On top of the world
Martorell, 27/11/2015. - "My life would be nothing without running. I love the sense of freedom it gives me", admits specialist trailrunner Emelie Forsberg after welcoming us in her quaint wooden house located near Chamonix in the French Alps. It's early in the morning and Emelie, with her usual smile, is ready to go with her trainers on and backpack full. Today we'll join this elite athlete on a typical training day.
Silence reigns all around her house, and as far as the eye can see there are only mountainscapes. "I couldn't live anywhere but in a place like this. I love the feeling of being a part of nature", she tells us before getting into her car, a SEAT Leon X-PERIENCE. Emelie grew up in Härnösand, in northern Sweden, but moved here a few years ago to be close to nearly every major competition and to be able to train in the French Alps. "With this car I can go wherever I want to on any kind of road and explore the mountains farther away from where I live", she says sitting at the wheel.
When she gets out to start training, in the middle of the mountains, Emelie loses all notion of time. She usually puts in an average of 30 hours a week, but depending on the discipline, such as mountaineering, she can spend up to eight hours a day. It's amazing to see how effortlessly she climbs, faces extreme ascents or runs up and down peaks. Emelie began competing at an international elite level only three years ago and she is already considered one of the world's best trail runners and ski mountaineers.
"I haven't stopped running since I was a little girl. I've always run from one place to another, and probably always will. I mean, why walk when you can run? It's a lot easier to run", she says with a giggle.
Her most recent accomplishment was winning the women's category of the latest edition of the Ultra Pirineu, a 110 kilometre race with a 6,800 metre ascent held in the Cadí-Moixeró national park, which she ran in a record time of 13 hours and 39 minutes. When recalling the effort required to achieve that kind of result, Emelie claims that while running "I never think about how tough it is – just about how lucky I am to be running and living out my dream".
For Emelie, reaching any mountain top is "truly special". Watching her train high up in the peaks she almost seems able to touch the sky and the clouds. Sitting on a rock to rest and admire the landscape, she admits that crossing the finish line first is important to her, although what makes her really happy is simply running and being surrounded by nature.