Wow!! What a weekend… That really was RunLikeCrazy at its craziest so far.. I’m just lucky I had some buddies to enjoy it with. To be honest, if Chip hadn’t have come to run with me, I think I would have failed this weekend.
So what happened exactly, you ask? Roskilde Music Festival happened, that’s what.. I’ve always wanted to go to this festival, supposedly the biggest in mainland Europe for some years. It’s an 8 day festival, but the bands only play for the last 4 days, so plenty of punters show up on Sunday, set up their themed tent cities and enjoy late nights drinking and falling about before they even get into the music.. I’d heard about it for years and missed my opportunity to go while living in London a decade ago. This year is about having all these experiences, not just running, so I locked it in and bought the tickets.
I just re-read that post while sitting on the plane heading to Mongolia. I was in such a rush that I missed any serious description of the festival itself.. plus the fact that one of the other main characters of the story was albeit but completely missed out! In fact, it was probably the story of the weekend for me! Extraordinary… It just goes to show that my brain is beginning to switch off.. I’ve added the story below:
When the Sultan and I arrived at Roskilde, I came sans tickets.. They’d been lost in a paint storm at my sister’s business. I was worried we wouldn’t get in, but the Sultan’s old mate Dr. John Barnes, was on hand to figure out the mess, as he was living in Sweden and could converse with the locals… in English of course..
So we lined up and Dr. John, who had been there from nearly the beginning of the festival, rocked up in some rather interesting pants. I’m tempted to call them pantaloons… He had all the right paperwork with him, which they took away and produced 2 more tickets for me. Crisis averted, thanks Doctor!
Things got pretty interesting though, when John asked me about where I’d grown up. He knew The Sultan from the Eastern Suburbs of Melbourne and they’d discussed the fact that I was from out there too.. The conversation went something like this:
Doctor: “So mate, you and I are the same age and you grew up in Tecoma.. I find it hard to believe I don’t know you, as I grew up in Belgrave (the next suburb).”
Bone: “Yeah mate, nah mate, yeeeah… (haha, that’s me being Aussie As!) I went to school in the city, so didn’t really know too many people in the Hills.”
Dr: “Ah, ok.. Well where did you live?”
B: “Up Sandals Road.. On the corner of Belgrave-Ferny Creek Road”
Dr: “I lived in Bayview Road, not far from Ferny Creek Road.”
B: Stares at the Doctor for a minute, as his brain reaches deep into it’s darkest recesses to find fragments of old information. Somewhere, somebody turns on a light bulb.
“Doc, do you have a brother?”
Dr: “Yeah, Sam! Everyone knows my brother, that must be it!”
B: “No mate, I lived in Bayview Road when I was about 8 years old. My brother and I used to hang out with 2 other brothers named John and Sam that lived a few doors down.. Holy Crap!?”
Dr: “Holy Smokes!”
Sultan: “Praise be to Allah!”
B: “We played Frogga on your Atari dude.. That was 25 years ago! Hot Damn!”
Sultan: “Barbequed Camel!”
And so the shock of meeting a childhood friend in the middle of a massive music festival in Denmark continued to sink in. We were stunned, but used expletives and references to spiritual beings to convey our disbelief in the situation. Sufficed to say, the good Doctor is a magnificent lad, who met a beautiful Swedish girl in Adelaide and realised that to keep her he must move basically anywhere she wants. Even if that meant taking up professional gambling… Ain’t love grand!?!
We’re all Meredith Music Festival stalwarts to (basically the greatest music festival on the planet in country Victoria), so we were ready to see what the Danes had to offer when it came to getting crazy.. And, boy, do these kids like to party!?! 120,000 people getting loose for 4 days, then they actually start the music! 4 days of music sees the rest of the punters show up and the whole area cops a good battering. Everyone was super drunk and they had a number of different stages going. Beautiful Scandinavians everywhere, plenty of drunk Aussies too. And strangely, no police! Security were around, but not obvious. It was a relaxed & fun time had by all, with no particularly aggressive behaviour..
There was a catch to adding in this madcap music adventure though. I can’t get too far behind on the marathon schedule, so I made the commitment that if I was to go to this festival, then I would also need to bank a marathon somewhere across the weekend. It’s midsummer here, so the Scandinavian countries have a lot of races on. Originally the plan was to fly to Norway and run outside of Oslo.. The cost and time of that effort turned out to be pretty difficult to manage though, so I stared at a map for a while and my trusty race calendar – marathons.ahotu.com – and found that there were 2 marathons in nearby Southern Sweden that we could reach. One was having its inaugural year and the other had been going for a few years, so for safety’s sake, I chose the latter.
