Emelie Forsberg Sets Kungsleden Trail FKT

Kungsleden Emelie Forsberg day #1 (6)
Photo by Philip Reiter

Emelie Forsberg on Day 1 of her Kungsleden Trail FKT attempt, in the Swedish Lapland.

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.”

Top 7 American Marathon Performances from 2017 WMM Races

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Amy Cragg poses after finishing third in the marathon at the 2017 IAAF World Championships in London.

If, at the start of 2017, you wished for American marathoners to deliver historic, unforgettable, tear-inducing runs on World Marathon Majors stages throughout the year, then 1) your wish-granted rate ballooned and 2) you should get paid to give wishing advice.

Who woulda thought? An article toward the end of the year ranking several noteworthy American marathon performances from major 26.2-mile races—from the same 365-day span.

TIMEOUT: Wait, what are the World Marathon Majors? Apologies for any confusion caused by “WMM” in the headline. I’ll proceed to give the abbreviated explanation of the WMM: A series of six of the best, most competitive marathons in the world (Tokyo, Boston, London, Berlin, Chicago, New York City) scores points to determine a male and female winner of each cycle, with the winner snatching $500,000. NOTE: Olympics and IAAF World Championships have a say, too. For example, this year, the London World Championships marathon counted as a WMM race.

Point allocation for each race:

  • 1st place — 25 points
  • 2nd place — 16 points
  • 3rd place — 9 points
  • 4th place — 4 points
  • 5th place — 1 point

We are in Series XI (they officially use Roman numerals) of the WMM, which consists of the following eight races:

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The current WMM series flows into 2018, but for the sake of this article and the following rankings, I’m scratching series, cycles—whatever you wanna call them—and choosing from solely 2017 WMM-labeled races. I picked the top seven from these 2017 races: Tokyo, Boston, London, IAAF World Championships, Berlin, Chicago, New York City.

TIME IN: Still with me? Good stuff ahead. The depth of American marathoning success made this an unenviable ranking task. As a fan of USA distance running, you should be exuberant about that, almost bewildered.

Arguably the best year ever for American marathoners? As Shalane Flanagan would say, “F–k yes!”

7. Laura Thweatt, London Marathon, April 23

Laura Thweatt finished more than eight minutes behind the leader, but the top two women at London—Mary Keitany and Tirunesh Dibaba, respectively—went sub-2:18 (!), with Keitany setting the women’s-only world record (2:17:01). There was plenty of noise at the front, but Thweatt’s 2:25:38 sixth-place finish didn’t wash away in silence.

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A Detailed Look at Mo Farah’s Wild Dominance Under Alberto Salazar

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Mo Farah made a monumental move in January 2011. No, not a strategic in-race move to break away from the pack, but rather a career-defining resettlement from Great Britain to the United States.

The then-27-year-old Farah committed to the Portland-based Nike Oregon Project (NOP) and its head coach, Alberto Salazar. In this group, Farah would train primarily with Galen Rupp, who has been under Salazar’s guidance since his high school days. Rupp was 24 years old at the time, and he would soon realize the importance and advantage of having Farah by his side for thousands of miles. 

Without delay, Farah dismantled the British and European records for the indoor 5,000 meters, running 13:10.60 on February 19 in Great Britain.  

“I’ve really enjoyed working with Alberto,” Farah said after his record-setting 5K in February 2011, per Simon Hart of the Telegraph. “I’m starting a new life there, so it’s not going to be easy, but he’s a great coach, and the four weeks of training with him and Galen worked out really well.”

This would be just the start of something extremely special.

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Q&Hooray: Kyle Merber, Hoka One One Long Island Mile


Kyle Merber is a professional runner for Hoka One One. On September 9, the first-ever Hoka One One Long Island Mile (Hoka LI Mile) will take place in Huntington Station, New York, at St. Anthony’s High School. Merber is the co-director of the Hoka LI Mile, which is a festival of races featuring an elite men’s and women’s mile that will follow an array of open miles and a 400-meter race for kids.

Merber, who is from Dix Hills, New York, ran collegiately at Columbia University and the University of Texas. While at Columbia, he ran 3:35.59 for 1500 meters. He has since lowered his 1500 personal record to 3:34.54. He has also clocked a 3:54.7 mile. Merber is one of America’s finest 1500/mile runners.

