Running 1,130km in 19 days… from Denmark to France

The distance from Naestved on Sealand (Denmark) to Paris (France), is about 1,130km. Would you ever consider covering this on foot?

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Runner Annette Fredskov, with landmarks of Paris in the background Photo Credit:

Danish marathon runner Annette Fredskov – who was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis – did just that… and she completed her run in 19 days. That would have been equivalent to about 60km per day. She had started her run in her hometown, Naestved on Sealand.

Whole journey was an adventure

Said Annette, 43, “The whole journey was an adventure for me! I was very excited about it and my husband, Ulrich and I had been planning this for six months. I was curious about how I was going to do this and run 60km every day, but I believed that I would make it to the end and I knew that I was going to run the whole time, and knew that I would stand up at the finishing line in Paris.”

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Having a running companion helps to invigorate Annette during her run. Photo Credit:

She had initially come up with the idea, because she was approached by a member of Team Rynkeby, an international charity cycling team that cycles to Paris every summer to raise funds for children with cancer. Said Annette, a speaker & life coach, “They came up to me and asked me if I wanted to join them to ride to Paris. I said, I want to run to Paris! They thought it was a great idea – and they said right away, that I had to come to Paris on the same day as them. I thought it would be amazing.”

Raining when she started her run

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Annette and her running entourage.  Photo Credit:

When Annette had initially started out on her running adventure, it was a wet Monday morning. She said, “I was really excited and I was thinking wow, it is kind of amazing because I was feeling so happy inside, starting out on this adventure. Then the rain stopped after an hour and at that point, I had been thinking, wow, we have been planning this for 6 months and now we are actually running. I will be on the run for 3 weeks and I have my bags packed – and no idea where I am going to stay tonight!”

Her husband Ulrich did all the planning and organising

She added, “Ulrich did all the organisation and planning for me, so he designed the routes and also where we were going to stay every night. I never knew beforehand. I was always excited though, about whether it would be a nice place and what it would look like. It was also amazing to get up every morning and not know what we were going to see – I knew I was going to run, but I didn’t know the route would be through the city or the countryside, or if there would be cars, trees or hills.”

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A beaming runner on her way. Photo Credit:

According to Annette, the places that they stayed at were a combination of hotels, hostels and bed & breakfast locations. She added, “It was really a tough job for Ulrich to keep having to find somewhere to stay so that I could run 60km every day. It was fun though, that the finish line was at the hotel and then the next morning, we would start again at the front door of the hotel.”

To get around, Annette’s husband Ulrich had mostly showed her the way in a car, by stopping at the main corners and telling her to make a turn. However when he could not be there, she would follow the daily route which Ulrich had pre-installed into the Google Maps app on her phone.

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Annette passing through beautiful countryside on her way to Paris. Photo Credit:

Many interesting memories

Throughout her journey, the runner spoke of many interesting memories. She explained, “The scenery was so beautiful! I have been driving through Germany on the way to Italy in the past, but then we were just on the freeway. But this time I was running through the countryside and it was so beautiful – I never knew that Germany was so pretty! We were also running through the Eastern part of Europe. A long time ago, it was very poor but now it’s such a pretty place with so many nice houses and gardens. I was just so amazed and I really enjoyed it.”

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Helpers looking after the running supplies. Photo Credit:

She added, “Also, during our run in Germany on one of the days, we know that we were going to take a ferry. But on the map it said that ferry ride was 100m long. I was thinking, there had to be a mistake, because you are not on a ferry for only 100m. But we reached the ferry… and we saw that the ride was really only 100m. That was so funny!”

The summer heat was a challenge

However Annette also mentioned that the summer heat was a major challenge. Explained the runner, “It was very hot on some days, and a couple of days it reached 41 degrees C! So I drank a lot of water and I also used water to cool myself down – by taking it and pouring it over my head. That felt really good. We also stopped at gas stations often to buy ice cream to get something cold.”

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Having a satisfying meal, after a long, tiring run. Photo Credit:

She added, “One day in the heat though, I think that was on the warmest day and I had 4km left before I could meet Ulrich in his car to hydrate myself. There was a man in the garden and he was watering the plants. I thought to myself, wow can I get a cold shower. So I spoke to him and asked if he could sprinkle water on me. He did – and it felt just amazing! I thought, wow this is so cold, and I then asked him to put some water in my bottle. He did – and I didn’t even think about the quality of the water! But when I began running again, I took a sip of the water and it tasted really disgusting – I then looked at my bottle of water and saw that it was all yellow! But i just started laughing then – because I hadn’t even cared at that point. I didn’t drink the water though.”

An amazing final day

However, nothing could beat what Annette had experienced on the final day though. Said the runner, “The last day was amazing! I got goosebumps when we reached Paris. Actually it was a pretty exciting day too because I got up really early to start the run – so that I could finish together with the cyclists.”

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After a day’s exertion, noting beats this. Photo Credit:

Not everything went well on the last day though. Because there was too much traffic on the road as they approached Paris, Annette added that they had to take a detour into the countryside instead – which meant an additional 5km of running.

To add to that, Ulrich had a flat tyre when there was 20km left to go. So he had to find his way to the nearby garage to replace the tyre. Said Annette, “So I was left on my own. There were three other runners with me that day, but nobody to show us the way or to give us food and drinks. We had to use our phones to find the way and get food and drink from the supermarkets and convenience stores. And I was just so nervous that Ulrich was not going to make it to the finish line together with me.”

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A familiar restaurant to Annette during her run. Photo Credit:

She continued, “But as we were running closer and closer to Paris, the view was amazing! I could see the city out through the horizon – and when I reached Paris, I stood on the Concorde and I could see the Arc di Triomphe and then I glanced up – and the Eiffel Tower was there. I was thinking to myself, I am actually here, I actually ran to Paris and I can see the Eiffel Tower!”

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A beaming Annette after the completion of her run. Photo Credit:

At that moment, Annette was completely speechless and lost for words that she had actually completed what she had set out to do. She said, “I was thinking, thank you for making this happen. I didn’t know who I was thanking, but I was just so grateful and happy in every cell of my body.”

And she also added that yes, she finished together with the cyclists. Annette explained, “I actually ran over the finish line together with them and it was amazing! When I joined them at the end, I was so happy to see them and they were giving me lots of applause and I was giving it right back to them – because they achieved an amazing thing too. There was also this really magnificent atmosphere right there and everyone was feeling so happy.”

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Annette with her throng of fans after the run. Photo Credit:

The time and sacrifice was all worth it

Now that she has had time to reflect over her adventure, Annette feels that the time and sacrifice required had all been worth it. She said, “It was all worth the hard work and I feel so happy and grateful because I had so much different experiences – it was not all about running, but about experiencing nature and being free and simply enjoying life. I want to do something like it again – not run to Paris, but something else that’s just as crazy!”

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Yep, Annette’s done it. Photo Credit:

She added, “I would love to run through every state in America someday – but that will have to wait a couple of years for my kids to be a little older though.”

Takeaways from her experience

What takeaways does Annette have from her experience? She said “If you dream about something you can do it. If it is something that is really important to you, it does not matter what everyone else thinks As long as you want to do it and you work hard to do it then you can prove everyone else wrong.”

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After this cuppa, we’ll be on our way. Photo Credit:

She added, “I want to get out the message that you should do the things that makes you happy and if you do not know what they are, then find out. There is always the possibility for everyone to be happy. And do not let anything stop you in your pursuit. I have multiple sclerosis – and one of the runners who joined me for most of the days has diabetes. But we are still doing it anyway. So it does not matter what the circumstances are – if you want to do something, go ahead and just do it.”

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