World Run II / Reports
The map shows the position of which the pictures for the day are taken (if any). The start and finish markers are placed at the first and last valid registered position. This is not nessesary the actual start and finish position, if GSM or GPS signals was not available.
Distance today: 200.5 km (Accumulated: 36917.5 km)
Elapsed time: 22:40:41
WORLD RUN TWO COMPLETED :-)
Start [see yesterdays report].
Finish 17:12pm., 08c, dense mist and strong wind, at the furtherst cliff of Cape Spear, New Foundland, Canada; North-Eastern point of North America.
FINAL REPORT, WORLD RUN II
Its been a fantastic, horrible, amazing, shocking and unique experience during this second lap of running around our planet. Likewise its both Fantastic and somewhat Shocking to suddenly be home after those years of running through other and often very different continents of the world; Europe, Middle-East, Africa, South America and North America.
Finally returning home and slowly establishing an "everyday life" is as exotic to me, as I guess it may be to others to run through contries, across mountains, deserts, rain-forrests and savannah's. After years on-the-move, there is now suddenly no packing the running gear and all belongings each morning and run into the horizon; on a new road, meeting new peope, finding a new ''home'' for the night. Now I can go into the same supermarket twice, recognize the products; walk down the same street (I enjoy evening-strolls :-), cross the same doorstep; and getting used to speak my own language again ! Re-experiense; see, feel, smell and run - in the nature here in Scandinavia where I grew up, and became a longdistancerunner.
This change back to a stationary life is at the same time an almost magical joy and luxury - and a shock.
This is why it has taken not the 2-3 days I expected but nearly 20 days to write this final report. The body recovers amazingly fast as so often before and I was out and training the day after returning - you can view the photo's from my danish training grounds at the end of picture series attached to this report. But the human mind, it requires its time to adjust from one extreme to the other and from one version of 'modern life' to the next. From that of the world runner to that of a "retired" ultrarunner; though far from beeing "tired" of running; but having reached all the goals I set out to meet ! You can improve the times it took to run East-West and North-South around the world, and it can be done more efficiently, but it can never be done for the first time again. And that was what I set out to do, and to mark a new road of what is possible at the ultimate end of the scale of endurence running :-)
Then it is up to others to do it faster !
In this final report from world run 2 my main aim is to try to sum up the impressions; the hardship and the joys; the highlight- and the 'low moments', some genereal thoughts about the cultural experienses across those 4 continents and ofcouse a review of how the body handled its second lap of running around the planet.
However, first a few words about that long stage which finished the run:
It was a 200.5km "monster" two-day stage where I had decided that "now its enough; I want to see the finishline !". I was aware that if I continued with the usual stages it could very well draw out atleast a week before reaching the finish point that I had grown very eager to see soon. And with a little bit of ultrarunning-gambling, I figured that the boost of energy we all get from beeing able to begin to see the end of a race we have participated in, would be several times stronger - because the finish had been a thing I had struggled towards not 10km, a marathon, a 100km or a 6day race; but 4 years.
This theory held. But only just. The picture series from the 34 hours on the road probably tells its own tale about the shift in emotion, from doubt to "its possible" and around the 80km mark euphoria and joy - to downheartedness during the cold night-rain that fell amongst the many loud words spoken at that particular phase of the run; in Scandinavian, english, spanish, portugese, swahili, arab and what other bits of languages I had picked up through the 29 contries behind me. A good thing that it was only the black silent darkness, the cold wet tarmac and the steep hills in front, who heard me ! No secret eighter, that I was scared or more precisely terrified by the prospect of running a 200km distance on top of the nearly 37 000km in the legs. I tried not to speculate too long about that the furthest normal stage in both world run 1 & 2 had been the 101km stage back in Argentina in 2011. True, I had participated in some races along the route and logged for example daily km's of about 140km during the 6day race in New York (4.place), 200km on the first day of a 48hour race in Cairo in 2009 (1.place), and 214km in a 24hour competetion in Berlin in 2008 (1.place) while running through Europe. So ofcourse its not impossible to do a 200km-performance during a world run. Yet; there is a huge difference between what is possible in a race, even if the race is done with the fatigue in the body from all the other stages in world run 2; and then compared with what is possible when you are running alone out on the open roads. Motivation is the Key in ultrarunning (as in so many other fields of life), and that is why it was far from given that I would be able to get that final 200km stage done. Potentially I had gone too far in my search for challenges. And the mind certainly did drift a couple of times during the cold rain between 03am. - 06am.; drifting towards: "can't I cut the stage in two ? Isnt that all-right ?? It will only prolong the run with one more day... !".
