World Run II / The runners
Jesper Olsen, 39 years old, Copenhagen, Denmark. Political scientist, author.
Ultra-bio: founded the Danish national team for 100km and 24-hour. 23 years of competitive long distance running. Marathon debut in 1985 at age 15 (3.26h.). Jesper completed the first fully documented world run - the World Run 1 - in 2005.
"I started out running as an average recreational runner at the age of 12 in the local jogging club. By the age of 15 I was curious about the 'mythical' distance of the marathon that the older runners in my club were doing. So that year I completed my first marathon. After a decade of competitive youth running at 5km, 10km and cross-country, I took up the marathon once more and set my pb. at age 24 with 2:27.
In the late 90'ties, I decided to try a 100km race. I broke the national record and a new path began: national records at 50km, 100km, 100miles, 12-hours, 24-hours, 48-hours and 6-day running. Many of them have been bettered since by fellow countrymen). In 2004, I started out on the first fully documented run around the world and a bit to my own surprise, I was able to complete the run of 26,232km across four continents and return successfully to the starting point after running 1 lap of the Earth.
More than 20 years after taking up running and thousands of km's down the road, the core values of running and ultra running remain the same to me. Which are in fact are the same as those of the recreational runner: that running should always be respectful of the body and not just be a question of human will-power at the expense of the body. And above all - it should always be the joy and 'game' that running is in its basic form :-)
I think that the ability to run incomprehensible distances is a thing we all share as humans. It's not the talent of a few extreme individuals. We have had thousands of years of evolution where it was normal to be in motion all the day long. Only within the last few centuries has it become normal to sit down most of the day. My experience is that we have not yet lost the ability to overcome endless endurance efforts.
I look forward to explore this ability together with the Team in WR II!"
- 10km: 31:29min.
- ½marathon: 1:08:10h.
- Marathon: 2:27:57h.
- 100km: 6:58:31h.
- 100miles: 15:26:09h.
- 6-days: 780km
- Longest run: 26,232km /1 lap (Earth): 662days.(world record)
- First documented run through Siberia (2004)
- First documented run through Africa, from north to south (2009-2010)
- First documented run from Northern point of Europe to Southern Point of Africa (2008-2010)
- First documented run around the world (2004-2005)
Sarah Barnett, 32 years old, Adelaide Australia. Runner !
Ultra-bio.: Sarah started running long distance in her teenage years and by now has specialized in ultrarunning and multiday-running. She has a personal best of 634km on 6-day running and 1020km on 10-day running; including a 1st place and course-record in the South-African 6day race, 2008, and a 2nd place in the SCMT New York 10day race 2005, followed by victory in the 10day race 2006.
"I am very honoured and amazed to be part of the World-Run and to be starting the run in Norway with Jesper and the team. I was aware of the World Run several years ago and have always been inspired and intregued by it's sheer enormity, and also the message of hope and international unity that it offers.
My own running history is by no means extensive, but I started running as a teenager (mostly just to 'escape' the academic world and to spend time in nature), and for ten years have run with the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team. During this time I joined the World Harmony Run, an international relay spreading the message of harmony and oneness between nations. While mostly running marathons in my twenties, during recent years Ive run three 24hr events and four multiday races (six and ten day).
Running, for me, is a mostly a way to discover a greater sense of inner peace and happiness. I try to remember the message of 'self-transcendence' offered by my teacher Sri Chinmoy, to compete only with yourself, and to try always go beyond what you think you are capable of doing.
Sarah Barnett "
[note: Sarah entered the world run team after a meeting at the George Archer South African 6-day run. Where she did not only impress by winning in a relaxed way under difficult conditions, but amazed by returning to her usualy training the next morning after the race - a runner that combines the physical and mental strength required, with an 'Australian' way of coping with hard conditions].