Why run an Ultra race? Why do you put yourself through this?
About a year ago, my dad asked me if I would consider traveling to the US to participate in the TransRockies. Following a brief description and a little reflection, I made up my mind. After all, I had trained cross-country running quite regularly in recent years and, with a year to go, it could work out. Now I’m sitting here with just a week to go before I face the toughest challenge of my life so far. There is no doubt that it will be hard work. The question is just how hard it will be. The greatest obstacles will probably be recovery, the altitude and psychological aspects. I have run the distance and I have trained at altitude – but never for six consecutive days. What will recovery be like sleeping in a tent every night? How do you function on day three with ten kilometers to go at altitude, with sores, exhaustion and 30-degree heat and relentless sunshine?
How have you prepared for the race – both mentally and physically?
I have tried to organize my training in the same way as the race itself. Long circuits through hilly terrain for several days in a row while still getting in rest days for building up. Aspects that differ from normal running include the poles. In our rucksacks we carry foldable poles that we run with. We get these out for steep uphill climbs to shift into “four-wheel drive” so I’ve left a few scrapes on the Hammarbybacken hill in Stockholm. We have attended two training camps over the past year. We traveled down to St. Johann in Austria where my dad was born and tried to train under conditions as alike those of the actual race as possible, with five to seven hours in the mountains every day. However, I suffered an injury and had to spend day three in rehab.
What is the objective of the race?
To reach the finish line? Haha. I want to see if I can do this and, if I do, it will be a sort of confirmation that I can manage things like this if I am determined enough. Distances and targets that seemed impossible are now a reality. Two years ago, I never would have thought that ten kilometers could seem like just a “quick jog”.
At the end of the day, I must say that I am also very grateful to be able to do this together with my dad. To be able to embark on adventure like this as father and son is something few have the chance to experience and I consider myself very fortunate.