Nordic Ultra

Page 1


# 1 2011 A Danish runner navigating his way through last years GAX Trans Scania

Sweden Runners diary Gourmet Running

o t d a o r e Th e c a l p d n seco N OVE CO LL I RU N N IN G IS ITALYS BE ST KE PT SE CR ET


H Footcare tips from those in the know H STATISTICS - The


Nordic Hall of Fame

H An events calender: so you don’t miss 1 Nordic Ultra #1 2011 a single race


Get in contact with the editor by mailing:

Welcome to a magazine for ultrarunners by ultrarunners! Hello and welcome to the first edition of Nordic Ultra. A free magazine for ultrarunners by ultrarunners. My vision for this publication is to promote nordic ultramarathon running both in northern europe and in other english speaking countries. I saw a need for an exchange of ultrainformation within the nordic countries. Who are the profiles? What’s going on in the other ultra-scenes next door? What races have I been missing? At the same time I want Nordic Ultra to be a down to earth publication. Every runner has a place within its pages whether you’re and elite runner or if it’s your first race. I feel fortunate to have received so much help with material to this first edition. I contacted many people that I didn’t know at all in the search of photos and articles. People were very generous with their time, especially considering that they had no idea that this project would get off the ground of what it would look like. My job was made much easier thanks to the work by the webmeisters at and

helping me design the magazine) is a swede, the sole reason for me moving here. I took up running two years ago. I had run a little on and off since high school, one period while living in southern Sweden and preparing for Vasaloppet. Two years ago my friends asked if I wanted to join them in Hellasloppet, a 10km race in Stockholm. I had run a little beforehand and had just cycled through northern Thailand. I had no expectations for the race, I didn’t really know what a fast time was. I started off easy and all the fast people took off, I didn’t really care, I wasn’t a runner. Halfway through the first lap I was warmed up and upped the pace a little. I started overtaking runners and caught up to the leading woman. I followed her pace for the remainder of the first lap. When I ran past the crowd, the womens partner yelled out, ’18 minutes! Good job!’ What…?, I thought. I didn’t know what a good time was, I thought that I might run it in 50 minutes, now I was looking at a time under 40. I upped the pace and overtook my pacer. It was balls out the rest of the race. Two kilometers left and I got a stitch. I was forced to slow down. I managed to hang on for a 9th place with a time of just under 39 minutes.

” I had no expectations for the race, I didn’t really know what a fast time was.”

It has been easy to find interesting news thanks to strong performances by nordic runners. Anna Grundahl deserves a special mention for smashing the nordic 24 hour record and coming in 4th overall at Bornholm. Andreas Falk also deserves a kudos as Annas trainer. I have heard reports that there were many spectators that were impressed with his coaching during the event. Gjermund Sörstad also has great form at the moment. It will be interesting to see what he can accomplish at the 100km european/world championships in Holland this september. Speaking of dominant forces, Jonas Buud continues to churn out results of absolute worlds class. All of my feature articles were written by swedes, except for my own which are proudly australian. This was only because of my lack of contacts in the other nordic countries. I hope that the next edition will feature written material from countries outside of Sweden. I for one am very interested to hear what’s going on beyond our borders. You may wonder why I chose to use english? Firstly I wanted the language to be neutral. I don’t want it to seem like a Swedish or a Norwegian publication, I wanted to be a Nordic publication. Sweden, Finland, Norway and Denmark all have a high number of english speakers. My second reason was the possibility for readers outside of the nordic countries to enjoy Nordic Ultra - readers in neighboring countries such as Poland, Russia, Germany and Holland. So who is Andrew Tutt-Wixner? I am a 28 year old australian based in Stockholm. I moved here five years ago. My wife (that is


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

That was when I became a runner and started running regularly. A few months later my friends bought me a start number for the 68km Jättelångt and there it began...

Andrew Tutt-Wixner Editor in chief


GAX-Trans Scan ia 20


Photo: Zingo An


02 EDITORIAL: Welcome to Nordic Ultra 04 Ultra running in pictures 06 News from the Ultra world 08 Run Nove Colli with Michael Andersson

” Two days before I left I was a nervous wreck.” 14 Running Sweden – a diary from the editor



18 LOCATION: Northern Dalarna, Sweden 20 Gourmet running in Skåne, Sweden 24 Running Jättelångt 28 Those who know talk about foot care – and why it’s important 30 Events Calender 32 The Nordic Hall of Fame

Nordic Ultra #1 2011



Do you want your photo on this page? Send it to:

A focused Andreas Falk. GAX Trans Scania 2010.

Photo: Zingo Andersson


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

Clubmates Ragnar Nygård and Gunnar Bruun running Kristins Runde.

Photo: Olav Engen

Tero Hyppölä not looking very fresh after Kuopios 6H

The sharp end of Jättelångt 2011.

Photo: Kuopios Photo: Sofia Wixner

The lonely road - Mors Rundt 2010.

Photo: Nordic Ultra #1 2011



Do you have an idea for an article? Mail it to:

Podcast tip H Ultrarunner podcast

is a great new source of ultrarunning news and interviews. They interview some of the worlds best distance runners and medical experts. It’s well worth a listen if you’re out on a long run. //

Suomi Run H In June, the 40th edition

of the worlds oldest 100km race, Suomi-Run was conducted in Perniö, Finland. Tomi Halme won in a smoking 7:39:32 followed by Janne Klasila in a quick 7:43:05. Satu Ovaskainen won the womens class in 9:03:16//

Robert Hansen powering on to clinch first place.

New record for Kristins H Norways Robert Hansen won Kristins Runde in an record time of 7:10.

Andreas Falk tired but happy.

He took off after 40km and was untouchable for the remainder of the 81km race.

World class by Gjermund H Norways Gjermund

Sørstad has run an impressive Kickmaster Ultra Marathon in Drammen. Gjermund completed the marathon distance in 2:41:30 and the 51km in the world class time of 3:16:21, possibly the fastest

What do you want to read about in Nordic Ultra? Do you want to contribute? Send an email to nordic.

WS 100 H Four Nordic runners

started the classic american 100 miler Western States. norwegian Bernt Bratsberg (23h12m)and dane John Christensen (29h 51m) finished the race. Swedes Bernt Hedlund and Jan Söderkvist unfortunately had to drop out during the second half of the race.//


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

Norwegian ever over 50km. He set a blazing pace from the beginning, the first 4.25 lap was completed after only 15:30! Kristian Qvenild and Jon Harald Berge finished 24 minutes later together in 3:40:04. //

Elinder won in Lappland H Lapland Ultra, the 100km

Finish the race – get your buckle.

When Robert neared the finish he took a wrong turn and lost several minutes. He still man-

Good result for Falk

H In June Andreas Falk won

the 48 h race Lauftreff in Gols, Austria. He ran a total of 330km, making it the second fastest swedish 48 h time after Rune Larsson. According to Andreas it was a tough race. ’When the second night came, several runners tried to close the gap. My tactic was to follow then so I could keep an eye on them and match their pace.’//

race held under northern Swedens midnight sun was won by Swedens Fredrik Elinder after 8:46:34. The womens class was won by

Denmarks Teresa Wendelboe Petersen after 9:41:00. Next year Adaks Lappland Ultra will be hosting the Swedish 100km Championships, held in Tibro this year. //

Keep the pace and win H The third edition of

Footrally, an ultra-walking competition was won by Jonas Davidsson after 33 hours 22 minutes. Footrally is a race with a

different philosophy. The race starts in central Stockholm and continues south at a pace of 5km/h. Fall behind and you’re out. The last person remaining wins. //

Keep the pace and win H There were some great

results in finnish Kuopio back in May. Tero Hyppölä won with a speedy 81 229m, club mate Hannu Anttila earned

a second place with 77 655m and Jarmo Väänänens run in a third place after 73 406m. Teija Honkonen won the womens class with 64 338m. //

Strong result for Buud in Comrades debút H Jonas Buud ran to an impressive 4th place in this years Comrades in 5:42:45 only 40 seconds after third place Claude Mohiywa. This was Jonas’ Comrades debút, it is said that it is very hard to do well as a first time runner in the event which makes Jonas’ result extra special. The winner for the third time was Stephan Muzhingi who pulled away from the pack at an amazing pace and was untouchable during the last part of the race. The was a strong contingency of 12 swedes this year, Women Cecilia Petersson 9:24:34 place 225 Maria Thomsen 9:54:00 place 411 Barbro Nilsson 10:36:52 place 814