So the schedule looked something like this:
- Arrive from St Petersburg, Russia, hire car and meet up with the Sultan to head to Festival and meet up with the Doctor
- Chip arrives at Festival, coming from Australia, via London
- Get up at 4am with Chip, leave campsite
- Drive to Kristianopel, Sweden
- Run marathon number 27 with the Mighty Chippa
- Get back in car drive to Roskilde
- Rock the hell out in celebration!
- Enjoy day off at the Festival – watch Prince dance the house down!
- Fly to London to meet up with Bec & head to Pamplona, Spain, for the Running of the Bulls
Yep, that’s exactly how Saturday was planned and exactly how it was executed. Chip and I got to bed at about 10pm on Friday night, did our best to sleep in a tent with tunes pumping across the hills around us until the alarm startled us at 4am. We both dutifully got up, broad Scandinavian Summer daylight welcoming us to our epic day.. We didn’t mess around, we got in the car and started to drive toward Sweden.
It was a lovely drive, through spectacular countryside. We made great time, only stopping once to get a couple of bread rolls and to find out Brazil was out of the World Cup! We got to the tiny little village on the Kalmarsund Strait, on the Eastern Coast of Sweden. It’s obviously a holiday retreat area, with a number of yachts moored in a marina, but you could tell the community themselves were responsible for creating the race and a relaxed atmosphere. We walked into the town hall and registered, told them of our story and they were thrilled to have us at their event. They organisers could believe that we’d come all the way from Roskilde, let alone the music festival, just to participate. To be honest, we couldn’t believe it either, but we still had our festival armbands to prove it.. Ha!
There were only about 60 runners in both the marathon and half marathon, but it was also to be the regional championships, so the field looked like it had some pretty quick guys & girls. It was very much a local club run, but there were a number of runners from other towns and cities. It was called the Kustmaran, or Coast Marathon, and had a distinct friendly feel about it, which made me very glad I’d chosen this race, mainly based on the pictures from the 2009 event. Check out their site.
The race kicked off and everyone eased into their own paces pretty quickly. Chip was having knee difficulties, so we had planned to aim for 3:45 and see what happened. As we moved along through the first 10km, I was having difficulty shortening my stride quite that much, so I was dragging Chip faster than he’d have liked.
We ran along with a feisty Iranian guy named Farzad.. He was pretty excited about pumping out his 26th marathon. We had some great conversation, but I must admit, I was just happy to be running with a good mate. It’s rare that I get the opportunity to share the true nature of this journey with someone, so having Chip next to me, taking in the sites and sounds of this remote race was really very special.
And it really was beautiful! Every time you looked up from the lonely road in front of us, you could take in the extraordinary beauty of the Swedish countryside. Utterly amazing!! So lush and abundant. Green forests on one side, massive hay bails rolling through a field on the other. You just couldn’t imagine this paradise stuck under metres of snow, as it is in Winter..
We pushed on and saw the strong runners powering back along the out-&-back course. Chip was needing to slow down from halfway, so we backed off some more and lost Farzad. I was enjoying his tales of persecution as a Kurd in Iran… well, not enjoying, but it very interesting and was certainly passing the time.
The support crews at each check point got more and more boisterous as we kept moving to the end. Most of them knew who we were and what we were up to. One fella, Per, stopped me to tell me about his trip to Australia. He was a genuinely good guy and was ready to get to know us, but we still had some kilometres to kill, so we had to keep moving.
Chip was running out of juice by then too. We were cutting it a little too fine to the 4 hour mark, so I had to start getting on his case every time he needed a walk break. He was jet-lagged from a flight all the way from Australia and I had made him sleep in a tent at a rock festival the night before, so really, I needed to be a bit careful about how much I harassed him. He was recently engaged to the lovely Sian too, so I managed to get some more conversation out of that, trying to take his mind off how much the end of a marathon sucks!
We got through it just in time.. In the final kilometres Chip found another gear and pushed on. We finished in 3:59.11!
The best part of this race was the setting and the people involved. We both had a massage and ended up next to the docks eating a feast and soaking up the beauty of Sweden in Summer. It really doesn’t get much better. Really…
Then a marathon drive back to Denmark had us get to Roskilde to watch a few big acts smash it out on the main stage! Muse played well and The Prodigy screamed their hearts out. I got pretty drunk, in celebration of course, and managed to stay up till 4am. I even had a couple of girls up on my shoulders!! It was probably a pretty stupid thing to do after the marathon, but beer and music makes you do strange and wonderful things.. When I did pass out, I had a little smile on my face. I mean, who goes to one of the world’s biggest music festivals and leaves halfway through to switch countries for a day to smash out a marathon??
