22 November, 10:52
200 km, from Flensburg to Hamburg, DE
Running has brought me much closer to Nature. I think that if we spend much of our time immersed in Nature – running, walking or whatever it may be – we actually, after a while, can start feeling that we belong there. My name is Anders Hasselgren, I am 46 years old, I live in Swedish Gothenburg and I have 3 amazing kids. Today I am running about 200 kilometers without stopping, connecting the German cities of Flensburg and Hamburg. And passing many other small and big towns in between. For me, one of the greatest things about long distance running has been to start discovering and appreciating wild Nature more than ever before. I believe that when I run I am creating something. I have heard people saying that running two hours a day is a waste. 14 hours a week thrown away. What good does it make? But I believe I am creating something beautiful spending all these hours out in the woods. I am creating a sense of belonging, hour after hour, and sometimes it's not easy. Sometimes it's really hard, but then I tell myself: “You really have to do this! You have to run, because you are creating something good.” And then it starts growing again. I believe that the sense of happiness and relief that Nature gives me is a great starting point for taking action. There is something so wonderful and valuable we are all about to loose. It's important to understand it on a deep and personal level. As a Swede running in Germany I cannot avoid commenting on our state funded energy utility Vattenfall and it's impact here. German citizens have since few years back protested against the dirty energy solutions – coal plants and coal extractions in particular – that Vattenfall has been imposing on them. Entire villages and ancient forests are being destroyed and people have lost their homes to give space to large unhealthy open pit mines. Selling the mines now will not clean our consciences and the damages are here to stay. Nevertheless this area is also a beautiful example of communities refusing to remain passive. Citizens in Hamburg have actually been successful in taking back their energy grid from Vattenfall and started a process of democratization of the energy system. They took the power back. They have inspired other cities to do the same and attempt reversing the privatization process taking place all over Europe. Most importantly they found hope and a sense of belonging in their communities. They created something beautiful.