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"I was running so fast it was like the trees were standing still"

Dana Bandy

Nächster Ultramarathon

Jürgen Ankenbrand , 01. März 2005

Jesper Olsen World-Run

I just spent nine days with Jesper crewing him along the California Coast from a Los Angeles beach to Morro Bay, about 245 miles south of San Francisco/

By now the ultra community should have heard about the record-breaking attempt of Jesper Olsen to be the first human being to run around the world, covering four continents.

Several years ago he heard about a runner that claimed to have run around the world, only to have been found to have cheated. Two other runners gave it a try but failed prompting Jesper to consider the idea. After posting the idea on the Internet he received a dozen responses within days, asking WHEN they the start would take place.

Denmark is a socialist state where aspiring to extra ordinary feats is not encouraged which makes Jespers plan, let alone actual implementation, even more remarkable. Jesper is one of the very small minority thinking outside the box of Danish society and eventually he seceded to act on his dream.

Having been running since the age of 12, Jesper figured if he had a chance to actually make it all around the world it would have to be now at the age of 32, while his body was in great shape and could readily adjust to these daily rigors.

Jesper contacted the people at the Guiness Book of Word-Records to get guide lines on how to be listed should he succeed. In Jespers mind not finishing was not an option since this would be dishonorable (some what similar to Japanese thinking) so his mind was set for success.

On January 1st. 2004 Jesper Olsen & one Russian runner (all the details can be found on his web site: www.worldrun.org) left the observatory at Greenwich, England on their epic adventure run.

After crossing Europe, Russia, Siberia, Japan and Australia Jesper arrived by plane from Perth in Los Angeles on Wednesday, February 16.2004. Another German ultra runner put him up for two nights and that is where I met Jesper.

After initially planning to only crew Jesper for twp or three days, I wound up staying with him for nine full days, the main reason being that we clicked right away and got along very well. As many ultra runners know, while running with some body for hours on in, many subject matters can be talked about. Being an ultra runner with completed runs on seven continents myself, I certainly understood his motivation and motive.

Jesper in the USABecause of all the above reasons, I was able to get so much more info from Jesper than I ever hoped for, but too much to write about in one report in this forum. I am contemplating to write an article, hoping to sell it to several US, European and world-wide magazines to tell Jespers entire story. An eventual e-book might follow because I think this kind of accomplishment should be broadcast around the world although Jesper abhors publicity in general.

Jesper is a mean lean running machine built to run and run, day after day. As we all know, the mental toughness is much more important than any physical ability, which should be a given for any one undertaking such a momentous task This man is determined, has a single-track mind and has a business-like approach, which I think is absolutely needed to succeed. We learned that there were several aspect of our personality that were very similar so we really clicked, kidding around all day long and even threw out regular humorous insults at each other.

Navigating along the coast wasn't always easy as you will understand in a minute. To plan his US-Canada-US route from Los Angeles to New York Jesper went to the public library in Perth, Australia. Based on these maps he found there he mapped out his route and daily stops. The one thing Jesper could not know was the fact that red roadways usually are freeways, which generally means off limit to pedestrians unless there is no access road available. Because of this oversight, we had to look for alternate roads until we came to highway one, the coast route.

Jesper in the USAComing from the very hot Australian desert, California did not greet Jesper with it's usual sunny days but with four consecutive rainy days making running often very unpleasant. On the fifth day in Buellton the sun again made an appearance putting a more upbeat perspective on every thing.

On Sunday, February 27,I left Jesper after he got on the road heading back to Huntington Beach but not before I mad sure he was well supplied with his favorite soft drinks of Coke, Pepsi or an Orange drink plus several bars of Hershey chocolate plus several Snickers for which he had acquired a taste for.

Jesper has a very high-tech system of staying in touch with the Guinness people and his web site top which he makes regular updates via a responder and photo-cell phone that is linked to a satellite and shoes any input within a few seconds. All that technology still requires Jesper to do what he does best to run an average of 40 to 60 kilometers.

I wish Jesper well and have no doubt in my mind that he will reach his goal of arriving back in Greenwich, England. After the finish of the Trans Europe race I offered the question of what will be next in the world of adventure running? Now that it is very likely that another mile stone has been reached, where do we go from here?


© Jürgen Ankenbrand, 01. März 2005