markus torgeby, born in Sweden in 1976, is an extremely talented marathon and ultra runner who at the age of 20 decided to live in a hut in the forests of Jämtland. There he lived for four years as a hermit.
Nowadays Markus Torgeby is a frequent lecturer among organizations and companies. During 2015, he was part, together with among others Hans Rosling, of the estimated speaking tour Hjärntillskott (Brain Vitamin).
Markus also appears regularly in media such as Runners World, Outside and Tourism, and the section of the Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet popular Marathonpod where he’s interviewed is the pod’s most downloaded.
Markus is married and has three children and they split their time between Öckerö, outside Gothenburg, and Järpen in Jämtland.
Born to run meets Into the Wild (but with a happy ending)
During his teenage years Markus Torgeby turned out to be a very talented long-distance runner. It didn’t take long before he was discovered by an enthusiastic coach who set very high goals. However it showed up that he was best at training, during competitions he often failed inexplicably.
Soon he felt that the demands for constantly being on top, never being allowed to rest, worn him out. He describes how the situation at home with an MS-ill mother pressed him down at the same time as he also felt bad from his coach putting pressure on him.
When an injury put an end to the running, he lost his foothold in life. In order not to completely go under, he chose to do something that most of us only dream of: to get out of the whole rat race.
23 year old Markus Torgeby decides to move to one of the most isolated and cold regions of northern Sweden. He’s going to live right in the middle of the forest. In a lavvu. Alone. There he lived as a hermit for four years.
The only thing he kept was his running – his “drug”, the one thing that destroys him and that saves him, the one thing he can’t be without.
But more than an escape from something the hermit existence was a search for a direction in life.
My salvation was when I jumped out of the box and took away everything that is measurable: distances, speeds and times. It triggers but it also inhibits many of us.
The book is very well written and can be read both as a portrait of an extraordinary man and as a survival manual. It is full of practical tips on how to stay dry, warm and fed in order to make it in the wilderness. The book will certainly achieve cult status in the extreme sports circles, but it is well worth getting a wider readership than that.
It will not make you a better runner, but hopefully a wiser one. It’s obvious that it's positive to become better and improve yourself, but maybe it's good to have another entrance to it than pressure and stress. Take care of your head, that's where everything sits.
Read "Northern Exposure" by Markus Torgeby. I realize that I live completely wrong but late it is first when it is too late.
author of The Price of Water in Finistère on Twitter
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