Runde 2011 aged to beat second placer Per Olav Bøyum by 13 minutes! Jon Harald Berge came in

in third place. Cecilie Karlsen won the womens class in 11:04. //

Men Mats Liljegren 8:45:46 place 1570 Daniel Ek 8:52:36 place 1785 Zelko Krajcar 9:21:02 place 2430 Thomas Alm 9:42:18 place 1343 Tore Nilsson 9:45:03 place 3074 Tord Blücher 9:53:12 place 3365 Patrick Joyce 10:22:32 place 4282 Anders Eliasson 11:34:54 place 7355 Russian sisters Elena and Olyesa Nurgalieva took the womens class again. The pair have dominated the event for several years now. Unfortunately while they were competing both their car and hotel room were robbed. //

... and he strikes again

H In the end of July Jonas Buud also took home the crown

in Swiss Alpine Marathon. It was the Swedes fifth consecutive win in the race that covers 78 km in the alps. He won in the time 6:11:02. The fastest female was the British Elizabeth Hawker. Kajsa Berg ran home a third place for Sweden. In the marathon class Trond Idland won with a time of 5:18. He was in 5th place at the highest point of the course, overtaking the rest of the field on the downhill section. The race boasted a large nordic field with many impressive results. // Anna recieves her prize.

New Nordic 24 h record H Swedens Anna Grundahl

broke the Swedish and Nordic 24h record and ran the second fastest time this year when she won at Bornholm. Only three other swedish women have run further than 200km. On the mens side it was norwegian gold and silver. Joar Flynn Jensen ran 236km for

the gold and Lars Christen Dørum took silver with 234km. It was Annas debút at the 24 h discipline. Anna ran a perfect race, running a total of 221km. The spectators were ecstatic the final 100m to the finish. Congratulations Anna, I’m sure that there’s more to come. //

Two record runs in first national championship H The first Icelandic ultrarunning national championships

were arranged in June this year in Reykjavik. The distance was 100km, both the mens and womens nation record were broken! The 55 year old Sigurjón Sigurbjörnsson won in an amazing 7:59:01, Gunnar Ármansson came in nearly 53 minutes later in second place. Saebjörg Logadóttir won the womens class in 9:12:42. //

Nordic Ultra #1 2011




Michael Andersson


Clare Barnes, Åre translation


Urban Rosenqvist

It was in France in the autumn of 2010, between a couple of stages of a race, that a Frenchman recommended the race that I’m going to tell you about – a hilly road race in beautiful Italian scenery, Nove Colli Running. 8

Nordic Ultra #1 2011

An Italian runner looking strong on one of the many hills of Nove Colli.


didn’t know then that it was the same, so mewhat humble Frenchman that holds the record for the race. Two clubmates from Västerås Löparklubb were also interested in running, and Kerstin was the one who finally decided to come along. To be honest, it was probably because of her that I got around to entering myself. I’d never heard of this race before and my guess is that it’s also unknown to many others in northern Europe who are interested in ultrarunning, something that I hope to change with this article. As far as I know, only one other Swede has started this race before,

despite 2010 being its fourteenth year – but you shouldn’t expect a whitewashed report of a race without difficulties, but one that is how I experienced it at the time. The Swedish 100 km Championships in Tibro functioned as a training race, five weeks before this double-length challenge. I had previously run longer races than Nove Colli, but not ones with 3600 metres of ascent – and just as much descent. Plenty of things could happen during the race and there were no guarantees that I would reach the finish line within the maxi mum time of 30 hours; the only thing I could be sure of was a fight-

Nordic Ultra #1 2011


The author looking strong on his way to second place.


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

ing spirit that was ready to do battle. Over the past year I have developed as an ultrarunner, mainly as regards mental strength, being able to find what it is that pushes me onwards when both my body and mind are shouting “Stop!” As my Italian isn’t as good as it should be, I had to resort to the shaky English on the race’s website. The race organiser’s replies to my emails were equally shaky, but I never doubted that the race would happen, or that everything would fall into place before the start. My aim later became to learn enough Italian during the trip to be able to order a three-course dinner. My suspicions that the security checks at the airport would be interesting turned out to be correct, as I had plastic bottles with sports drink powder in my hand baggage. The X-ray apparatus highlights organic substances in the baggage, such as sports drink power and explosives. We flew from Skavsta to Rimini and rented a car there, as we had our partners – Urban and Clare – with us and they were going to provide as much support as they could along the course. (The most frequently asked question I get after running an ultra abroad is whether I ran to and from the race from Sweden. “Ha ha, not heard that before,” is my usual response). Having a car also gave us the opportunity to visit San Marino on the day before the race. We took advantage of the offer of the race entry fee and three hotel nights for an agreeable €140. That weekend the hotel was only occupied by race participants; lots of Italians and a bunch of French, some of whom I recognised. The main attraction is actually a race featuring 14,000 cyclists who cycle the same route as the footrace. Those of us who intended to race on foot only numbered 113 on the start line in Cesenatico, which is a coastal resort on the Adriatic. The race started at 12 noon on Saturday and for the first 21 km we followed a “hare” who ran slightly faster than 6 min/km; the race organisers probably wanted to keep the field together until we had left the area with the most traffic. It was pretty hot, 30°C and bright sunshine, so everyone took the chance to wet their caps when they could. Officially, there were 18 water stations, but there turned out to be more with probably no more than 8 km between them. I had also prepared some drop bags with clothes, a head torch, food, etc., that I was able to send out to selected stations. Nove means nine and colli means hill. Well, not hills in the Swedish sense, but it would be an exaggeration to call them mountains, though not much of one. If you look at the course profile you can see nine peaks. There was a sign at the foot. We took advantage of the offer of the race entry fee and three hotel nights for an agreeable €140. That weekend the hotel was only occupied by race participants; lots of Italians and a bunch of French, some of whom I recognised. The main attraction is actually a race featuring 14,000 cyclists who cycle the same route as the footrace. Those of us who

Michael Andersson, 38 Lives: 10 km outside Västerås, Sweden. Family: Partner och her 14 year old son. How many kilometers a week? 50-150km. Favourite place to run? In the zone. Favourite session? Those that get done. Favourite piece of gear? Racing flats. Idol? Ulf Henriksson, he was responsible for my batallion during one of my tours to Bosnia in1993. Now he works on the swedish t.v. program ”Grannfejden” as a mediator. He doesn’t have anything to do with running, but it’s more his approach to life and basic morals.

” I only see my support car a couple of times on the Saturday as they are focusing on Kerstin.” intended to race on foot only numbered 113 on the start line in Cesenatico, which is a coastal resort on the Adriatic. The race started at 12 noon on Saturday and for the first 21 km we followed a “hare” who ran slightly faster than 6 min/km; the race organisers probably wanted to keep the field together until we had left the area with the most traffic. It was pretty hot, 30°C and bright sunshine, so everyone took the chance to wet their caps when they could. Officially, there were 18 water stations, but there turned out to be more with probably no more than 8 km between them. I had also prepared some drop bags with clothes, a head torch, food, etc., that I was able to send out to selected stations. Nove means nine and colli means hill. Well, not hills in the Swedish sense, but it would be an exaggeration to call them mountains, though not much of one. If you look at the course profile you can see nine peaks. There was a sign at the foot of each climb that stated the length of the climb, average gradient in %, max gradient in % and the name of the hill. At its steepest, the course reaches 18%, which is tough! As soon as I feel that it’s too steep I start to walk to save my energy. The longest climb is 9 km, if I remember right. I had imagined that the highest points would be in mountain passes because it’s a road race, but in Italy the roads go all the way up to the top, preferably up to a village at the top too. The afternoon heat made it difficult to maintain my fluid balance and it was heavy going after 40-50 km. “No problem,” I tell myself, when evening comes I’ll have time to drink enough. My prediction was that the race wouldn’t really get serious until after 120-130 km and that up until then the course was actually just something that had to be done. I think that I’m among the top ten after 50-60 km and don’t let myself get stressed if someone passes me; it’s pretty much during the night that the race will be decided. If you can keep your speed up then, you’ll be in a good position when dawn comes. I’m being overtaken by another runner’s support car every 10-20 minutes, so I know there’s someone on my heels. It seems to be a deliberate tactic where the support drive past me, park and then wait for their runner to report on whether he was catching up or not; then the car would drive past me again. I make sure to keep track of how long it takes before the support car catches me up, so I can get an impression of whether the runner is closing in or not. I only see my support car a couple of times on the Saturday as they are focusing on Kerstin. I’ve planned to be self-reliant using the race water stations, because we couldn’t predict how much help I could get from Urban and Clare. At Barbotto, after 84 km, I pick up my head torch and eat a plate of pasta as I walk out of the water station. Half an hour later it’s dark and fireflies are blinking along the edge of the road, it’s almost magic. It takes me a while to understand what it is, for a while I think I’m imagining the hundreds of small flashing dots. Because I didn’t have a great deal of choice about where I could send my drop bags, I had a jacket waiting for me at Ponte Uso (101 km). If I choose not to take it, I won’t have the chance to put on an extra layer at any point during the night. I choose to take the jacket, which is a hi-vis one; it feels like the right decision because there is traffic on the road, even if it’s not busy. I have two half-litre bottles that I fill with different drinks at the water stations. A specially constructed hose with a nozzle Nordic Ultra #1 2011


