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Five ways to race to the end of Sweden’s summer

If you're bored by the idea of a standard 10km running event or a session at the gym, check out these incredibly inventive races still to take place in Sweden before the end of the summer. They all look very fun to watch, too.

Five ways to race to the end of Sweden's summer
A previous Color Run. Photo: Jens Skovgaard

1. Vattenfall World Triathlon Stockholm

Sweden’s largest triathlon race takes place in the heart of the Swedish capital as participants swim, cycle and run their way to victory. Starting in the waters just off Kungsholmen island, racers then cycle to Langholmen and Södermalm islands, before running to the end of the race at the Royal Palace in Stockholm's old town (Gamla Stan). 4000 people in total are set to take part to one of the toughest and exciting competitions this year.

Date: August 22rd – 23rd

Website: stockholm.triathlon.org


Photo: Vattenfall World Triathlon Stockholm

2. Skateathon

One of the coolest and most unique races of the year will take place on August 29th. Skateboarders and Longboarders will reunite for the second year in a row, to push the 12km race. Filled with exciting challenges and experiences, the event will take place around Kungsholmen (Stockholm’s biggest island) and finish at Rålamnshovsparken, one of Sweden's most popular parks. The competition will be inviting anyone who can stand on a skateboard, as no special tricks are needed! 

Date: August 29th

Website: www.stockholmskateathon.com


Photo: Skateathon

3. Ö till Ö

Celebrating its 10th anniversary on September 7th the Swimrun World Championship (historically known as Ö till Ö) is a tough endurance race for fans of the fast-growing sport of “swim run”. Teams of two race 75kmof which 65km is made up of trail running and 10km involves open-water swimming among 26 islands. Starting by the Seglarhotel in Sandhamn in Stockholm's archipelago and finishing on the island of Utö, the race takes in some of the most stunning spots in the region.

Date: September 7th 

Website: www.otillo.se


Photo: Ö till Ö

4. Tiejmilen  

Stockholm will celebrate the 32nd annual event of the biggest women-only race in Scandinavia. The fascinating event gets going at 1pm on September 5th, and is set to attract 34,000 competitive participants. Women runners will be racing the 10km through the spectacular parks around Gärdet and Djurgården in Stockholm. For sure one of the most exciting and exceptional races this year!

Date:  September 5th 

Website: www.tjejmilen.se


Photo: Tjejmilen

5. The Color Run

The Color Run is an unusual race that involves participants getting painted along the way and is designed to celebrate healthiness, happiness and individuality. Last year its organisers hosted over 300 events in more than 50 different countries. In 2015, Sweden is hosting Color Run events in Gävle, Gothenburg, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Lund and Uppsala during August and September. The biggest will take place on the evening of September 11th, when thousands of participants will illuminate Stockholm's streets and skies. 

Date: August 29th, September 9th, 11th ,18th, 19th, 26th 

Website: www.thecolorrun.se


Photo: Jens Skovgaard

TRAVEL

How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans

After long months of lockdowns and curfews Europeans are looking forward to jetting off for a bit of sun and sand -- only to find that their long awaited holiday plans go awry due to a shortage of rental cars.

How a rental car shortage in Europe could scupper summer holiday plans
Tourists wait outside of rental car agencies in Corsica. Photo: PASCAL POCHARD-CASABIANCA / AFP

In many areas popular with tourists cars are simply not available or subcompacts are going for a stiff €500 euros.

Car rental comparison websites show just how expensive renting a vehicle has become for tourists this summer.

According to Carigami, renting a car for a week this summer will set tourists back an average of 364 euros compared to 277 euros two years ago.

For Italy, the figure is 407 euros this summer compared to 250 euros in 2019. In Spain, the average cost has jumped to 263 euros from 185 euros.

According to another website, Liligo, daily rental costs have nearly doubled on the French island of Corsica. At the resort city of Palma on the Spanish island of Mallorca, rental prices have nearly tripled.

Today’s problem is a direct result of the coronavirus pandemic.

Faced with near absence of clients, selling off vehicles to raise cash made a lot of sense for car rental firms struggling to survive.

“Everyone drastically reduced their fleet,” said the head of Europcar, Caroline Parot.

Until the spring, most companies still had fleets roughly a third smaller than in 2019, she said.

Car rental firms are used to regularly selling their vehicles and replacing them, so rebuilding their inventory should not have been a problem.

Except the pandemic sent demand for consumer electronics surging, creating a shortage of semiconductors, or chips, that are used not only in computers but increasingly in cars.

“A key contributor to the challenge right now is the global chip shortage, which has impacted new vehicle availability across the industry at a time when demand is already high,” said a spokesman for Enterprise.

It said it was working to acquire new vehicles but that in the mean time it is shifting cars around in order to better meet demand.

No cars, try a van

“We’ve begun to warn people: if you want to come to Italy, which is finally reopening, plan and reserve ahead,” said the head of the association of Italian car rental firms, Massimiliano Archiapatti.

He said they were working hard to meet the surge in demand at vacation spots.

“But we’ve got two big islands that are major international tourism destinations,” he said, which makes it difficult to move cars around,
especially as the trip to Sardinia takes half a day.

“The ferries are already full with people bringing their cars,” he added.

“Given the law of supply and demand, there is a risk it will impact on prices,” Archiapatti said.

The increase in demand is also being seen for rentals between individuals.

GetAround, a web platform that organises such rentals, said it has seen “a sharp increases in searches and rentals” in European markets.

Since May more than 90 percent of cars available on the platform have been rented on weekends, and many have already been booked for much of the summer.

GetAround has used the surge in demand to expand the number of cities it serves.

For some, their arrival can’t come fast enough.

Bruno Riondet, a 51-year-old aeronautics technician, rents cars to attend matches of his favourite British football club, Brighton.

“Before, to rent a car I was paying between 25 and 30 euros per day. Today, it’s more than 90 euros, that’s three times more expensive,” he said.

In the United States, where prices shot higher during the spring, tourists visiting Hawaii turned to renting vans.

In France, there are still cars, according to Jean-Philippe Doyen, who handles shared mobility at the National Council of Automobile Professionals.

“Clients have a tendency to reserve at the last minute, even more so in the still somewhat uncertain situation,” he said.

They will often wait until just a few days before their trip, which means car rental firms don’t have a complete overview of upcoming demand, he added.

He said business is recovering but that revenue has yet to reach pre-pandemic levels as travel is not yet completely unfettered.

SEE ALSO: British drivers will no longer need an insurance ‘green card’ to visit Europe, EU rules

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