It can be a bit hard to win battles of this type with oneself, and especially when beeing alone fighting the 'battle'. Even if you have the experience from two laps' of those inner fights.
The positive thing was that I wasnt alone. Not at all !
I had running company by Reino Uusitalo from Finland; one of the sponsors of the run, who had decided to join me for the last 900km of the run. And who certainly didnt want to deny himself the challenge of taking part in this 200km hill-and-rain stage. And take part he did: While his longest distance when visiting the world run 2 in Finland, Mozambique and Equador-Colombia had been a respectable 50km, then he on this particular stage kept up with me for 70km before he took a little night-nap, rolled up between food, running clothes, bags and empty waterbottles in the supportcar (see pic.). Once the daylight came back he climbed out and re-joined me for the final 30km. By the way Reino is in his late 60'ties. What determination, what support from a sponsor; and what Sisu :-))
As I ran toward St. John's and the final city on this route around the world, emotions and flash-back's to world run one came and went along with the beams of the morning light slipping through the heavy mist over the road, and through the drowsy mind of a longdistancerunner.. That last stage, seven years ago, reaching Greenwich in London after an 87km stage, to put the last step towards the first documented run around the world. Back then in 2005 I didnt really understand the fact that the world run one run was indeed reaching its finish. That realisation first hit me nearly half a year later - on a winter training run in deep snow in the Jutland provinces of Denmark; "I did it !! It Was Possible" :-)
This time I was aware of that now, right now, its the last hours of the run ! Perhaps most of all because this second run around the planet was so much harder than the first one had been. And that I had anticipated the finish intensely for thousands of kilometres, yes in a sense two contients ago. Not that world run one was an easy run. I think you only need to contemplate the challenge of running straight across Russia and Siberia, 10 500km; which in itself only marked the halv-way point during world run one. Even that, with its nearly endless hardship and beautifull moments of sublime running-joy; it hardly amounted to be equal with any given month of the East-African section of world run two. After running through North Africa and reaching East-Africa; and after having battled with malaria, amoebic dysenteria, two operations in the right arm and a couple of minor tropical diseases through 7-8 months of running, I was as close to giving up or dropping to the ground, as I ever have been. I am still today wondering how it became possible that the body didnt cave in' before I reached the half-way point at Cape Town, wich was about 3500km of running further South, after East Africa. At the moment its still half-buried in fever memories and images of waking up in the tent during on hot nights at the various savannas or amongst palmhuts, shivering from heat and fever after throwing up, and feeling the intense luxury of the cool air flowing through the tent mesh, once the cool night winds began to brush across the hot landscape around 03-04am.
From then on the world run two became a struggle to get through in one piece and as fully functional as possible, and to do that running while reaching the finish line two continents away.
Its not possible right now to sum up how that leaves one mentally and physically, or what it asks of ones determination and willpower/stubbonness to not give up a thousand times before that. What tools it required, motivationally, and what logistics had to be put in place or how the personality slowly began to change under the weight of the road ahead. Once I am better settled back home in the european and westerne world's comfort and 'reality' I will be able to go back and visit the details and write them down in the book, that I have just got contract to write. For now its enough to say that this time around - I was very much aware that the run was finishing ! I had longed for that atleast 5000km, perhaps 15 000km. But it was also a gratefull, reluctant and emotional "goodbye" to world running while running those last meters :-)
And what better way to do it than in company with good friends; some met during the last few weeks running across New Foundland, the geologists Stefanie and Shannon, from Germany and Canada; one met in the Andes Mountains and coastal deserts of South America and re-joining the run again here in North America, my good american supportdriver and cameraman Alex; and ofcourse Reino from Finland, beeing an integral part of the run in Finland, Mozambique, Equador, Colombia and now Canada. They made it a memorable finish of an epic run !