The profile map for the race. fits into one bottle and a one-way valve from a bike tyre in the lid means that I have almost everything I need for a refreshing drink. In a third bottle, I have sports drink powder that contains the electrolytes needed when you sweat a lot and for a long time. My drinks belt also has enough room for a little solid food in a pocket. I want to avoid staying at the water stations longer than necessary – drinks in the bottles, something edible in the pocket and something edible in my mouth and then off. I’m often encouraged to sit in a chair and take a rest, but I always refuse. At Perticara (116 km), pasta is served again and I quickly leave the water station with a plate in my hand and well-filled drinks bottles. Now I can hear applause when the next runner comes in and I stay on the unlit part of the road so as not to give the runner behind me any visual contact. I realise that the runner will stay a few minutes at the water station. A hundred metres later I’m still stuffing myself with pasta when I feel my stomach start to turn over. I put the plate on a stone wall and then bend over and throw up everything in my stomach four times over. When I’m done, I pick up my plate and carry on walking and washing down the rest of the pasta with sports drink. This was when the race got serious! The route meant that we returned to Ponte Uso after 158 km, which is at dawn for me. My anonymous follower has been just behind me all night, and is still there. It has indeed paid off for me to keep a relatively high speed through the night and I’m now in third place, moving up one place at a time. In this context a relatively high speed isn’t so relevant in minutes per kilometre, as it includes 16 hours’ running, hills that last more than 5 km and slopes of 12-18% at their worst, less on average. Calculating the min/km you can maintain is as irrelevant as comparing the speeds of a downhiller and a cross-country skier just because they both use skis. Far too many people who’ve never run such a race quickly work out the min/km and compare it to their 10 km PB. I leave the jacket and head torch at the water station in my bag, marked with my number. It’s a bit chilly, as the sun hasn’t risen yet, but I’m not worried about being cold when the sun does come up. Small groups of cyclists have passed me throughout the night. Perhaps they didn’t get into the cycle race that started 18 hours after we runners, I guessed. During the morning I also start to meet larger number of cyclists who are out to watch the race. I have to make sure that the cyclists have seen me, especially in sharp turns. The runners have to keep too the left, particularly in the morning when cyclists from the race will be speeding through on the right. It’s far too early and I’m far enough up in the field not to have to worry about cyclists from the race, but the non-racing cyclists coming in the other direction are another matter. At one point a spectator tells me that I’m only five minutes down on second place. This, combined with the fact that number four seems to be catching up, makes me pick up speed. It seems as if I pull away from my follower in the downhills as I run fairly well in them, but it’s hard work. I’m willing to pay the price though. When I have about 20 km left my support car comes to meet me; I haven’t seen them since about 10 pm the previous


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

evening. For first time I get a report that the runner in second place is too far in front for me to catch up and Urban, who’s driving, says that the distance back to fourth is about 3.5 km. Unfortunately Kerstin is in the car as well, which means she’s no longer in the race. The heat is starting to return and now I’m starting to feel that I’ve pushed the pace for a couple of hours to get rid of the threat from behind. I alternate running with walking, even though it’s flat and I’m a bit wobbly when I walk. There’s no doubt now that I’m going to finish, but I’m a little worried about losing a place if number four picks up speed. At this point I feel generally lousy and start to think about other things I can keep myself busy with rather than running. Bridge seems to be a gentile game of cards compared to how I feel right now, or recreational boules perhaps. My next race on the calendar is Spartathlon in the autumn, and I’m seriously thinking about cancelling – but first I’ll bloody well finish this race! Of course, I know I won’t give up running, even if it feels like a good idea right them. Those of you who have run longer races will recognise “the voices in your head” that start whispering when your body is at its lowest point, when there’s no will to continue and the only thing that keeps you going is the “soul of running”, your love of the sport. Perhaps this is the whole point of ultrarunning, reaching other dimensions inside yourself as you would never do if you didn’t move beyond your physical lim-

Micke and Kerstin in the starting area.

” The fact that number four seems to be catching up, makes me pick up speed.” its and the conscious will, to give yourself up to a subconscious emotional control. The only solid food I can get down me without retching is strawberries. These and various sugary drinks keep me going towards the finish. They are the best strawberries I’ve ever eaten, completely different to the ones sold outside the shops at home that just taste of water. Clare jogs alongside me for the last hour or so before the finish. With a couple of kilometres to go, the fastest cyclists who have chosen the shorter (130 km) race come swishing past us towards the finish (which we share) in large groups. When the finish line is visible there are thousands of people applauding and taking pictures when I run past, which is quite an experience. The announcer lets the cyclist cross the line as best they can and focuses on the somewhat tired Swede who runs stylishly across the line. “Mikael Andersson, Svedese!” he shouts.

My time is 22 hours and 15 minutes, a third place. The winner of the race is an Italian with an impressive list of achievements, including: bronze at the 24-hour World Championships (263 km) and a first place in Spartathlon in 2010. The course record (18 hours and 8 minutes) that the Frenchman ran in 2005 just survives. This year 50 runners make it all the way to the finish line, but everyone gets a place on the results list, the higher up the further they managed. Straight after finishing I get a massage in a tent that’s edged with cyclists who’ve been out for 130 km and who are walking a bit stiffly. When I park myself on a bench my hip flexors cramp up and I writhe in pain and try to stretch them out. Some of the cyclists suddenly look like they’re in a little less pain when they see my battle just to lie down. In the hours after the race I have cramps here and there and feel physically rough, but my mood is great. In the evening I manage to get a whole pizza down me. We are kept company by a Finn who has problems staying awake over dinner due to exhaustion. A little later there is a prizegiving at the hotel. The following day we drive back along the course and I hardly recognise anything. We want to see San Leo, a castle that is lit up at night and is on top of a 100 m high cliff. I saw it while I was running. By chance, we discover that there is a little village up on the cliff behind the castle, and it’s well worth a visit if you’re in the area to test yourself by racing Nove Colli, by which I mean the footrace, of course. // Nordic Ultra #1 2011


" In my head it sounded completely reasonable. Run solo through Sweden for six weeks." TEXT AND PHOTO:

Andrew Tutt-Wixner

’60km a day you say? And how many weeks?’ ’Erm, six’, I say, sounding as confident as I can. ’Can you really do that?’ ’Of course. It’s not that much really. I’ll have 12 hours of sunlight a day to do it in, no problems.’, I answer, unknowing that I would later eat those words.


