year 1.3 million kronor was distributed amongst the charities: Clowns without Borders, Stadsmissionen and Ågrenska. Göteborgsvarvet continues its work with public health focus in Gårdsten and Angered, suburbs of Gothenburg. Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon is an Eko certified event and is even working towards certification according to international standards. Göteborgsvarvet Half Marathon arranges a total of 20 seeding races. In collaboration with local clubs Göteborgsvarvet organizes running groups in 32 cities with over 500 running sessions throughout Sweden.

2016

Göteborgsvarvet intensified it’s focus on sustainability and was ISO 20121 certified, for a more sustainable event. As an organizer of a large event, Göteborgsvarvet wants to be a role model which with good routines and a sustainable organization contributes to wellness, public health and health on a community level.
Two new races premiered: Cityvarvet, a new city race for teenagers, and Trailvarvet for terrain runners and those who wanted to walk. For the younger kids, Göteborgsvarvet offered a large activity center, Lilla Varvet Fun Zone, on the Sunday in Frölundaborg.

Great news for Göteborgsvarvet was the new fair Göteborgsvarvet Expo, which was arranged in the Swedish Exhibition Centre in the center of Gothenburg. Göteborgsvarvet also started offering the participants free public transport during three days of the week.

Most memorable was the amazing course record – 59.35 – by Richard Mengich from Kenya. A new time in absolute world class! Viola Jepchumpa, Kenya, also broke the course record in the women’s class with the time 68.01.
The Swedish championship in half marathon was settled in connection to Göteborgsvarvet. Isabellah Andersson was the winner in the women’s class and Abraham Adhanom took the gold medal only seconds before his competitors in the men’s class.

In Göteborgsvarvet 2016, the participants collected 1,5 million to charity and in total Göteborgsvarvet has contributed with 7,5 million since 2011 to different charitable causes.
The project ”HEJA” with running classes for kids in different parts of Gothenburg was done with many participants all around the year. Göteborgsvarvet arranged 20 seeding races (10km) and in collaboration with local track and field clubs also 550 running nights in 32 cities all over Sweden.
More than 64 000 runners were registered to the half marathon and the races during the week of Göteborgsvarvet gathered about 86 000 participants in total.

2017

About 80,000 runners, from 92 nations, were registered to one of the seven races of the Göteborgsvarvet-Week 2017. Saturday morning it was very hot, up to 27 degrees, and the forecast predicted tough weather. But so suddenly the temperature fell 12 degrees in a couple of hours and it became the closest perfect weather for both participants and audiences.

The elite competition was incredibly exciting and the track record on the ladies side with a time below the dream limit of 68 minutes was of course special. Two home classes in the SM classes, Malin Beach and Mustafa Mohamed were also two highlights.

When starting group 8 set off with nearly 800 participants from Försvarsmakten (the Armed Forces), a powerful display of a large number of hunting planes was made over the starting area. The new main partner ÅF, together and Göteborgsvarvet, invited all participants to free public transport for three days.

The competition week ended on Sundays with Lilla Varvet and Minivarvet for the youngest. It was a great activity day, about 15,000 children were moving on Saturday and Sunday. Fun Zone was filled with opportunities to try different sports and activities and became a huge success.

During the week, the premiere for the Göteborgsvarvet were seminars, including Running Science, where participants from several international races participated. The sports and health exhibition Göteborgsvarvet Expo was open for three days with more than 100 exhibitors and over 50,000 visitors.

2018

There were over 80,000 participants registered for Göteborgsvarvet’s seven races this year. A week that many experienced as one of the best race weeks in Varvet’s history. We had fantastic weather the whole week and the organizers and voluteers received highest ratings in the participant’s survey from the race. In addition to all this, we broke the participation record in five of the seven races.

Other highlights were that 16 year old Meseret Belet Tola from Ethiopia won the women’s class in the half-marathon and not to mention Mikael Ekvall from Strömstad LK had an impressive race in the men’s SM-Class. Super runner Wilson Kipsang, unfortunately, had to withdraw at the last minute, but was still present at the race in Gothenburg and shot the first starting shot at the half marathon. Several new apps and services had their premier this year, for example, free running photo, live tracking and Varvet deals. Minivarvet and Lilla Varvet, which takes place on the Sunday, has grown into a day for the whole family with tons of activities and so much more than just running.

The surplus from all the races goes to the track and field association that arranges the events. There was an extra focus on charity this year that resulted in a fundraising with record breaking numbers. In collaboration with the Göteborgsvarvet 2018, we raised a total of 1.7 million kronor that went to charity.