Sometimes coincidense reaches in and adds to the enjoyment of a special moment. This day it was the knowledge that while we were reaching the finish line together, at the same time it was the opening day of the Olympics over at London. Certainly a nice day to finish the run :-) And as I saw the markers on the tarmac count down towards the North-Eastern point of the continent, the outer cliffs of Cape Spear, with clear paint calling out "5km", "4km", "3km" (ok, I didnt see that one as a canadian tv-crew wanted an interview), "2km" and at last "1km" at the foot of a long hill ... I fealt the last 30 years of longdistance running spin' by as a rapid and silent film: The first morning runs in the early 1980'ties with my father before his work and my school days began, struggeling to complete a 3km training circuit in the beautifull forrests- and lake district North of Copenhagen where I grew up (see pictures). And a long thought, to him. He died while I was running at the border between Chile and Peru. We shared the journey from the first steps of running longdistance, to become marathon runners. Glimpses from my first marathon, on an equally cold and windy day at Elsinore Castle in eastern Denmark, clocking a 3:26h. time at age 15 to finish nearly last in a field mostly of runners competing for the national championship which were held together with the small public race. Nine years later, after some focused years of training, setting my pb. and taking the age-group victory, with a 2:27h. time. A decade later and experienses on 50km, 100km, 100miles, 24hour, 48hour as well as 6day racing; finding new terrain as a runner and setting danish records on all those distances - records which have been bettered by fellow runners since, to prove to my joy that the development is rushing forward in our sport ! Then establishing a national team for our contry to participate in the annual world championships on 100km and 24hour. Mixed in was thoughts of all the friends met during those years; especially during the world run's. The help from runners and non-runners alike, sponsors, encouragement by mail and sms, technical support from home when new solutions were needed. And the impressions of nature, cultures, extreme's and calm beautifull spots of nature seen step by step twice around the world - experienses enough to fill several lifetimes.
While the strong atlantic wind tried to prolong the last minutes and push me back the road where I came from, I had a strong feeling that it was all good, and this was the time to retire, once my foot fell reached the gravel on the cliff furthest out on that last square meter of New Foundland; the island where the Scandinavian Vikings had reached by boat more than 1000years before.
I had never, even in the most optimistic or fantastic day-dreams, imagined when I began to run as a little kid that I would run two laps of our planet. To me it was in the beginning a thrilling challenge to be able to complete a 10km without stopping or taking breaks to walk (and thus, by the way, it became a rule also during the world run's that I would run and not walk all the distance across the continents. A stupid stubbonness perhaps, and making it a challenge particularly when passing the 4000m. altitude of the main pass' over the Andes Mountains - but I am also not a very efficient walker, so running each step of the way was both a matter of personal pride, and convenience ;-)
Now I dream of returning to the running I came from: short joyfull run's in the green terrain of Southern Scandinavia, along the waterline, in the open forrests, through the cities. But short, overseeable distances. It is amazing to me how our human body is able to adapt to the challenges we offer it, and to remain un-injured after the 63 000km's of two world run's, and 30 years of longdistance running, competing on all distances from 5km to 6day running. However, its always been one of my essential values to respect the body, both in training and competetions. The aim was never "mind over matter" or forcing the body to meet the goals set by my ambitions - but to keep working on the balanced progress of body and mind. Surprising, maybe, when considering the goals of running around the world twice; but those goals grew out of the knowledge and feeling that the body had gained the strength and ability to adapt, which allowed the mind to set such goals. And now that aim requires me to give the body its rest from extreme running long before it gets injured.
- This is not the same as to say that there are no more goals. But those goals are to enjoy the details of running. To re-discover the short end of the spectre of longdistance running; my calendar already has a 10km competetion in Helsinki marked by 1. September to discover what the starting level is after all those years of long slow distances. And an invitation has just come in to take part in a marathon in Siberia in late October. The last 7 years my russian supportdriver Rachenka has, along with other Siberian runners I met in world run one, organized a "world run marathon" each year on the day I finished the first world run. An impressive persistance and determination too ! I guess it in its own way display the friendship and loyality I experiensed, and which made these runs possible. Because while a single determined runner can train him- or herself to win a 10km, a marathon or a 100km race - then a successfull run around the world is the achivement of the entire range of people who took part and helped through each contry and across each continent. I am amazed that you decided to help !! And Gratefull :-)
I would like to round off with impressions from those different continents, the understanding 'from the inside' of the cultures which comes when you get to see them step by step, and become a little part of those places yourself. It certainly changed my perception of some of the cultures we often view as very strange or "dangerous". And the same way it gives another relation to nature, to measure it out by "the scale of the human body"; to personally relate to mountain chains, deserts, rainsforrests, plains, forrests and cities which makes out our planet. To share some of the many anectotes, dramas, highlights and not-so-highlights', sufferings and moments of victory that sometimes were too strong or personal to write in the daily reports. But this is a story, that I prefer to tell it in the book I am getting ready to start the first lines on.. This time there is a chance that the publisher will print an english version as well, and the new publisher has also bourght the rights to the book about world run one - so it may soon be avaliable for purchase again. I will keep the website updated on this.