In my head it sounded completely reasonable. Run solo through Sweden for six weeks. 60 kilometers a day with minimal rest days. It was going to be awesome. Six weeks of nothing but running, eating, sleeping and sight seeing. I was fed up with the 9 to 5 I was living and I was looking forward to sinking my teeth into this project. Since I moved here 4 years ago from Australia i’ve been interested in Sweden, wanting to see everything. My friends, family and work mates thought I was nuts. After the first five or so people I avoided telling others my plans, people tend to hear through the grape vine anyway. Now continental running isn’t cheap. I didn’t want to blow all of my savings on this trip so I set out on a sponsor hunt. I started a homepage and started emailing and ringing all of the businesses I could think of that might be interested. I did this for weeks without bringing in a cent. A month or so into the project my wife mentioned that her boss might be interested in sponsoring me, but i’d have to ask him myself. I was ecstatic over the offer but it opened up a personal dilemma. I’ve met Sofias boss several times, enough to get to know him. It’s one thing asking marketing managers for money but did I really want to ask friends and acquaintances for money? I decided that theres most likely a good marketing opportunity in it for him so it’s probably a win win situation.

tion through ’Adopt Andrew’. The places where I hadn’t found someone to stay with was quite easily fixed. I or my ’agent’ Lina contacted the local hotels. It was hardly ever a problem to stay a night for free. Swedish people are generous. I organized two more partners shortly before the start date. X-kross sport glasses and Kooperation Utan Gränser, an organization that works with mini loans and education to poor countries. Everything was now fixed, I just had to run the thing.

I came away from the meeting a little richer and a little wiser. As well as a generous sponsorship he’d also given me some great ideas to save money. If I could get help from the general public in form of a couch to crash on and possibly dinner it’d keep my costs down to a minimum. I was skeptical in the beginning, reasoning that it would take too much energy to be social after a long day on the road. It took a few weeks until I came around and starting seeing the advantages, seeing the public as a form of support and a way to spice up the trip instead of being a burden. I started marketing my homepage, emphasizing that I wanted support from the public. Offers for accommodation rolled in steadily for 3 or 4 weeks. I was moved, there were people that thought that I was sane enough to have in their home for the night. I had organized many nights accommoda-

8am monday morning I walked out of Malmö train station with my gaudy red trucker cap, running tights, rain jacket and backpack. I must have been an odd sight. People were looking at me strangely and not because they’d seen my homepage. This would repeat itself through my trip. My clothes were functional but I did look kinda strange. I arrived in Smygehuk an hour or so later. Quite the anticlimax. I walked to the sign that indicated the most southern point in Sweden. No-one was there, not strange really, I didn’t ask anyone to come. What was I supposed to do? I recorded a video and put it up on my blog and then got down to business. My body stirred with adrenaline for five minutes then faded away until the feeling of normality returned. I tried to get settled. Clunk, clunk, clunk, stop - adjust my bag - clunk, clunk, stop - tie my shoe, clunk, clunk - turn on the radio. It took an

Nordic Ultra #1 2011

Four days before I left I bought a train ticket to Malmö. The morning after I got an answer to an email i had written two days previously to Malmö Airlines. They decided that they could sponsor me with a flight to Malmö. Too bad the train ticket was non-refundable. It was nice for the offer anyway. Two days before I left i was a nervous wreck. The realization of what i was about to undertake hit me like a sledgehammer. The butterflies in the stomach grew bigger and bigger for ever hour that passed. Would I be able to get on that train? As someone that suffers from anxiety on a daily basis I wasn’t sure. My wife Sofia drove me to Stockholm train station. I spent the 15 minute trip reassuring her. I said goodbye and walked into the train station not looking back.

Day one:

eternity to get settled. My backpack was driving me nuts! Everything was rattling around and the adjustment straps kept slipping. The rattles i could fix but I struggled to fix the straps (I never did!). I ran along the south coast of Sweden towards Ystad with the wind behind me, marveling at sand dunes, farms by the sea and wind-stunted pine trees. I stopped whenever something took my interest. My legs felt fresh but I lacked flow. I was doing my best to keep my spirits up but I was struggling already. I couldn’t understand. I run 30km with a backpack on regularly, no problems. Why was it so damn hard now? I put it down to nerves and got on with it. I made it to Ystad after a few hours. I didn’t have time to see the city centre, I had to keep running to make it to Tomelilla before dark. Which I did, with time to spare. Tomelilla is a nice town in the Österlen region of Skåne. I had organized to stay at the hotel in the centre of town, I found it quickly, checked in and crashed out on the bed for ten minutes. I went to the mirror to check my back which had been painful during the latter half of the run. Greeting me on my shoulder blades were two red dots, in perfect symmetry. The cheese grater pattern on the back of my bag coupled with the constant swaying to and fro created an impressive blister duo. If it had have been on someone else’s back I would have been impressed.

Day two:

After raiding the breakfast buffé I was off. It was perfect running weather, it was cool and the air tasted fresh. After some morning tea I got a phone call from the radio station in Kristianstad. ’Can you be here at 5pm?’ asked the producer. ’Mmmmm, yeah maybe’ I hesitated. I had 5 hours to run a marathon. Normally it wouldn’t have been a problem. But this time I was running with everything on my back, 50km on my legs from yesterday and a couple of thousand left to run. I picked up the pace immediately, after 500m i heard my compass land on the road. No! I’d left my pocket open! My credit card, my cash and my drivers license were all gone. I ran back, first I found my drivers license in the middle of the road, then my credit card on the other side of the road. I never found the money. It was a windy day, it was never going to turn up. About 30km shy of Kristianstad it started raining pretty hard. I felt that I should be hating being rained on but I didn’t really care. I had a good rain jacket and hey, it made it a little interesting. I had counted on finding food in the villages along the way but I hadn’t found any. They were all small farming towns and the people obviously bought their food elsewhere. I had a whole heap of chocolate and lollies but I hadn’t eaten anything in the way of real food since morning tea. I didn’t really have time to go too far out of my way to find food. I was hoping that the pizza shop would be open but it was only a small supermarket. I bought some nuts and a couple of Risifrutti instead. It felt great to get some better calories into my body but I was still really hanging out for dinner! I made it to the radio station with 15 minutes to spare. I must have looked like a drowned rat when I walked in. I’d been running in the rain for the last 3.5 hours and was understandably very tired. I hung out of their sofa waiting for my turn to talk. A bubbly girl from Skåne was on the mic, I envied her energy. We did the usual, why, what, how then I was out of there. When I came out the door back into to the wind and rain I was hit by the cold and a sudden lack of energy. I started shaking and for a moment I could do up my rain jacket.

A beautiful lake just south of Växjö.

Nordic Ultra #1 2011


Thomas, the father of the family that was going to ’adopt’ me that night ringed then and planned to meet up with me in 5 minutes. All that was left to do was to run the few kilometers to their house. We were met by a sport photographer from Kristianstadsbladet who took a few snaps. It took all of 1 minute. I was tired but I got a kick out of running with company. Thomas did a good job of keeping conversation going and was a great host that night. It was an honor being a guest in their home.

Swedish weather isn’t always ideal for running.

Day three:

While eating a hearty breakfast we admired our photo in the newspaper. Thomas knew a good road north, an old railway line which was now a bike path. After 200m my legs cramped up, after stretching them out it felt a bit better, it took a few kilometers until they felt completely good. It was great to have a pacer and someone to share the experience with, even if it was only for a little while. We talked about everything under the sun, running, books and life in general. Thomas said at some point ’you’re a gambler Andrew’’. The more I think about it the more right he is. I started this run not knowing if I could made it, I hadn’t fully planned out everything. I did it my way, hopping in head first. We made good progress. When Thomas left I only had 30km left to Lönsboda. That meant that I could take it easy, I had the best part of a day to make it to Lönsboda. I took frequent breaks to take photos to eat and take it a bit easy. On the way in to Lönsboda I found the old road that went through the area. It was gravel, undulating and winding. It was great for my legs to get off the tarmac and really enjoyable mentally to run on a historic road. I bought a calorie rich dinner of bacon and eggs and went back to the Lönsboda Hostel for some t.v. and an early night.

