For many people, successfully completing one marathon is already totally draining and exhausting.
So imagine running five marathons – in a time span of 48 hours. Most recreational runners would probably shudder at attempting such a prospect.
But this is exactly what 42-year-old Danish marathon runner, Annette Fredskov, did, towards the end of last month.
On why she had attempted this crazy feat, Annette, a life coach, said, “I like to push my limit and a little further. I am curious about what we can do when our mind and body work together.”
Knew immediately that she had to take part
So when she heard about a five marathons race, to be done over 48 hours, she knew immediately that she had to take part in it.
Said Annette, “I could feel in my body that I want to do that.”
Held from 23 to 25 May this year, the ultra-running race was staged on the small Danish island of Bornholm and consisted of three different categories. These were Annette’s race, where runners had to complete five marathons within a time frame of 48 hours, as well as a non-stop 24 and 48 hours race
Altogether, about 100 runners took part in the event, with eight others competing in the same category as Annette. Runners were required to do laps around the island, with each one just over one kilometre in length.
Annette was very excited on finishing the five marathons. She said, “I almost cried when I crossed the finishing line. I was thinking, is this for real? Wow, I really did it. I was so happy at the end of it.”
And the runs were very enjoyable. Said the runner, “The marathons were very well organised. There was beautiful scenery and many people along the route to cheer us on and the supporters were great. We also passed by the food and drink station at every lap, so that was really nice.”
Performance put her in first place
As an added bonus, her timing of 22 hours, 27 minutes and 17 seconds put her in first place too – something that she definitely didn’t expect. She finished about half an hour ahead of the second placed runner, who had an overall timing of 22 hours 53 minutes and 48 seconds.
Said Annette, “I did not expect that I could do this. The others were also very good runners too. But I was the fastest one, so I was really proud of myself.”
“It’s amazing. I ran to the finish line totally exhausted and I actually won,” Annette added, as the emotions of her victory rushed back into her.
She wasn’t the only one who was pleased. Her family was also equally proud of her for not only completing the marathons but also for coming in first.
Ran phenomenal timings for her five marathons
But this plucky lady definitely deserves her prize, for the phenomenal times that she managed to complete each of her five marathons in.
On her first marathon, which she ran in her fastest timing of 4 hours 16 minutes and 29 seconds, Annette said, “The first one was so good that I ran it faster than I thought I could. I was focusing a lot on the speed.”
She struggled at the very end of the event, though. Said Annette, “It was the fifth one that I was really tired and I used about half an hour more to run it. My legs were really exhausted.” She completed this final marathon in 4 hours 57 minutes and 25 seconds – which is still a very decent timing.
Full support of her family members
Annette’s victory isn’t hers alone, though. Her husband Ulrich and two children, Viktor, 10 and Emilie, 12, definitely deserve some of the credit too, for giving her their full support throughout her run. In fact, they even rented a holiday cabin on the island, so that they could stay with her.
Said Annette, “My husband and kids were with me for the whole 48 hours. I think they are getting used to the fact that I am a little bit crazy!”
As well, her two children even helped to motivate Annette by talking to her when she was mentally exhausted and running laps with her. This is something that Annette had greatly appreciated.
Said Annette, “I felt so much better after talking to them and it really took my mind off the pain that I was feeling. They felt a part of this too and were really proud to help me out.”
Far from easy
But despite her memorable moments, family support and eventual victory, running in this extreme race was far from easy for Annette. During her runs, she faced many challenges too, such as trying to get enough energy to run. Suffering bouts of nausea during her 48 hours of running didn’t help her cause, either.
Said Annette, “I felt so sick and nauseous after my second race. So it was hard to eat and I didn’t even want ice cream – which is bad, because I really love ice cream. But I knew I had to eat to have energy to run. So I forced myself to eat.”
It certainly helped her cause though, that there was a plentiful supply of food available for her to choose from, including sandwiches, cakes and ice cream. Even her kids were seen to be tucking into the delicious delights provided by the race organisers.
Recovering From Her Runs
Between each marathon, Annette had rested for about three to four hours, but she felt that she couldn’t get much sleep due to the adrenaline rush.
Said Annette, “After my second marathon, I lay down on the bed and it was dark outside. But it was hard to sleep. It was good to lie down though, and I could really feel that helping me to recover.”
She definitely managed to catch up on sleep back home once the marathons were over, though – as she recognises that recovery is very important, especially after taking on a task such as this.
Said Annette, “I used the two days after that to recover, to get my energy back and to get enough to eat and drink. And then I was ready to run again.”
Not the hardest feat she has attempted
This is not the hardest endurance run that she has attempted though. Last year, the runner completed 366 marathons in 365 days – and she feels that project was definitely tougher.
Said Annette on her earlier 366-marathon attempt, “It was really hard to keep on going for one year, rather than just two days. I also didn’t get a day off to be with the family. I always had to run a marathon first.”
Having a positive attitude is important
On how she manages to successfully complete endurance races such as these, Annette feels that a positive attitude and mind-set is very important in order to be successful.
She said, “We should focus on the good things happening around us and what we want instead of what we do not want. So if we are tired during a run, do not think about it. Focus on the good things like the finishing line and completing the run instead.”
Video Link: http://youtu.be/W-43my1sgSo
All photos and video in this blog post are from Annette and Ulrich Fredskov.