And as I settle into my new life and a new appartment, just across the water from Denmark, in Malmö, Sweden, as I like it with the best of both cultures; the friendship towards foreigners and the huge open nature of Sweden, and only 25minutes by train to friends, good food and the cozyness of Denmark - then I send a huge Thank You to all that followed the world run two here on worldrun.org. It was an inspiration to me, knowing that I was never fully 'alone' and that you were there, checking in on the progress !!
With best wishes of Enjoyable Running to friends around the world,
Nb: I have already recieved some kind requests of more details from the experienses for those who can't wait for a book. There is a very precise and detailed interview in 4-parts (Scandinavian language) at
- The archives w. pictures, text and gps-data from every single stage of the run will remain online at worldrun.org, to properly document the integrety of the run, and for you to enjoy :-)
There may still lack 3-4stages from Southern Argentina where a phone-unit broke down w. all the recorded data, but I will go through the logbook entries and upload any missing reports during the next weeks. This means that final total distance may be a few hundred km's longer than the temporary total, at the top of this page.
Update 13.August 2012
The final report with an overview of this second run around the world; its physical, cultural and nature experienses, will be online during this week. Already my excellent webmaster during wr1 & wr2, Kasper Vibe-Leonhardt, has put all the photo's from the final 200km stage online along w. the "homecoming" pictures. And ofcourse you can still browse the reports, gps-data and pictures from all stages of the 4 years of the run.
The final report will have to wait a few days more: While it didnt take many days to be out training again, then its taken much longer than expected to begin to process the experienses and 're-surface' mentally after the 4 continents of running, wich were at times quite demanding not only physically but also in keeping focus, overview and the "never give up" mentality each day through diseases, two operations, various technical-equiptment breakdowns', a couple of the world's largest deserts and a few mountain chains :-)
28. July 2012:
After a finishing stage of 200km; the last about 100km in rain & dense fog, I reached Cape Spear at New Foundland at 17:12pm. after beginning the stage at 9:00am. yesterday morning - Finally arriving at the North-Eastern point of North America. Thus the first North-South-North run around the earth is completed from Nordkapp at the Northern tip of Europe, via the Southern Tip of Africa, the Southern Tip of South America; to the North-Eastern tip of North America.
... More will follow later, for now the gps-track from the 200km stage is online at the endomondo-link below this report. The pictures should be online the 29. July and the proper report and reflections will be uploaded by the latest when I am back in Denmark, 31. July (arriving at 19pm. via Berlin).
A HUGE THANK YOU to all the people who have helped during world run 2; co-runners, sponsors, the people who have follow online and via email etc. have encouraged me on the tough streatches of the run.
Now I will retire with satisfaction; having completed the first East-West run around the world; world run one; and now the North-South run around the world. And as the first completed two runs around our planet.
I look forward to re-discover my joy in "normal" longdistance running, 10km and marathons :-)
Pictures: All pictures from the final 31hour stage is now online. The first half you will have to find under the 27.July entry since the picture-series obviously streatches over two calenderdays. They may not all be cherry & scenic but I think they tell fairly accurately how it feels to run 200km's on top of 36 000km :-)
NB: The world run data-base was not programmed with longer stages than 99km in mind. So it couldnt handle todays 200km. Thus you will see "99" as km for today. For now we have solved it by entering 99km for the 27.July so that 27. and 28. July combined gives 198km. What we do with the missing 2 km's remains a smaller problem.. The world run 2's total km is expected to be almost exactly 37 000km as there are a few reports from down in Argentina which is missing (about 120km's where the phone broke down and thus I didnt have the data to upload properly. I will upload those few stages once I have a chance to extract the data from the phone back in denmark).