Day four:

I woke up feeling pretty stiffer than the day before. I checked the side of my shins for sensitivity but they were fine. I figured that i’d loosen up after a few kilometers. I did, but it was still hard going. I had 75km to run on a body that didn’t feel great. The distances had began to creep up on me. I had planned to run 60km a day on average, which for an ultra runner is reasonable. But 250km for the first four days of a six week adventure was admittedly pretty ridiculous. The further into this day I got the worse I felt. After about 30km things started to go seriously wrong. My shins started burning and my right foot started to hurt. Running was starting to get painful. I kept running, though slightly limping. I didn’t have a choice really. I was in the middle of nowhere, somewhere near the border between Skåne and Småland. Mentally and physically I was totally messed up. Ten kilometers later I was reduced to walking, with the odd 200 meters of running every now and then, trying to get going again. Had I been in better shape I would have appreciated the scenery. Great gravel roads, farmland and historic details everywhere. At this point running was excruciating, walking, slightly less so. I got some supportive phone calls which got my mood up a bit. With 15kms to go I was spat out on to the main highway to Växjö. The shoulder was small, the intreats factor, almost non existent. I didn’t have a choice though. The only other option was 15km longer and frankly I wasn’t up for taking one more step than I had to. After walking a couple of kilometers on the shoulder I decided to start running. If I didn’t I was going to get to Växjö when it was dark. After a while my foot went numb and the pain was bearable. I knew that I was still i serious trouble but I was probably going to make it to Växjö…unless the police picked me up for running on a major road. I came into town via the national park south of the centre. It was beautiful, great forest and a gorgeous lake only a few kilo-


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

meters from town. I was staying at the ’Elit Statshotell’ right in the middle of town, they had kindly agreed to put my up a night. I quickly spotted the grand building and walked in, feeling more than a little little self conscious. This was a business hotel, and there were lots of well dressed pharmaceutical reps there for a conference. I came in limping wearing shorts, a short with the arms cut off and a trucker cap… I changed into some less dirty clothes, walked 15 meters across the road and demolished a ’viking’ pizza. When I got back to my room and took of my shoes I saw the damage. My right foot saw swollen to the point that all of the contours around my ankle disappeared. I downed some Voltaren and watched the hockey finals from my bed. Lina had organised me a sport massage in the morning, all of my hopes of continuing my adventure were pinned on Micke the masseuse.

Day five:

I had a radio interview with SR Kronoberg at 8am so I got to sleep a little more than the previous mornings. I waddled down to an inspiring breakfast buffé. It had everything a weary runner could ask for; pancakes, hot breakfast, cakes, good cereal. I didn’t exactly fit in with the all the business people sitting there but I was in my element. I wasn’t looking forward to this interview. I was hurting big time, but i’d committed to the interview and didn’t want to back out. I felt like a fraud, I went there to talk up my adventure but now I wasn’t sure that i’d even make it out of Småland now. I was quick to point out to the radio presenter that I was injured and

A long windy road on the border between Skåne and Småland.

” I knew that I was still in serious trouble but I was probably going to make it to Växjö.” that it wasn’t certain that i could continue past Växjö, it didn’t seem to matter. He was quick to point out that it was the most popular morning radio program in the region. Shit… At 10am I had the appointment with the Micke. That meant a bit of waiting around but Växjö is a great town. I’d pretty much decided to make it a rest day away. Micke at ’Aktiv Hälsa’ was great, brutal but great. My legs were really tight but he managed to loosen things up. I’d sat through hours of tattoo sessions and Ii’d say that getting a deep massage is on par, pain wise with getting tattooed. He spent lots of time massaging my feet, trying to get the blood flowing. I’m sure that it helped the healing in the long term but the damage was already done. Before I left we applied a heat gel. He warned me that it would burn like hell but it would help me. He wasn’t lying… Leaving the massage place I was 110% sure that I was taking rest day. It’s 60km to Korsberga, there’s no way I would make it in the condition I was in. I talked to Elit Hotel Växjö and they agreed to have me there another night. People in Småland have

a reputation for being cheap, this is according to my experiences completely unfounded. Smålanders are among the most generous people I have met.

Day six:

After a days rest I was mentally fresh and ready to run. I packed my things and set off north towards Korsberga. I walked 500m until I got out of the town centre and then broke into a jog… I wasn’t happening. With every step, pain shot up through my foot, it had swollen pup considerably. There was no way I could make it like this. Yeah, I could have made it 60km to Korsberga in agony but what about the remaining 2000km. I rang my sister-in-law who’s a physiotherapist, waking her up. I asked her for advice. She told me what I already knew, it would be stupid to continue in pain. I walked to the train station and sat there for half an hour. I didn’t want to give up but I knew I had to, at least the dream of running in one go. The strange thing was that I didn’t really feel any emotion. It just was ... Now two months after I have mixed feelings about the adventure. Running through Sweden is still a dream. I want to finish the trip, but the way I planned on doing it, for me, right now is impossible. I haven’t been running long enough to have strong enough ligaments for a trip of this calibre. Psychologically it wasn’t fun, it was supposed to be fun or at least mostly fun. My plan now is to run small sections at a time, in a few years I might be done … no pressure this time.// Nordic Ultra #1 2011



Does your favourite area deserve a mention? Mail to:

Northern Dalarna – A running Mecca? Culture, great athletes and a hell of a lot of hills. Could northern Dalarna be Swedens new running hotspot? TEXT AND PHOTOS: Andrew Tutt-Wixner


n a swedish running website a question was raised. Where is the best place to go for a running holiday in Sweden? A good percentage of the respondants answered Mora. I have lived and been holidaying there for years and I have to agree with them. There’s something about northern Dalarna (Dalecarlia) that creates athletes. Those of you that understand swedish will know that Dalarna means - The Valleys. You would be hard pressed to find a flat training run up here. The terrain is charatarised by rolling hills, steep hills and swamp. Most terrain is heavily forested. There are seemingly endless marked trails to run on. Most are well maintained, well marked and have bridges over wet areas. There are well mannered, even trails as well as root and rock filled beasts that you’d swear bealzebub himself cooked up. When you run out of these then you can begin churning up the quiet country roads that radiate out from the populated areas. These trails have fostered champions of international calibre such as; H ‘Mora Nisse’ Karlsson (Nordic ski). H Anna Haag (Nordic ski). H Magnus ‘Orsa’ Jernemyr (handball). H Sixten Jernberg (Nordic ski). And of course star ultramarathoner: H Jonas Buud. The regions premier event is the world famous ski race Vasaloppet. Between the years 2002 - 2006 as well as 2010 there was an ultramarathon race along the classic 90km between Sälen and Mora in conjunction with the relay race Vasastaffeten. The 2010 race was a trial race for the ultra distance. The 90km solo race will not be held in 2011. Mora is a tourist hotspot and offers good accomodation options and relatively many restaurants and services for such a small town. Other areas such as Orsa and Våmhus would also work well as a base. Orsa Grönklitt is a ski resort 15km north of Orsa which offers trails, good accomodation, food and a great wildlife park. 100km north-west of the Siljan region is much more mountainous. The main towns here are Sälen and Idre. It’s a good idea to stay at one of the ski resorts such as Idre Fjäll. From there you can run up the peak Städjan as well as some other great trails and peaks in the high country. One of the great things about the region are the many drink-


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

Trail tips H Gösta Larsson runda – 11km. Undulating and technical. H Bjärnerundan – 31km. Steep trail up to Rostberg. H Vasaloppet trail – 90km from Sälen to Mora. Cheap hut accomodation.

H Bananna – 12,4km. A Mora classic up to Hökberg. Marked by bananas!

H Fryksås to Näsberg – 7,5km technical trail. Great views! H Östnor – Many trails start here. Interesting terrain. H Städjan – A steep rocky climb. Awesome scenery and views at the top.

able water sources. So you can go on a long run and refill your water bottle as you go. Stream water here is among the best i’ve drunk. There are currently no running ultramarathons on offer in Dalarna but there are some other great races that are worth a look.

H Mora Långa – 6 august – 18km. H Tällberg Halfmarathon – 6 august – 21km. H Orsakajt’n – 24 juni – 15 or 25km. H Vasastafetten – 20 august – 90km relay.//

Fyriberg, a small villiage north of V책mhus.

Great views looking south to Lake Orsa.

Nordic Ultra #1 2011


Cheers! Toasting everyone welcome on the first night.

Sure beats a pasta party!

Running talk over a banana or two.

Now that’s accomodation fit for a runner.


