Running the DHL gauntlet

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August 31, 2013 by Matt

A few months ago, an email went around work asking who wanted to run the DHL this year. That meant nothing to me but I soon learned that it was a regular fixture in a lot of Copenhagen companies’ calendars.

The race beginsAnd it pretty well sums up the Danes approach to fun, which isn’t exactly the same as I was used to in London.

DHL (the courier people, of course) sponsor a big run every year in Fælledparken, probably Copenhagen’s largest park, and the one right next to Parken, the national stadium. It lasts 5 days, and every day thousands of people turn up in teams of 5 from their company, all to run a 5x5km relay race, complete with baton. Most companies hire tents and every team gets a DHL food box, with nibbles and a carton of red wine in it. And of course, everyone brings some beers along. Lots of teams also set up big barbecues and turn it into a real evening out for everyone.

So I signed up, and off we went last night. And it was great! This is a city of runners, so there was no shortage of volunteers and there was a great spirit, before, during and after the run.

The AdTomic DHL team - me on the far leftThe ADtomic team above, left to right – me, Chris, Elsa, Mikkel, Martin, Christian, Hilda, Chaga, Christian, Maria, Sofie, Torben and Emilie (and Torben’s friend at the back, who I’m afraid I didn’t catch the name of!).

Apparently 120,000 people participated throughout the week – all running the twisting, turning, carpeted route through the park, inhaling the BBQ smoke as they went, while those around them cheered and drank their way through the spectacle.

Maybe it would work in the UK – maybe there already is something similar. But all I know is that I never heard about anything like this in London, and can’t really imagine any of the companies I worked for being up for it. Well done DHL, well done.

Cheers!

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