Becoming an Ultra Runner?

I’m a ‘challenge-me-kinda-guy’. In 2011 year you might have read my blog post on my Enduro adventure on Gotland. (in English via Google Translate here) It was a blast. Frightening but a blast. It was definitely one of my biggest challenge in my life. Then last year passed without any extreme physical adventures, except for some sweet surfing a couple of times to Ireland, France, a couple of sessions in Sweden and a beautiful hike in the Swedish mountains. This year however I’ve decided to take on a new project, this time it involves running…a lot of running.

kebnekaise-classicFjällräven Classic takes place in some of the most beautiful terrain in the world

(The photos by the way comes from my Instagram feed. Feel free to follow me on @ronnestam on Instagram)

Fjällräven Classic is a fantastic hike that takes place in the north of Sweden. Fjällräven is a clothing and apparel brand from Sweden that every year arranges a 110 km hike between Nikkalaukta and Abisko. The hike takes place in the middle of some of Sweden’s most fantastic nature. You walk along the The Kings Trail (Kungsleden), pass Sweden’s highest mountain Kebnekaise and then straight into Sarek, one of Europe’s largest nature reserves. You walk together with another couple of thousands people who obviously think carrying 30 kilos on your back, staying in tents and walking 12 hours a day is the best the world can offer.

On the second day, in the early morning, of the hike I was suddenly passed by a runner, then another one. As we walked towards Abisko runners kept passing us every now and then. A thought started to form in my head – could I run 110 km without sleep or stop? The day when we crossed the finish line I couldn’t stop thinking about those runners. In one way it sounded totally stupid to run 110 km. But in an other way running 110 km sounded like something I’d love to do.

kungsleden-sarekAt least the view will be wonderful! Looking back on Kungsleden at Alesjaure

Friends of mine has been pushing me to run marathons, do the Vasaloppet or participate in an Iron Man competition. Neither has ever felt interesting. Not that isn’t a challenge but I think they’re to predictable. I know for a fact that a Marathon would not be hard to complete, it’s running sub-three hours that would prove a real challenge and that is definitely not my cup of tea (cause it would require years training of course ). I’m more of an endurance person and that’s why I’m very exited about my 2013 challenge.

Month passed…

I’ll do it!

Then in december I suddenly felt ready. I decided that running 110 km through Sweden’s most beautiful nature was exactly what I wanted to do. One of the latest books I’ve been reading was called Born To Run. Maybe that had something do do with it. Minutes after I picked up my mobile, signed up for the Fjällräven Classic and then posted the news to my Facebook Feed “I’m gonna run Fjällräven Classic, you care to join?”. (I like doing things this way – think of something I want to do and then tell people. It’s a no way back strategy :) It took about 2 minutes before likes started to pile up, but more importantly, my friend Stefan Hyttfors answered in the comments “I’m in”. Minutes later me and Stefan hooked up over the phone, we booked flight tickets, rooms and everything else we needed to prepare. I was now to become an Ultra Runner.

tjekta-passetThe terrain in which I’ll be running 110 km with almost 6-7 kilos of packaging

So, that’s it. I’m now to become an Ultra Runner. It’s definitely one of the biggest challenges in my life if not the biggest. It is also the first time in my life that I feel that I’ve taken on a challenge that requires a whole new level of commitment. I’m not at all an ultra runner but more of a 42 year old guy with an average condition. But in order for me to complete this 110 km race I have to rice to the occasion – I have to commit!

It’s now been about a two month since I signed up for the race. I’ve increased every part of my training (feel free to friend me on Runkeeper). I now run further, more often and with my back pack. When running the Fjällräven Classic I have to carry about 6 to 7 kilo of gear. In January so far I’ve passed 100 km which is 10 km short of what I’m supposed to run in one day, or actually 20 hours as that’s sort of my goal. If I follow my training schedule I’ll be running covering at least about 100km a week when it’s about two weeks left to the race.

2013 08 11. That’s when I’ll be standing on the starting line probably with a big smile but very humble about the fact that lies ahead. Running Fjällräven Classic will definitely be one of the toughest challenges of my life if not the toughest. I’m not even sure I’ll make it but I’m sure am looking forward to it!

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  • chribbe aarnio

    Grattis! On one hand I admire you, on the other, I seriously would like to know if you really understand what you are gettin into? I have ran a couple of marathons, and my experience is that things start to get funny after about three hours of constant running. This is with shorts and light tee, not in the wilderness with a small backpack. So start training. Harder! Do your basics now, and then as soon as you can start working on those long runs. I think your goal of a 100 / week should be reached sooner than what you write. But then again, I do not know how fit you are already. Keep on runnin!

  • http://teknograd.wordpress.com fdqps

    Grymt! Lycka till och håll oss uppdaterade.

  • Jerker Nyman

    Stort Johan ! Övertygad om att du kommer att lyckas

  • http://danielkjellsson.com/ Daniel Kjellsson

    Extremely jealous. Will run my second marathon this July (Gold Coast Marathon) but with that in the bag I’ll definitely be aiming for the Fjällräven Classic.

  • http://twitter.com/Outdrr twitter-1097643656

    That sure is a great challange! Maybe you want to share your experiences with us and others on our coming blog network? Talk with us on our Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/outdrr and find out if it’s something for you.

    Good luck with your 110 km challange!

    /Nils

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Tack! I agree in one sense. However I’ve read up on it and most Ultra bloggers recommend starting with the heavy artillery about 16 to 20 weeks before. I’ve read that I should be able to walk it fast in 24 hours and my goal is 20 so hopefully I’ve not overestimated the challenge ;) – But I do believe it’s a great challenge.

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Tack! You bet!

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Tackar! Jag känner mig grymt peppad!

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    I’ll keep you updated and hopefully convince you to join 2014 :D

  • http://www.ronnestam.com/ Johan Ronnestam

    Thank you :) I’ll check it out!

  • Chrille

    Just got this post from mutual twitter-friends. Your name popped up. And Ultra Running. Nice. Our paths have crossed on a couple of occasions. I grew up in Segeltorp and I had a few friends that were friends with you. I remember that our band once recorded a song that would be on some snowboard-video, but I don’t think it ever made it there. :)

    But, it’s nice to hear about the Ultra. I made the same decision about a year ago. And in a couple of months I’ll run the Hornindal Ultra in Norway. Perhaps we can share some ideas.

    The interesting thing is that our past endeavors are pretty similar (although you seem to be more successful). I joined FF in Gothenburg. Moved on to a smaller agency. Worked a lot with branding. Working at a strategic brand agency today. And I run. Far. Good luck to you.

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