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

– Hey mate! – Hello. – I have a question for you. – Ok. Shoot. – What would you rather do: Go for a long run together, or go fine dining at some of the best restaurants in Skåne? – Hmmm? Difficult question. Really hard to choose. But I think I’d have to say... Both! TEXT AND PHOTOS: Thomas


Gourmet Running Having your cake and eating it too


t all started with a post on Facebook during the Christmas break in the middle of the cold, snowy winter. Miss Ultra herself, Fredrika Gullfot, posted a question asking whether anyone would be interested in an ultra event combined with good food and nice hotel stays, or actually ”Gästgifvargård” stays. I read the post and made a decision in about five micro seconds. ”YES! This is something I just have to be part of!” Month after month of cold and snowy weather pass by and for every day it gets closer and closer to spring and to my Ultra debut. People I meet, which have a proven interest for running, are told about the adventure and they all say the same the thing: ”Wow, that sounds really interesting!”. Oh, yes. Indeed it does. And then, finally, after a long, long wait, the D-day (or U-day) is here. The day when my running will take yet another step. The day when I will go from being a marathon runner to becoming an ultra runner. Together with one of the few ”Gourmet Running” participants I have met before, Maria, I take the train to Malmö and then go by bus all the way down to Skanör where the first out of three luxury meals will be served and where we will also spend the first night during this ultra weekend. When we enter the ”Gästgifvaregård” we can immediately identify some of the others. Even if they are not dressed in their running gear they are pretty easy to spot. Ultra runners have some sort of aura that give them away. We meet and greet and order beer together at the bar. Not exactly what I had expected to be honest, but I am happy to see that it isn’t just me that consider beer as being one of God’s gifts to humanity. The event hostess, ”Ultra-mom” Fredrika, turns up and welcomes us all to this first edition of the Scanian Gourmet Ultra Running Experience. I look around and believe I can see an excited anticipation in most of the eyes I meet. We are waiting and waiting for the food to arrive and just as the hunger reaches almost unbearable levels, the first dish out of four is finally served. And boy, are we in for a ”fine dining” treat. The delicate salmon and the lovely little peas make an absolutely stunning painting on the plate. But, the question we are all asking ourselves is: Is this really food for Ultrarunners? I wouldn’t know, since this is my first Ultra event, but the others seem to think the portions are a bit tiny. And speaking of the others... They all seem to have run almost every Ultra race in the world. I hear stories from Swiss Alpine, from TEC 100 miles, Great Western 100 miles, 24 hour races, 48 hour races and many other great Ultra events! Oh my God, what have I let myself into? Will I, a mere marathon runner, really be able to keep up with these guys in this weekend’s long runs? Or

will they simply dash off and leave me in the dust... Oh well, that is for tomorrow to find out. Tonight we are all taking it pretty easy and slow. Especially the kitchen staff. The waiting time between the different dishes is, in my mind, slightly exaggerated. After a decent marathon finish time of approximately four hours, dinner is completed and we go upstairs to our rooms to try to get some sleep before the long run towards the next ”Gästgifveri” in Skivarp will commence. I have the pleasure to share a room with a real character, a genuine Stockholm ”dude” with a lovely attitude towards both running and life in general. The only minor ”problem” is that both me and my new mate Leif are ”bed lefties” and the double bed has only got one left side. Oh well, my room mate gets the right (i.e. left) side tonight, and the deal is that we’ll switch when we get to ”Skivarp”.

” I hear stories from Swiss Alpine, from TEC 100 miles, Great Western 100 miles, 24 hour races, 48 hour races and many other great Ultra events.” After having quaffed a glass of re-hydration-drink (”Resorb”) and having had a good go at the teeth with the tooth brush I crash in (the wrong (right) side of) the bed. As the head lands on the pillow I fall asleep and start dreaming of easy, almost weightless, running through the landscapes of Skåne... The alarm goes off in the middle of another lovely running dream. I get up immediately and stumble into the shower. Yes, I am that kind of person who needs a shower in the morning. Even if I am about to soak myself in sweat an hour later. The shower really wakes me up and without it it can be many hours until I feel ”alive”. Anyway, both Leif and I are getting hungry and we rush down the stairs to dig into the breakfast buffet. But that will have to wait, it seems, since when we arrive downstairs we run into a number of other starving Ultra runners standing outside of a closed door. After a short, but very hungry wait, we send in Leif to get things going in the kitchen. As he returns, with a big smile on his face, the doors open and we are presented to a breakfast buffet you might expect to find in heaven. Absolutely fantastic! We are all stuffing our faces with the delicacies and the spirit as well Nordic Ultra #1 2011


” The atmosphere is filled with positive vibes and the laughters are many and absolutely genuine.” as the anticipation is high among all sixteen Ultra guests in the breakfast dining room. The ”getting all the gear in order” period that follows the lovely breakfast is the last hurdle to overcome before we can actually get going. Normally, I tend to have some issues with logistics, irrespective of context. And running is unfortunately not an exception. What should go in which rucksack (one to carry and one to be transported by car to Skivarp)? What body parts should be considered when it comes to vaseline preparation? How much food and drinks should I bring? What should I wear? Long or short tights? Hat or no hat? Shades or no shades? Being an Ultra rookie is not easy... Fifteen minutes later all decisions have been made and we are standing outside of ”Skanör Gästgifvaregård” all excited and, in my case, with quite bouncy legs. I just want to get going. This is what I have been waiting for since Christmas. A few group photos are taken, out of which at least one is sent to the local newspaper to tell the rest of the south Scania residents, and via internet the rest of the world, what we are up to. Thanks Cecilia. Great initiative! Two people in the group have had some doubts whether they will be able to run as slowly as was discussed the night before. Five-Finger-Maria and her new friend Stefan are not built to run in a 6:30 min/km (~10:30 min/mile) pace and decide to stick together and run in their own, about a minute a kilometer faster, pace. Before we know it they are out of sight. See you tonight guys! Have fun! I end up at the back of the group, next to Carina. A woman I have heard of, read about, and seen pictures of, but never met IRL. Immediately we start chatting away, just like two good old friends that haven’t seen each other for years. We seem to have an almost endless list of things to talk about and kilometer after kilometer are just passing by. We lose touch with the rest of the group in our somewhat slower pace. Carina’s legs are a bit worn down from running a 50 mile Ultra some weeks ago and from running the streets and in the mountains in and around lovely Bergamo, Italy last weekend. I don’t mind running slowly. If there’s something I am good at, it is definitely cozy Long Slow Distance running! The running takes us to absolutely lovely spots on our way to Trelleborg, which will be the first stop and the place to fill up on energy. The beautiful nature that we are passing through is like a fabulous painting including white beaches, green reed, gravel roads framed by the very typical willow trees and wonderfully picturesque traditional houses. Outside one of those houses we meet a local who’s very keen to know what we are up to and where we are heading. Is it perhaps some sort of crazy competition? Not at all... When he understands we are on our way to Skivarp about 30 miles further east along the coast, he immediately stops his questioning and sends us off with the message that we’d better get going then if we want to make before darkness... and all that using the wonderful, but sometimes pretty hard to understand, Southern Skåne accent. How very exotic! Trelleborg is approaching and both I and Carina are getting hungry. When we enter what we believe is the center of the town, Carina pulls out her phone to start organizing a joint meal together with the rest. When she finally gets hold of Cecilia, it becomes apparent that Carina and I are first to get to Trelleborg. The others had taken a slightly different route and got behind us. But now they have arrived and we can all meet up for lunch at a


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

super fancy restaurant in the town center. A creme de la creme establishment starting with a capital ’M’. The landscape in which we are running is very beautiful, extremely windy and keeps repeating itself over and over again. It consists of rather narrow tarmac roads cutting through giant open fields leading up to small villages built around white churches with green (oxidized copper) roofs. In one of those villages, we are lucky to finally find a convenient store. Some of the group members get really excited since this could mean two things; 1. A toilet to borrow 2. A selection of food (i.e. energy) to buy and top up the bodily systems with. However, the store had just closed for the day (and the whole weekend for that matter) when we arrive. The world seems to crumble to pieces for at least two of the girls in the team, when all of a sudden a saint appears from across the street. A man, who is painting the fence framing a very nice looking, and seemingly very open house, accepts the ”Can we borrow your restroom for a minute” request without hesitation. No worries. How lovely! And the story gets even better when Liselotte and Therese come back from the house with a bag full of fruit for all us runners! Brilliant! A big thank you to the nice couple in the nice house with the (soon to be) red fence! With the fruit as new fuel, we continue our journey head wind towards our destination. Even though I really enjoy every inch of

Classic Scania scenery.

