We first met at Queen Astrid’s Catholic School in Gothenburg where the gravel pitch Heden next to our school housed our first, early competitions against each other. Jean Pierre Papin against Peter Schmeichel from the white-painted penalty spot. We ended up in different high schools following our years in elementary school, and even though Jakob studied at the second-best high school in Gothenburg, he somehow managed to get accepted into university. After many travels around the globe he finally settled on Malta where the seedling for our above-average interest in long distance running was planted. This in accordance with good sadomasochistic practice and our mutual habit of always aiming as high as our fantasy allows us.
If one person is the epitome of joie de vivre, it’s Jakob. He enjoys everything life has to offer and is as gracious and optimistic in defeat as he is humble and generous in victory. His good humor never lets him down and he is the best partner in adventures anyone could wish for. These attributes are what makes it such a privilege to train and compete with him. One of my role models in training recently had his first book published, entitled “Until You Black Out”. If nobody stopped Jakob once in a while, he would keep on running until he fainted. His favourite athlete is Lance Armstrong, which is fitting since Jakob is strong on the bike. And since he doesn’t have a clue as to who Michael Phelps is, nobody should be surprised that swimming isn’t his favourite pastime. A necessary evil, he calls it. Between the two of us, Jakob holds the Personal Best on both the 10 km and the marathon. So far.
Jakob currently resides in Scandinavia after having spent many years on Malta in the Mediterranean.
Jakob has always been the brains in our relationship. Maybe this is the reason why his interest in sports started at an intellectual level. As a child, he had an encyclopaedic knowledge of myriads of different sporting results, but was himself only a careful pursuer of sports. We started skiing together at the age of 13 but at the time it never amounted to more than that. His passion was books.
Jakob started running in 2008. He was formed early by the linear characteristic of books, and maybe this was the reason why he chose Athens Marathon as his first ever competition. There, he ran the 42.195 km in that most classic of marathons, but contrary to Pheidippides he not only survived the race but also started a new chapter in his life. He became an athlete.
One can hardly call it an easy transition. Anyone who has ever taken up running knows that idleness is a formidable enemy and that one’s brain is never as accomplished at finding excuses for not running as during the coldest and darkest of winternights. The fact is that Jakob didn’t even like running in the beginning. He saw it as a necessary evil. What made him continue to run despite his initial disliking was a character trait that has been in his possession since childhood – self-discipline. He had decided to become fit and after taking this decision, nothing could stop him. But somewhere between a half Ironman on Tjörn and Trail du Verdon in France, training went from being a necessary evil to a goal in itself. He started to love running.
Since his first marathon, he has not only completed an Ironman but has run other marathons across Europe and has also finished a 108 km long trail run in southern France. His phenomenal ability to plan ahead has come to great use during our increasingly complex training regimes. His love of planning is so great that he once, during a particularly strenuous afternoon of interval training a month before a competition, started to discuss a detailed training programme for the subsequent two years. All the while while I myself was wondering how I would survive the exercise. Despite his iron-discipline, Jakob has in later years become something of a bon vivant himself. Which is why he introduced the idea of starting our training runs at 04.30 am in order to have time for a peaceful and serene breakfast at the French Bakery before heading for work.
Jakob is married to the beautiful miss H and currently works as a pediatrician in Oslo.