On September 10, 2022, the thirteenth Kistaloppet (Kista Race) starts. At this public festival, about 3,000 children and adults – beginners as well as elite runners – gather to experience Kista's lively streets and the nature preserve Järvafältet's green areas together.
“We use running as a tool to achieve social development,” says John Laselle, operations manager at the sports club Löparakademin.
Back in 2009, five guys from Kista and its surrounding areas had an idea. A thought that would change the direction of life not only for themselves, but for thousands of children and young people in Järva.
“We saw a number of growing challenges, including poor health and marginalization, and felt that we wanted to repay Järva for everything that we ourselves had received. From our own experience, we knew that sport is the absolute best path to social inclusion and equal health, which were absolutely not apparent Sweden's Million Programme areas, says John, himself an experienced middle distance runner at national level holding, among other achievements, SM gold in 1500 meters on his track record.
A few months later, Löparakademin (Running Academy) was born, a non-profit organization that focuses on outreach and meeting young people on their own ground. Short race distances and the fact the activities are free of charge encourage people to participate.
Järva's attractive green areas
For 13 years, the academy has run successful youth activities in selected neighborhoods in Stockholm, Gävle and Malmö. Most well-known is its 10-week program where ninth-graders, through training, workshops and mentoring, get the tools to set and achieve goals, one of which is to complete a 10-kilometer race!
John and his colleagues have also managed to complete several exercise races in areas with social challenges, and where lower health rates are among the highest in the country.
And now it's time again, for the thirteenth edition of the race that every year attracts around 3,000 children and adults, beginners as well as elite runners to Kista's lively streets and Järvafältet's green areas.
“The fact that half of the participants are children means that the many hours we spent on school visits have paid off. Even if the races are not the organization's main focus, they add great value as talented runners can motivate younger participants to continue playing sports.”
John Laselle. Photo: Daniela Spiroska.
"Skillful runners can inspire and motivate the younger participants to continue playing sports"
Shorter distances encourage people to the challenge
New for this year is that the 10-kilometer race, which was the main category for adults, has now been reduced to five kilometers, "Kistaloppet 5K". It’s a shorter distance to try encourage people to join in and challenge themselves. It will be interesting to see if it attracts even more people to the race.
A tradition of the event is to arrange festival-like fringe activities in connection with the races. Along the course, there are DJs and music stations so that runners will feel extra pumped up. And this year, Jan Stenbecks torg will be transformed into a lively event area with, among other things, an obstacle course for children, a book race and several local exhibitors. One of the exhibitors is "Run for office", a democracy project co-founded by Löparakademin.
“Social interest among young people is at a record high but despite this, many don’t feel that they are participating in democracy and society. Our goal is to transform young people's social interest into action for a sustainable society and a stronger democracy. We simply want more people to vote.”
September 8 is the last day to apply to join the Kista Race. And who knows, maybe you'll set a new course record? Also, don't miss The Kloud's party tent in the event area at Jan Stenbecks torg. Come by, grab a cookie and challenge yourself and your friends!
Start and finish centrally in Kista
The race starts and finishes at Jan Stenbecks torg, between Kista Galleria and Kista Science Tower. With the help of police, the road is closed to car and bus traffic.
Registration for the race is free – medal included! All runners must have a number tag. This can be picked up from the race center in Kista Galleria, no later than 30 minutes before the race starts.
10:15 Kistaloppet MINI 400 m 0-5 years
10:30 Kistaloppet MINI 400 m 6 years FSK
11:30 Lilla Kistaloppet 1.6 km Grade 1 (GREEN)
11:40 Lilla Kistaloppet 1.6 km Grade 2 (BLUE)
11:50 Lilla Kistaloppet 1.6 km Grade 3 (RED)
12:00 Lilla Kistaloppet 1.6 km Grade 4 (YELLOW)
12:10 Lilla Kistaloppet 1.6 km Grades 5 & 6 (BLACK)
12:20 Kistaloppet Fun Run 1.6 km
12:30 Viggoloppet 1.6 km
13:30 Kistaloppet 5 km