the whole running bit, and feel absolutely fine, I cannot wait to there are two other distance record breakers I could with whom get to Skivarp where I expect to find something salty to eat and I can share my celebrations; Therese and Maria (in her FiveFinsomething malty and cold to drink. A bowl of peanuts and a pint gers!). Congratulations! of bitter would be really, really nice right now. The group gets split up and I am now running side by side We bring the drinks and the snacks to the garden where a sponwith Therese chatting away about all kinds of stuff; China, taneous Apres-Run party is taking place. I feel really good and journalism, radio, cottages and dried flowers. After a while she am having the time of my life among these wonderful people in starts complaining about stomach pains and we both slow down this nice garden. The atmosphere is filled with positive vibes and and our running turns into walking for a bit. Could it be all the laughters are many and absolutely genuine. I am in a spot the talking? Or is it the free apple that causes the pain in where I want to stay as long as possible, and if it wasn’t her gut? No idea, but she says it feels much better when for the somewhat chilly wind, I think I might have still Read the rest sat on that wooden chair in that Skivarp garden. walking. And that’s the nice thing with non-competiof the story in tive running. There is no pressure, no rush. If you feel A shower later I join the others in the dining room the next issue of to enjoy another fabulous, and compared to last night, like walking for a bit, then walk. If you feel like stopNordic Ultra. much richer and more filling dinner. The good spirit ping to take a picture, then stop. If you are hungry and pass a place where they serve food, go inside for a bite. remains throughout the evening and everybody seems Absolutely lovely! to be enjoying what we are experiencing together. The pain finally goes away and we get into running mode Before it gets too late, I call it a day and sneak up to my again to continue our way towards to goal. The wind is now even room, and the left side of the double bed. My legs told me during stronger than previously during the day and the whistling in dinner that, even though they wouldn’t mind staying for a while my ears starts to get a bit tiring. But finally we see the sign we longer, they thought it would be for the best to get as much rest have all been waiting for and not many minutes later we reach as possible before tomorrow when they plan to go another 57k Skivarps Gästgivaregård. Happy faces and tired legs are finding towards Brösarp and the third Gästgifvaregård. So, thanks a their way into the bar where beers, soda and peanuts are ordered lot and good night! This has for sure been a really bloody good to celebrate a new distance record; 53 kilometers in one day. And day!// Nordic Ultra #1 2011


The only race in Northern Europe, maybe even the world with a naked violinist.

Running TEXT:

Torbjörn Perttu,


Andrew Tutt-Wixner


PEK, Jättelångt

Jättelångt is a race with a festive feeling. The organizers always look happy and have a great sense of humor. This year they introduced a getting-lost-guarantee, that is, they’re sure that you’ll get lost!


hen I signed up to run Jättelångt it was my first ultra, but I didn’t consider it a hasty decision. I had run to work all winter as well as some extra jogging on top of that. Now it didn’t matter that it’s only two kilometers to my job and that I couldn’t be bothered running longer than 10km in training and that Jättelångt is 68 kilometers. I am by nature an incurable optimist, I had full confidence in my physical and mental ability. When I read about ultra running, I noticed that many people felt that physical conditioning was not necessary to cope with ultra running, it’s all in your head. Since I have a lot in my head and I had more than a month left to train for the race I signed up for the race. Even though i’m an optimist I realized that I needed to train a little extra for a 68km run. Luckily I discovered a beautiful trail


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

near where I live with views over forest, a lake and mountains. It suited me perfectly because it is joy and inspiration that fuels my running. During my month of training I managed 20km several times which I was happy with. Two weeks before the race, I was preparing to run a longer session, possibly a marathon. If I couldn’t manage that then I needed at least 35km to rack up half the distance of Jättelångt. If I could complete half the distance in training then I reasoned that I could complete 68km Jättelångt. I tried to practice eating during training sessions, something i’d heard is important to master when running far. I sweat quite a lot when I exercise so the preparations consisted of preparing sandwiches with bacon and extra salty guacamole, small bags of chips and seven water bottles. There is something special about running and eating simulta-

Aid station entertainment.

Here come the boys!

The sun was out in full force, there was very little shade towards the end.

'It's all in your head!' neously. To breathe with each step while trying to chew on chips is an art form. For me it resulted in half of my chips ending up outside my mouth. The sandwiches had a firmer texture making it much easier to gasp ferociously while I chewed them. I then felt pretty sure that I would manage to eat while on the run. It was so good to eat and run that after 20km into my extra long session I had managed to set a new personal record! But when I set out on the second lap my legs protested. I have only run longer than 20km once before in my life, it was 18 years ago when I ran Stockholm Marathon as 18-year-old. It was an adventure in itself. My legs were quite good right up to 35 kilometers, somewhere around Odenplan. But this training session when I was chowing down on bacon sandwiches with verve my legs gave up completely just after 20km. I had to give up. This training failure seriously wounded my self confidence. During each training session after, no matter how insignificant it was, my body said: - You can’t do this. - There’s no way you’ll cope. - Not one more step. - Shouldn’t you rest a bit? I was in desperate need of a plan for the race. I chose the fol-

” I have only run longer than 20km once before in my life.” lowing strategy: Since my legs ran out of juice no matter how slow I ran, I would run at a fairly fast pace from the start and when my legs wore out after 20km I would run through the rest of the race on pure will. As long as it wasn’t too warm to it would probably be fine. On the start line the sun was shining from a clear blue sky. The air stood still. When the start went I put my race plan into action. I found a comfortable pace and after a kilometer I was one of the first five runners. Then I exploited the getting-lost-guarantee for the first time. When I found my way back to the group, I ended up behind a long line of experienced energy-saving ultra-runners on the narrow forest path, there was no opportunity to run past. When I got to a wider piece of track. It was time to eat and drink, and since I decided to walk while eating and drinking, the runners I had just managed to get past were ahead of me again. But Nordic Ultra #1 2011


I didn’t travel 500km to get discouraged by these kind of minor problems. So I found a nice pace, got my second wind only to get lost again. The pattern repeated itself many times. I got stuck behind runners, eventually got past, then got lost.

legs. I still had half the distance remaining and I was overtaken for the first time in the race. I got inspired each time I got overtaken. If he can run then so can I! One experienced ultra runner had conserved his energy to finish the race with a negative split. It didn’t matter that he ran both energetically and conservatively, if could copy it outright then I could run again. So while I ran in the 30C heat with stabby, energetic, energy-saving steps.

One time I ended up on a dock, which completely lacked Roslagsleden markers. I had no idea where I was. I wandered for what felt like forever, until some friendly locals guided me back. I had been away for so long that there were no other runners in I experienced yet another dimension of ultra running: the the vicinity. On another occasion when I had just found my way social. I couldn’t gain a single meter on my new running teacher, back to the trail, it felt like something was wrong. I ran on and but I instead received company from another runner that caught just when I realized what was wrong an elderly up to me. The conversation gave me the strength gentleman with a dog told me that the others had to run and the power to carry out my plan. How run the other way. I almost missed the second could I hit the wall if I just walked? control station, which would have been a disasThe longer into the race I got, the more tired 1.Anna Pernestål 07:05 trous move as they were freshly picked strawberand emotional I became. I ran, sang and cried 1. Sandra Lundqvist 07:05 ries there. They were amazing to munch on on a at the same time on the sunny tarmac in thirty 3. Jenny Josefsson 07:23 hot summer day. I had already run 20 kilometers, degree heat with aching legs, 15 long kilometers plus all the ’bonuses’. from the finish line. 1. Christer Backman 06:44 After the second station, we came out into an With 5km left I felt like I had to give up. It was 2. Mattias Gärdsback 06:50 open landscape, where the sun blazed and the air physically impossible for me to get my legs off stood still. For each step I became more and more 2. Andrew Tutt-Wixner 06:50 the ground. The rest of the race, I was directed tired. But necessity is the mother of all invento walk. I tried desperately to up the pace when tions, and along a channel that seemed to stretch people came from behind, but my legs wouldn’t out into infinity I started to sing. By now it was no longer any obey me. I got an energy kick just outside of Norrtälje, the fastone-two or two-two-paced beat. I ran into such a low speed that est pace i’d managed for a long time. Of course I got lost again, I successfully could sing exactly what I wanted. finally entering the town square from the wrong direction in After the third station I had to go without food and drink. I no 9hours 31minutes. longer kept to my plan. Neil Young, Elliot Smith or U2 could not I layed down on the square in Norrtälje and cried, from exhelp me anymore, I was at the mercy of myself and my worn out haustion, pain and joy. I am crying because it’s over.//



Nordic Ultra #1 2011

Anna Pernestรฅl and Sandra Lundkvist on the winners podium as equal winners.