RunLikeCrazy does, that’s who!! Ha!
The next day we lazed about and did our best to catch a few more acts despite the heat. I thought I was done, unable to really get excited about the rest of the gigs that final day, but after a little kip in the grass, I fired up just in time to see one of my favourite Ozzie bands, The Temper Trap.
Then, late that night, the one and only Prince hit the stage. I really didn’t expect too much, but once he got the crowd moving and played Purple Rain, the show became one of the most impressive musical events I’ve ever witnessed. I mean, all he had to do was turn and shake his butt a little and the whole crowd lost their crap! It was wild! There were 3 encores!! I loved it all..
On Monday, nice and early, Chip, the Sultan and I got up, packed our tents and left the festival. We had plenty of time till our flight, so we wandered around Roskilde town with some fat sandwiches at 7am and checked out the biggest Cathedral in Scandinavia. Pretty impressive stuff! Roskilde itself is a gem of a town, so if you’re ever driving about aimlessly in Denmark, pop in for a look.. ha!
We ended our journey together at the airport. The Sultan headed back to keep Dubai afloat and Chippa and I flew to London. In London we hugged out our goodbyes. Thanks for being with me fellas! Please read The Sultan’s magnificent festival report here!
In London, I bee-lined it to my Sister, Alexis’, business, The Happiness Centre. I had an hour when I got there. One of the things I needed to do was unlock my new iPhone!! It had been brought to me from Australia – from the hands of Gods, on the wings of Angels! I was over the moon. Now all I have to do is get a European data plan that doesn’t chew through $20 a day. Anyone??
I hugged my lovely Sis, who looked really worried about me. I must have looked terrible. But it was time for the next part of the adventure! Pamplona and the Running Of The Bulls!! I was meeting Bec Sherwill in Luton airport, so I had to get going. I cut it fine again, but got there in time to get a huge hug from Bec and the start of one of the most insane weeks of my life…
How could it possibly get more crazy?!
(Roll credits…cut to commercial…)
I’m in Moscow now. That was already 12 days ago and the things that happened since will blow your mind.. They almost blew mine. It involved bulls, fiestas, over 3000kms of driving and the two hardest marathons of my life – 2 alpine marathons in 2 days..
But this morning I flew into Moscow, a place I’ve never been, and I’ve spent 9 hours on the internet trying to catch up. It’s 35˚C outside and I haven’t seen one street of this amazing city. And tonight I fly to Mongolia for my 100km race on Wednesday. Does that make sense?!
So I will leave it there. Sufficed to say, this adventure is getting so out of control that I can scarcely believe it’s real any more. I often wonder if I’m about to drop my bundle and lose my marbles.. Livin the dream people…Livin the dream…
I want to make three mentions here:
My outstanding friends Cam Blair and Paul Hawkes will lead a rag tag bunch of heroes (Teams RunLikeCrazy and JogLikeCrazy) in a 96km trek in Queensland called the Kokoda Challenge. They’ll cover 5000 metres of ascent and descent. They’ll tough out a trail that emulates and remembers our famous Diggers. They’ll raise money for PNG Projects and Kokoda Kids and they will conquer their fears and become Champions forever more. I’ll be thinking of you fellas. I believe in you!
Also, I want to officially welcome the Ken and the amazing people at Krys & Associates from the Cayman Islands as my first major sponsor. They’re giving me $10 for every race kilometre I do this year, which is a HUGE help.
They’ve also introduced me to a new charity that is definitely worth supporting. Facing Africa are doing an amazing job of providing care for children in Africa that have been struck down by NOMA. It’s a disease caused by lack of sufficient nutrition and leads to death or terrible disfigurement. I urge you all to look at the link to Facing Africa and consider what you can do to help. A small donation goes a very, very long way to helping an innocent child in need – you can donate via the big panel on the right of the screen!
And we’re still supporting child education with UNICEF!! So please check out the Everyday Hero account and help where you can.. $10 is the price of a movie ticket… and I’m sorta like a real life movie-star! ….sorta…
100km race on Wednesday 21st of July. Keep an eye out on Facebook.com/RunLikeCrazy, as the MYLAPS race Spectator will be hopefully available there to watch all day Wednesday. It’s either me or the Tour de France, right?!
And that’s me done.. Your ongoing support of my mission is everything I could have hoped for. Thank-you for believing in me.. I’ll be in the wilderness for this race, so you won’t hear from me till next weekend sometime. Till then, stay awesome, stay beautiful and remember….
YOU’RE ALL BLOODY CHAMPIONS!!