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Jakob & Jakob featured in Runner’s World

Jakob & Jakob are enormously proud to present the publication of our very first article in the renowned magazine Runner’s World, the biggest and best monthly magazine for runners in Sweden. Our story about this year’s Marathon des Sables is one of four adventure races featured in their September issue out in stores this week. If you weren’t keen on running before, you will be once you’ve read about these amazing adventures!

Run out and buy the latest issue!

RW MdeS artikel 1RW MdeS artikel 2RW MdeS artikel 3

Island Hopping

The last week has been absolutely blissful. Under normal circumstances it takes me almost a full week to wind down in order to enjoy my vacation properly. This time, though, peace and calm settled in almost immediately. My lovely cousin has lent us her family summer house for a couple of weeks and for our new little family, blessed as it is with a tiny new member, it has been paradise. The house is located on one of the many islands in the archipelago west of Sweden and doesn’t have any internet, TV or radio. Though what it lacks in 20’th century gadgets, it makes up for in spades with panoramic vistas of windswept cliffs and tumultous seas. And don’t worry, it’s not a Norwegian cabin, meaning we DO have a WC, proper kitchen and warm water. The days are growing shorter (how can something “grow” shorter, by the way?) and summer is clinging to the island by the tips of her fingers. Late summer or early fall doesn’t really matter. It is a beautiful place.

Six days in and I have already finished two books, both of them related to running and both highly recommended. First, I finished Kilian Jornet’s Run Or Die in which the hugely talented Spanish trail runner simply writes what he thinks about when he thinks about running, taking the reader on a journey through several of his record-breaking runs, including the 160 mile Tahoe Rim Trail, the fastest run up and down Kilimanjaro ever recorded and my personal favourite: his insane project where he runs the length of the Pyrenees from the Atlantic to the Mediterranean. A few times overly philosophical, the tale is never less than inspiring and lets you understand that it is the love of mountains, lakes and valleys that make this fabled runner tick.


The second book Heja Heja was lighter fare with Martina Haag that in a humorous and easily read way recounts how she went from almost blacking out after a first twelve-minute run to running the Venice marathon after around 18 months of training. It took me about 20 minutes to plow through the pages but even so, the small book easily matches Jornet’s tale for inspiration, albeit it in a more light-hearted way.

OK, sports fans. Now to the big question. Have I done any running of my own during my vacation or have I simply sat in the sofa buried in books, diapers and baby drool? Of course I’ve been running, you dolts! I find a use superlatives in my blog posts more often than not, but I LOVE running on this island! It’s not for everyone but it certainly is for me. Most of the trails run over hard granite cliffs with white paint-markings every 50 metres or so, turning into a very rough gravel trail on several occasions when it bends around particularly steep cliff faces or dips down into small wooded groves. Having grown up in Gothenburg I’m used to rain and more particularly, wind. The wind’s been blowing more or less constantly since we got here and I love it! There’s nothing like the balance training you get when jumping from rock to stone on a path five metres above the foaming sea when all of a sudden a violent gust of wind tries to flatten you against a rock face. And the rain! Wohooo! My toes and the balls of my feet are constantly hurting from the effort of running on my forefoot in my INOV8 Trailrocs (good for gravel, bad for wet cliffs…). Since the island’s not that big, my 35 km longrun two days ago forced me to do six laps around it, but no matter. The trail is so much fun that if you alternate between running it clockwise and anti-clockwise every other lap, you hardly notice. At any rate, the path is poorly marked in a few places and I’ve run astray several times only to retrace my steps over slippery lichen-covered cliffs.


91 km’s in six days is the grand totalt for this week. Tomorrow we only have five weeks left to the first of two big challenges this fall: Alesia Trail in Alise Sainte-Reine in France, a 50 km (1500+) race that will hopefully secure us our seventh and final qualification point for UTMB next summer. Oh, and QAC’s newest member – my dad – will be joining us for the event, having opted for one of the shorter distances.

Well, more details on upcoming races in future posts, but a teaser includes the abovementioned Alesia Trail, the final Salomon Trail Tour of the season, the trailrun Nordmarkstravern that kicked off this blog almost a year ago, and finally Oslos Bratteste which is a totally insane race going up a alpine skiing slope in Oslo. It’s pretty steep as the name (Oslos Bratteste = Oslo’s Steepest) implies. And those are only the races booked for September! Yeah!