Jonas Buud Emelie Andersen Andreas Falk Camilla Ringstrรถm Mia Thomsen Anna Grundahl Nordic Ultra #1 2011



Send an email to if you have a question.

FOOTCARE – the dos and don'ts TEXT:

Andrew Tutt-Wixner



Feet are often the weakest link for an ultra runner. They are used and abused for hours on end absorbing more than our body weight thousands upon thousands of times in an ultra. Our skin gets blistered, our toes blackened and our muscles and tendons fatigued and sometimes injured. We interviewed three people on how they keep their feet in top condition. H Foot care - Should ultramarathon

runners consider getting professional foot care? PT: I haven’t seen a need for it, yet. AF: Absolutely, if you dont know how to do it yourself. I have learned to take care of my feet but i sometimes get some proffessional help too. But you must tell the person who takes care of your feets not to take away all of the hard skin, some of it will protect you. O: If you have foot problems then you should seek professional help (doctor). Foot care (filing etc) is a good preventative measure to prevent hard skin causing problems.

H Water filled blisters - pop or leave

alone? P: Definately pop, they hurt much more if they are left alone. It stings at first, but after a few minutes you won’t notice any more pain. A: It depends on how long the race is, if we talk about what to do during a race. In a long race you must pop them to be able to continue running, i use a needle to suck the blister dry and then put sportslick on. After the race it depends on how bad it is, small blisters i dont pop, big blisters i pop. O: If they are small and don’t bother you then leave them. If they are large then


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

carefully make a hole with a sterile needle. The blister should collapse then put on a blister bandage (e.g. Compeed) until it has healed. You should always leave the skin on, it helps prevent infection.

H Blood blisters - pop or leave

alone? P: I am not an expert, but generally I would do the same as above. I have heard that you then might run a risk of infections, but if you treat it with some disinfection agent it might reduce risk. Consult medical expertise to get the correct advice! A: Same as for water filled blisters. O: Same as water filled blisters in my opinion.

H Tips on avoiding blisters in the first

place? P: From 100 km and upwards I find it difficult to avoid, but if you treat them as above, they are not that big a deal. Of course you need to select the shoes that are suited for your feet. Wrong shoes will give you more trouble than necessary. Socks can also contribute, but I can’t say that I have had less blisters with professional running socks than with plain ”tennis socks”. A: Take care of your feet before the race.

Our experts Peter Tubaas (PT): An extremely talented ultrarunner from Norway. He won this years Täby Extreme Challenge. Andreas Falk (AF): Has been pumping out good results for years and is Swedens only full time ultramarathon athlete. Orthopedist (O) from Söder Hospital in Stockholm - Whom shall remain anonymous but has a strong sporting background behind her.

Start with a lot of sportslick. Use socks with two layers, i use Newline two layer sock. O: Take care of your feet. Introduce new shoes a little at a time to get you feet used to them. Preventatively tape areas that can be problematic. Some people use double socks, the inner pair in a thin material such as cool max. I have heard

Only a runner could love those feet!

of people lubricating their feet to avoid friction.

H Foot massage - What are the benefits? P: Never tried it. A: Always good with circulation. In long races it is very good. O: I don’t really know. If it feels good do it!

H Any tips on training up feet? Exer-

cises? P: Not doing anything in particular, except for some toe exercises, to strengthen the muscles in the back of the leg. A: Do your strength training barefoot. O: Depends on what problems you have. There are exercises for arches, ankles etc..

” Always leave the skin on, it helps prevent infection.” H Barefoot running - pro/ against?

P: Neither, anyone should do what they are comfortable with. I haven’t tried barefoot, but are very comfortable with my shoes. A: Not for me but not against. O: No opinion. If you feel as though you feet appreciate it then go for it. Nobody used shoes in the stone age and those mexican running indians only use a sole

(against sharp objects) strapped to their feet with no cushioning. They seem to be really good at running.

H Nails - Tips to avoid losing nails?

P: I keep losing them, so I shouldn’t give any advice. But keeping nails as short as possible and having not to tight shoes will help. A: Don’t run ultras :-) O: Keep them short (but not too short if you tend to get ingrown toenails). Sometimes big toenails tend to be very thick and can create problems. In that case you can file down the thickness so it sits better against the end of your toe. Many people did this to avoid blue nails when I played football.// Nordic Ultra #1 2011



Send an email to if you have a race for the calender.

August 5th Kaustinen 48h/ 24h/ 6h (FIN) 20th Romerike 6 hour + NM Ultra (NOR) 13th The Full Moon Race 50 miles (SWE) 13th Vértex Fjällmarathon 43km (SWE) 26th Skövde Ultra festival (SWE) 20th Kraftloppet 72km (SWE)

September 3rd Transalpine Run (Germany, Switerland and Austria) 3rd Karlstad 6 hour (SWE) 10th Mors Rundt 100 miles (DEN) 10th Seven Valleys Ultramarathon (Poland) 10th European/ World championship 100km (Netherlands) 11th Tor des Géants (Italy) 17th UltraBirken (NOR) 30th Spartathlon (Greece)

October 1st Holaveden Ultra (SWE) 1st Nordmarka Ultra Challenge (NOR) 7th Magredi Mountain Trail (Italy) 8th Sörmland Ultramarathon 50km (SWE) 21st Rodopi Ultra Trail (Greece) 22nd Markusloppet 50km (SWE)* 22nd Ultima Frontera 160 (Spain)

November 6th Undheim 6 hour 11th Druid Ridgeway Ultra (England) 12th KUL Weekend in Halmstad (Swedish Ultra Association) 12th The Great North Walk 100 (Australia) 18th Prembrokeshire Coast Challenge (Wales) 19th Hammarby Alpin Marathon (SWE) 26th Bislett 24 hour (NOR) * Date unconfirmed – could change to 29th of October.


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

Maria Wiberg beach running in Ă–sterlen, Sweden.

Photo: Maria Wiberg

Nordic Ultra #1 2011



Send an email to if you have an update for the list.

The Nordic Hall of Fame

Anna Grundahl charging in this years Täby Extreme Challenge. Anna is one of 2011s stronger female runners.

Photo: Johan Stegfors


H Maria Lundgren – 73 135 (SWE) H Susanna Raitamaki – 73 712 (FIN) H Margrethe Løgavlen – 81 892 (NOR) H Rune Larsson – 90 000 (SWE) H Anssi Raittila – 83 200 (FIN) H Helge Hafsås – 85 490 (NOR)


H Gloria Vinstedt – 7:37:06 (SWE) H Maire Kukkonen 8:35:17 (FIN) H Margrethe Løgavlen 7:43:27 (NOR) H Anni Lønstad 7:53:15 (DEN) H Saebjörg Logadóttir 9:12:42 (ICE) H Jonas Buud 6:41:50 (SWE) H Anssi Raittila 6:56:49 (FIN) H Helge Hafsås 6:50:15 (NOR) H Keneth Munk 6:57:35 (DEN) H Sigurjón Sigurbjörnsson 7:59:01 (ICE)


H Torill Fonn-Hartikainen 123 378 (SWE) H Tuija Kataja 120 821 (FIN) H Margrethe Løgavlen 135 425 (NOR) H Jonas Buud 155 070 (SWE) H Ari Mustala 145 003 (FIN) H Gjermund Sørstad 147 985 (NOR)


Nordic Ultra #1 2011

100 mile

H Emelie Andersen 17:40.25 (SWE) H Sharon Broadwell 25:40:14 (NOR)

H Jonas Buud 12:32:04 (SWE) H Janne Klasila 14:52:19 (FIN) H Peter Tubaas 15:37:03 (NOR)


H Anna Grundahl 221 000 (SWE) H Outi Siimes 213 699 (FIN) H Sharon Broadwell 211 347 (NOR) H Rune Larsson 262 640 (SWE) H Jari Soikkeli 247 944 (FIN) H Jon Harald Berge 255 764 (NOR) H Alex Henriksen 245 577 (DEN)


H Toril Fonn-Hartikainen 300 710 (SWE) H Tuula Ahlholm 302 620 (FIN) H Rune Larsson 373 798 (SWE) H Michael Heerman 382 317 (FIN) H Eiolf Eivindsen 343 650 (NOR)

6 day

H Bertil Järlåker 730 400 (SWE) H Pekka Aalto 812 719 (FIN) H Trond Sjåvik 833 000 (NOR)