Got a carsk, and won the five-mile race.

Historian and author Thor Gotaas talks about the interesting and comical practices runners used to resort to in the old days on the "femmila".

There were a lot of strange things happening at the "femmila", both from the spectators and the runners. The spectators brought flasks and often gave the runners alcohol along the course.

-In 1918, Thorleif Haug was given a carsk, or coffee doctor, and won five miles. It was a method they used in those days, says author Thor Gotaas.

See this year's programme here

Brandy and chops

Knowledge about diet and how to perform best was different from today. Runners did not warm up, but rather conserved their energy. They stood on the starting line and smoked a pipe to "expand their lungs". They used herring for lubrication, ate pork chops and believed that alcohol was good for regaining strength at the finish line. 

-"In the old days, there were pork chops and cutlets at the food station. Eventually there were also bananas, but people didn't know what bananas were, so many people ate bananas with the peel on," says Thor Gotaas.

Can women also do the 'five-mile walk'?

This year is the first time women will be doing the "femmila" in Holmenkollen. Gotaas is excited to see how the women handle the distance, and acknowledges that this will be a demanding race.

-"We'll see how the women handle five miles. If it's a mass start, it will be a hard fight. But the runners who are tough will do best, says author Thor Gotaas

First out on the "femmila" are the men on Saturday 11 March at 10:30, before the women's historic race on Sunday 12 March at 10:15. You can secure tickets for this year's five mile race in Holmenkollen here.

Check out the video below for more on what Thor Gotaas thinks: