New Friend of NAIA*

Running for the Hills

Meet André Jonsson

Hi André, how are you doing?
Hi, it’s all good, thank you!

What have you been up to today?
I was out biking for a few hours in the morning and then I started to unpack all the bags that’s been lying in the hallway since I got home from various adventures.

We happen to know that you just got home from two competitions in Italy. How did it go?
That’s right! I ran two races down there. I felt strong, but unfortunately I didn’t get the results that I was hoping for. The races was at a high altitude, and with all the travel difficulties lately it’s been hard to prepare well. I had a really hard time with the thin air.

How come you became a trail runner?
Before I started investing more time in trail running, I have practiced many different cardio sports and always ran as a complement. If you live where I do, in the middle of nowhere, with no access to running tracks or athletics clubs, you naturally end up out in the woods or the mountains.

How long is the longest distance you have run?
Transgrancanaria, 85 km, 2015.

Was it tough?
It was awful, haha 😂 I had just started running more trail after a few years of cycling and was far from prepared. But I managed to crosse the finish line without embarrassing myself. My favorite distance right now is between 40–60 km at 2 000–4 000 altitude meters.

What do you think is the most important strength of becoming a good long-distance runner?
A lot is about mental strength. When you’re in a long-distance race, you will hit tough periods. and when you do it’s important to keep the negative thoughts away and hang in there until the body follows.

How do you avoid injuries?
First of all, it’s important to take care of your body. If you do your stretching and some yoga, you’ll be able to train more. Unfortunately, I’m not very good at that so I have suffered a lot of unnecessarily injuries.

What is the toughest race you have run so far?
Toughest as in hardest: There are several examples of when it got really hard, but on the Haigh Trail Vanoise in Val d’sere 2017 (70 km at 5 500 altitude meters), it was disgustingly hard because it went very well. Then I suddenly hit the wall, only 10 km from the finish line. However, it was only downhill left, so it was still possible to keep up some good speed. I was really groggy afterwards though.

Toughest as in coolest: Trofeo KIMA is a legendary race in Italy, very technical with several parts of scrambling (running over rough or steep ground) and via ferrata (climbing passages). Also, it only goes every two years which makes it even more special. It went well for me in 2018. 2020 was canceled of course, so now I’m looking forward to the race 2022 which is my biggest goal.

Which NAIA* do you prefer?
Passion is my all time favorite. Sweet and fresh, without being sugary.

Want to know more about André, follow him on Instagram @andre8503