Inspiring Amanda

At first sight, the world of sports is overflowing with role models. Athletes in various fields whose warm and generous personalities, iron-dedication to training, impressive achievements, happiness and joy in victory and ability to suffer losses graciously inspire us to become better, faster and stronger athletes.

In earlier posts, we’ve written about fallen idols like Lance Armstrong and sadly the list of fakes got longer this summer with the exposures of among others Asafa Powell and Tyson Gay. Luckily, the list of role models is longer by far and I would like to tell you about a few of our own personal favourites, especially since some of them are not as well known as athletes in other, more media-savvy sports.

All of the following athletes are girls and there is very special reason for that. As you may have noticed, our blogposts haven’t been as regular this summer as they’ve been earlier this year. This is due to having had more pressing things on my mind, namely the birth of our lovely little baby girl Amanda. Lately I’ve found myself philosophizing about what kind of person she will turn out to be and what she will choose to become. That’s why I’ve decided to give her a little nudge by telling her about the following three cool women.

See? Always smiling!

See? Always smiling!

Emelie Forsberg (1987) from Sweden has already made a name for herself as an exceptionally talented trail runner at the international circuit, her breakthrough coming last year as she became the world champion in Skyrunning. At this year’s European Championship she found herself on the podium for each of the three races: gold at Dolomites Skyrace (22 km) and Trans d’Havet (80 km, 5500+) as well as a silver at the Vertical Kilometre in Canazei. She has dominated the world of trail running almost since her debut and is currently running for the Salomon Sweden Trail Running Team. Studying biology in Tromsø gives her ample opportunity to train in the spectacular mountains of northern Norway. If you’d like to get to know her a bit more you can visit one of her two blogs; Runner’s World or at blogspot. Reading about her personal musings and race reports conjures up an image of a confident and happy person who is brutally honest with her ups and downs, vividly describing both the physical and mental battles in her races, which is why Jakob & Jakob love her. The following quote, found on the International Skyrunning Federation’s website, is perhaps the most descriptive: “Emelie cruised to a comfortable finish – 10th overall – sliced 1h23’ off the course record [at the Ultra Trans d’Havet], and collected yet another gold medal for her country.  Incredible achievements, crowned as usual with the winning smile that has become her trademark.”

We've borrowed this serenely beautiful pic from Lisa's blog.

We’ve borrowed this serenely beautiful pic from Lisa’s blog.

We’ve written about the triathlete Lisa Nordén (1984) before and she still remains one of our all-time favourite role models. Last year, she won the silver medal in the London Olympics and as if this were not enough, she managed to become the ITU World Triathlon Champion later that summer when she – despite being knocked out by a nasty stomach flu – battled it out in the last race of the season in Auckland to win the world championship crown. This year she’s already racked up impressive victories in Fuerteventura, the half-Ironman in Syracuse and Boulder Peak. Just like Emelie, Lisa is an athlete who very apparently loves what she does and is always wearing a huge smile when interviewed by the press. One of my biggest regrets of last year was not walking up and congratulating her to her olympic silver medal when I accidentally stumbled upon her at Heathrow. It won’t happen again.

Climbing the highest peak in the world.

Climbing the highest peak in the world.

Last, but not least, we have the adventurer Annelie Pompe (1981) from Göteborg. In 2010 she set a new world record in variable weight freediving with a dive of 126 m and in 2011 she reached the summit of Mount Everest as the first Swedish woman to summit from the north side. The name of these two achievements has inspired the name of her hugely inspirational blog Deep Everest where she writes about her philosophies and adventures. Not settling for simply freediving and mountain climbing, she’s also a highly accomplished yoga instructor, writer and underwater photographer and one of her works of art currently adorns our living room wall. A couple of months ago, Annelie was set to break another world record in freediving as she reached 131 m only to succumb to a shallow water blackout just before reaching the surface. Jakob & Jakob can certainly relate from personal experience involving an anchor and a sandy sea bottom on Malta. Read more about Annelie’s world record attempt and blackout right here on her blog.

So what do all of these girls have in common? Their infectious smile, love of life and unfailing optimism in everything they do. I hope Amanda will be inspired by them and hopefully – in 10-15 years or so – join her old man for runs in the woods, mountains and hills. Maybe she’ll become an olympic champion, skyrunning world champion or climb the highest peaks of the world? Just saying…