In the heart of the stunning Swedish wilderness, an unparalleled challenge awaited me and 700 plus brave souls ready to push their limits. The UTMB Kullamannen, a 100-mile ultramarathon, is not just a race; it's a test of endurance, resilience, and a deep connection with nature. In this blog post, I delve into the extraordinary experience of conquering the Kullamannen and explore the breathtaking landscapes that serve as both the backdrop and the adversary for this epic journey.

The UTMB Kullamannen: A Glimpse into the Challenge:

Organized as part of the prestigious Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) series, the Kullamannen is not for the faint of heart. The race spans a formidable 100 miles, taking participants through dense forests, challenging ascents, and picturesque landscapes. The course is designed to showcase the untamed beauty of Sweden while pushing runners to their physical and mental limits. This year’s experience differed in that it was run in reverse from previous years beginning in Hoganas and finishing in Båstad.

The Route: Nature's Rollercoaster

The UTMB Kullamannen course weaves through some of Sweden's most breathtaking regions, offering runners a diverse and challenging terrain. From the dense Kullaberg forests to the dramatic cliffs overlooking the Baltic Sea, each section of the course presents a unique set of challenges. Participants will find themselves navigating technical trails, rocky paths, and steep ascents, constantly adapting to the ever-changing landscape.


The heavy rain of the previous days really made this year’s experience very difficult, while many thought of fresh legs adding the treacherous double loop around Molle it became a knee high thrash as the trails began to break down with the heavy foot traffic and long queues prevented any real tempo from being developed, leading to fatigue earlier than expected for me and many others but having the experience and mindset I was able to clear the loops in high spirits and begin the journey to Ångleholm before dawn broke.

The Spirit of Kullamannen: Community and Camaraderie

Jesper and me battled to the finishline

While the UTMB Kullamannen is an individual challenge, the spirit of camaraderie among participants is palpable. The ultrarunning community comes together to support and uplift each other through the toughest stretches of the course. Aid stations, strategically placed along the route, become oases of encouragement, providing not just physical sustenance but also a sense of unity among runners.

By fair my favorite thing is the combination of people and adversity which helps to drive and push each other on. I meet so many familiar faces and some new and often at times me managed to drag each other round with warm hearts in the face of the cold winds and rain that we encountered along the way. I turned the corner of Torekov with Jesper by my side and knew the afternoon and evening where all that stood between us and the finish line.

The Mental Battle: Beyond Physical Endurance

Completing the UTMB Kullamannen is as much a mental triumph as it is a physical one. The long hours on the trail, navigating challenging terrain, and confronting the unpredictable weather demand a resilient mindset. Runners tap into their inner reserves, finding strength in solitude and drawing inspiration from the stunning landscapes surrounding them.

Hovs Hollar was the mental battle we all knew was coming as the trail at times often seemed to turn away from the goal. Lucky for me my family and little niece treated me at Kattvik with dancing and disco lights and I knew I would soon see the lights of båstad 

Preparing for the Kullamannen: Training and Gear

Success in the UTMB Kullamannen requires meticulous preparation. From a robust training regimen that incorporates both endurance and strength training to selecting the right gear for the unpredictable weather, participants must leave no stone unturned in their quest for success. Choosing the right shoes, hydration strategies, and nutrition plans are crucial elements in this preparation.

Here a layout of my most essential gear, the ASIC range serving me well as always and it’s such a credit to the ASICS team for developing such great gear that can handle the demands of Ultra racing, both functional and most importantly comfortable it is such a critical element in being successful.

A Triumph of Spirit and Nature

The UTMB Kullamannen is more than just a race; it's a symbiotic journey between the runner and nature. As participants traverse the stunning Swedish landscapes, they not only test their physical limits but also forge a deep connection with the untamed beauty that surrounds them. The Kullamannen is a celebration of the human spirit and the awe-inspiring power of the wilderness, leaving runners with a profound sense of accomplishment and a lasting bond with the trails they conquered.

So I managed to gain my second finish and ring number 2. In 2024 I will be back as I try to obtain the converted gold ring. With a little luck and a lot of it blood sweat and tears I hope it complete the trifecta and join an exclusive gold ring club. 

Till next time

Jessica

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portrait

Jessica Ståhl-Norris

skolkök i Båstad Kommun från Västra Karup

Åldersgrupp: 40År

Mina discipliner
Yoga / Pilates Ultramaraton Traillöpning

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