Courtesy of the Nordic Heritage Museum.
Scenes from last year's Viking Days Festival. Courtesy of Nordic Heritage Museum.

Viking Day runners plan to raid Ballard in Run like a Viking 5K

August is the time to raid the closet for those Nordic swords, horned helmets and faux-fur booties, because the Nordic Heritage Museum’s 31st annual Viking Days on August 16 and 17 is featuring a new event this year, the Run Like a Viking 5K.

The Viking Days celebration kicks off with the run at 8 a.m. August 16 at the Golden Gardens overflow parking lot. Runners are encouraged to wear their best Viking costumes. The costumes with the most Nordic spirit will pillage a prize.

The time to register for the race is now at because this year there is a 500 runner cap. Any age can participate and leashed dogs and strollers are welcome. Furthermore, the run route is design to be a pleasant leisurely run along the waterfront. Runners will receive a Run like a Viking t-shirt and an inaugural finishing medal. The registration fee is $40 and goes toward supporting the Nordic Heritage Museum fund for their future move.

According to Jan Woldseth Colbrese, Deputy Director of External Affairs at the NHM, the run is an effort to raise awareness for the museum before their big move in 2017. The museum plans to move to a new location at the Fenpro building, a 1960’s manufacturing site on the south side of Northwest Market Street between 26th and 28th Avenue. Construction at the site is set for as soon as September.

The move will cost the museum 44.5 million and so far they have raised 28 million. By the end of the year they hope to raise another 16.5 million to secure the final funds.

The building NHM is currently leasing at 3014 NW 67th St. is an old school and is owned by Seattle School District. NHM has been notified that the district will need the property in the future and that the museum will need to move.

“We are really pleased with the board to have had the foresight and that we will have a new home in 2017,” said Colbrese.

There were other location options for the museum but Colbrese said it was an easy decision to stay in Ballard.

“It’s important to the board of trustees to keep the museum in Ballard. There were other locations, but we wanted to stay in Ballard because it has such a strong Nordic tradition.”

In keeping with Ballard’s tradition, this year’s run is a way to connect with the Nordic cultural ties with nature and competitiveness.

“Nordic countries have a huge tradition of athleticism and a strong connection to nature. Skiing and running are traditional events, and so it seems appropriate for us with our 31st annual Viking Days celebration to have a run.”

Planning for the event was not with out its difficulties because that same weekend there are other huge events happening in Seattle.

“Since it’s the first time, we were looking for something the city would permit and have the least amount of problems with traffic. Hemp Fest is happening the same weekend so we had to consider how the route would effect the city.”

The run has rallied a gauntlet of pride for Nordic heritage and the museum. Colbrese said that many local businesses like Swedish Hospital have sponsored the event. In addition, NHM trustees have shown support with true Nordic comradery: one trustee challenged another member to run the 5K, pledging $5,000 if the fellow trustee completes the race.

After the run the Vikings Days Festival will begin with a Swedish pancake feed starting at 9 a.m. at the NHM encampment (3014 NW 67th St). The festivities will ensue with live Nordic music (Saturday only), craft demonstrations, vendors, and children’s activities. There will also be an alder smoked salmon barbecue that same day at 4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m. In addition there will be a Valhalla Beer Garden serving local brews and grilled sausages. Admission to the festival and the museum will be free all weekend.

“The mission of the museum is to share the Nordic spirit, and we are also here to serve as a community gathering place, so that’s what we are celebrating with Viking Days.”

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