In May, Merber became a world-record holder. At the IAAF/BTC World Relays, Bahamas 2015, Merber ran the 1200-meter leg of the USA’s distance medley relay (DMR) championship team. The squad of Merber, Brycen Spratling, Brandon Johnson and Ben Blankenship ran 9:15.50 to set a new world record.

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Merber took time to answer questions about the Hoka LI Mile, which RunnerSpace.com will stream live on September 9.

Hooray Run: When you approached Hoka One One with the idea of the event, how long did it take for the company to jump on board?

Kyle Merber: The idea came to life last year when I was in my first summer of racing as a professional. I was faced with the option of going back to Europe in late August to get a couple more races in before the 5th Avenue Mile. I was in good shape and wanted to race, but it’s expensive to fly over twice, and it can be exhausting. So the idea was kind of born out of that gap in the domestic racing season, and I saw an opportunity to help bridge it. My co-director Brendan Barrett and I have had multiple conversations through the years of ways to bring the pros to Long Island, and this was finally the way to do it. We wrote up a big business plan and met with Hoka in October, but before we could even finish the proposal they were already on board.

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Getting into the Running Spirit

Photo by Bethany Rogers; Bayville, Long Island, New York
Photo by Bethany Rogers; Bayville, Long Island, New York

I’m not entirely sure when my relationship with running shifted from “something that I happened to do” to “something that I truly love.” I just know that it happened; and boy, am I glad that it did.

After all, it’s common knowledge that running is deeply embedded in the physical. Yet, while many people recognize this, they are often unaware of the deep mental and spiritual aspects of running that also exist.

For me, a lover of long distance, this spiritual side of running has proven to be a major part of my life, something that has provided such restoration and peace that I simply can’t imagine my life—or myself—without it.

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5 Hoorays: 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon

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The men’s podium (L-R): Lelisa Desisa (2nd), Lemi Berhanu (1st), Deribe Robi (3rd).

The 2015 Standard Chartered Dubai Marathon gave United States citizens terrific Thursday night racing, as the 26.2-miler began at 10 p.m. ET (7 a.m. local time on Friday).

More than 25,000 runners participated, and 21 men with a 2:10 marathon PR or faster toed the line. If you’re not too familiar with this United Arab Emirates marathon, the winners take home $200,000, and East Africans are aplenty.

The 2015 edition delivered, and I’ve put together 5 Hoorays from my viewing of the Dubai dandy.

Note: This is Hooray Run’s first-ever 5 Hoorays. Enjoy.

5. The EverSport live stream was tremendous

I wholeheartedly support House of Run’s use of the word “flawless” to describe the online stream. I’ve watched numerous races and meets via live stream, and I give a standing ovation to EverSport for its excellent production of the Dubai Marathon.

No lags, awe-inspiring shots, a crisp picture the entire way through. This live stream had it all. EverSport, please do more big races in the future. Continue reading

Unsung Accolades: My Top 5 Underdog Performances of XC 2014

Photo by TrackAndFieldPhoto
Photo by TrackAndFieldPhoto

Edward Cheserek (451) repeated as D-I national champion, but teammate Eric Jenkins (456) put together a brilliant 2014 XC season, too.

Coinciding with Saturday, December 13’s Foot Locker High School National Championships, the USATF Club Cross Country Championships was the last cross-country event of 2014.

Starting back in mid-August, cross-country has been around for four months now. So, since the cross-country season is finally over, I want to assess the range of spectacles that the XC community displayed this fall. Continue reading

Grant Fisher Wins 2nd Straight Foot Locker National Title

Photo by FLCCC
Photo by FLCCC

Fisher wins his second FLCCC title on December 13.

Grant Fisher of Grand Blanc High School in Michigan defended his Foot Locker Cross Country Championships (FLCCC) national title on Saturday in San Diego, California.

Fisher covered the 5,000-meter course in 15:03. Olin Hacker of Madison West High School in Wisconsin was second in 15:12. Fisher ran four seconds faster than his victory in 2013, and he used his wicked closing speed to gap the field. Continue reading

SoCal Spartan Races + Free-Entry Giveaway


Your sanity will be questioned, but entering a Reebok Spartan Race could be one of your all-time best decisions.

Spartan Race is an obstacle-racing series that was founded in 2010 and puts on races across the country. Hooray Run was contacted by Dan Krueger, a Spartan Race worker who is promoting upcoming SoCal races set for December and January. Continue reading