Silkeborg, a city in the heart of Jutland and this weekend it will host one of the biggest active street parties in Denmark. If you’re thinking of a Distortion-style party spilling into the streets, think again. In fact, think active: thousands of runners, cyclists, rollerbladers let loose on a new highway before it opens to the traffic. In accordance with the opening of the European Week of Sport, this massive and multi-activity event will gather more than 40,000 people, including the Crown Prince of Denmark.
We talked to René Vinther Olsen, from DGI Midtjylland, one of the organisers of the event, about what will take place this weekend.
Motorvejsløbet 2016 is the third of a 3-highway event series connecting Aarhus-Silkeborg-Herning with the highway. The other races took place in 2012 and 2014. It is a tradition in Denmark to celebrate the opening of bridges and highways with a big sports event. In 2012 DGI Midtjylland was asked if we would put to together a team of organisers to manage the event. We have been part of it ever since. This time we wanted everybody to be able to participate in the event. So we have set up a large number of different race types.
What is unique about the event?
It is a once in a lifetime opportunity. The same weekend the Crown Prince of Denmark is opening the highway for traffic. The highway has been debated for many years but has turned out to be a solution for everybody. The people living in Silkeborg are now proud of the highway, which is the most expensive of its kind in Denmark. The event itself is also very unique because of the many race types and because we are eight different organisations working together to arrange the race.
What do you expect to be the highlights at the festival and are there any special guests expected to take part?
One of the highlights is the number of people taking place in the whole event – around 21,000 plus their families and friends. It will also be a highlight for many of the participants to finally discover the highway going over bridges and water through the town of Silkeborg – instead of around it as most would have expected. The sport event is part of the event called “Danmarks Største Vejfest” (The biggest street party in Denmark) Around 20,000 people will attend music concerts on Saturday evening. All together that’s more than 40,000 people – more or less the same number of people living in Silkeborg. The Crown Prince of Denmark is very popular in Denmark and by far the most special guest.
What types of partners are you working with to organise and promote the event and why is it good to work with them?
Eight organisations are arranging the sport event together. DGI Midtjylland, as a partly government-supported organisation, and seven amateur sports organisations: SIF Cykling, Sejs/Svejbæk IF, Funder GF, SLK, SMT, SAK 77 and Funder Løbeklub. The event has been promoted through the channels of DGI and DIF as part of the “Bevæg dig for Livet” campaign. The two major sports organisations in Denmark are working together under the title: “Bevæg dig for Livet” to set the people of Denmark in motion, to be active and healthy. If you translate the title it means Move for Life. Very much in connection with “MOVE Week”J Local amateur sports clubs are playing a central part in promoting Motorvejsløbet 2016 as well through their networks.
Why did the organisers think it was important to connect the event with the European Week of Sport?
We think the European Week of Sport serves a good purpose emphasising the importance of people being active. That is also what DGI, DFI and “Bevæg dig for Livet” are working for.
How can the Motorvejsløb contribute to Denmark’s broader physical activity campaign Bevæg dig for Livet?
At Motorvejsløbet 2016 you can more or less move/be active in any way you want. The important thing is that you participate and are active. It serves as a leading event for many other events making people active. People train for the race many weeks before. The cooperation with the seven local sports organisations also helps strengthen their organisations both financially and as organisations based on volunteer support.
Starting on Thursday 7 September, and until Sunday 11 September, Silkeborg is going to be packed with active families having fun and enjoying the benefits of being physically active. Check the Denmark European Week of Sport website to find events happening close to you.