Emelie Forsberg on Day 1 of her Kungsleden Trail FKT attempt, in the Swedish Lapland.
By James Rogers
Huge thanks to Laura Font of Lymbus for allowing Hooray Run to share this historic FKT (Fastest Known Time) attempt in writing and in photos. Congratulations to Salomon-sponsored athlete Emelie Forsberg for the incredible achievement.
From the Lymbus press release: “The Kungsleden (King’s Trail) is a 450km hiking trail in the Swedish Lapland that hikers usually cross in no less than 15 days. The spectacularity and the wilderness of the aspects make it for a very popular hiking destination in summer and for cross country in winter. It starts in Abisko in the north and finishes in Hemavan in the South, the highest point is the Tjäktja Pass at 1.150m and the lowest at Kvikkjokk (330m). However, the trail is challenging not only for the distance and the terrain but also around the logistics as, the trail also involves crossing some of the rivers that cross the Vindelfjällen Nature Reserve, one of the largest protected areas in Europe. For those water parts, there are sometimes scheduled ferries, and some other parts, the runners have to row themselves, and therefore the timings have to adjust to the boat schedules as well.
The challenge for Emelie Forsberg started on the midnight of July 3rd in the northern part of the trail, in Abisko. The first stage was the longest, running 116km through the midnight sun until reaching Saltoluokta, the hut where Emelie worked when she was 19 and where her love for the mountains started.
From there, the Swedish athlete ran the 70km of the second stage until Kvikkjokk. Despite the amount of kilometres, Emelie’s legs were feeling fresh and so was her mood. The third stage was probably the wildest, running through a wild and not concurred track of 96km. “I was running alone today, and it’s so nice the state I got into, just one step at the time, a good pace and to enjoy the beautiful surroundings. I am so lucky”, explained Forsberg.
On the fourth stage, Emelie started in Jäkkvik feeling very tired. Little by little she started to feel better and managed to finish in high spirit the 97km of this stage. It was hard, but the end was near.
Finally, on Saturday, July 7th Emelie ran the last stage of the Kungsleden. Despite having sore legs, the motivation was up to achieve the challenge, and Emelie completed the stage, and therefore, the trail. Stopping the watch: 4 days and 21 hours.”
According to Forsberg’s data, she ate 25 cheese sandwiches and two cakes along the way. The previous FKT on Kungsleden was set just last year by Sondre Almdahl, a Norwegian ultrarunner, who completed King’s Trail in 6 days, 2 hours, 51 minutes.
Forsberg, 31, offered some words upon completion: “I can hardly believe I have done it! When I started planning this route, I looked at the distance, the hut system and the plan we made, and I thought it was possible, but that it would be a big challenge for me. To actually achieve it, it’s a dream come true. I had some really bad moments, but it wouldn’t be a challenge if you didn’t have those, because it makes you learn and appreciate what you’ve done. Now I feel very tired but extremely happy.”