366 marathons in a year: ‘I can, I will, I’m going to do it’

| Rense Kuipers

The story of the Danish Annette Fredskov is a special one. In 2010, she was diagnosed with MS (multiple sclerosis). Instead of letting the nerve disease control her life, she took control. From August 2012, for a year, she ran a marathon every single day. Except for the last day; she ran two. Total distance: 15.443 kilometers, equal to 88 Batavierenraces.

‘We can do more than we think’, says Annette. She made an example of herself to prove this. But why marathons? ‘I fell in love with the marathon. It’s the perfect distance for me and it just felt right. Eventually, I was curious what we could do if our body and mind work together.’

Even though Annette has MS, she hasn’t shown any symptoms for the last four years. ‘Those disappeared when I started running and when I started thinking positively. That was a very conscious, mental training. Every day I said to myself a thousand times: ‘I can, I will, I’m going to do it!’ I made that phrase part of myself. I think it’s amazing what we can do, just by thinking positively.’

‘It’s all about pace’

Annette completed her marathons in around five hours. A conscious decision, she says. ‘It’s all about pace. If I would have run a marathon in four hours every day, I wouldn’t have been able to do it. I tried to use as little energy as possible.’ She saw her running that year as a daily job. ‘That’s something you just have to do every day. I never wondered if I wanted it, if this was crazy… I just got out of bed, ate breakfast with my family and went for a run.’

‘I became stronger’

Is running a marathon every day healthy? Annette has a surprising answer: ‘Doctors followed me during the year and every month they tested me. My bones became stronger, I lost fat and I gained muscles. I only needed an iron supplement from time to time. The doctors were astonished, but I haven’t been sick all this time. I’m not going to say it’s healthy, but I became stronger!’

With two marathons on the last day, Annette finished Project 366. She wanted to make the last day extra special, like a final. ‘When I crossed the line, the only thing I could think of was thank you, thank you, thank you. I couldn’t have done it without my family. I love running, but I love my husband and children more. But I also got a lot of support from other people, even ones I didn’t know. I had the feeling we did it all together, like I was a small piece of a very big puzzle.’

‘Always focus on the positive’

Now, Annette is training for her next big project. This June, she’ll be running a total of 1145 kilometers in twenty days, from her hometown Næstved to Paris, together with three other people. She will also be passing the Dutch village of Neeritter.

Does Annette have any advice for people running the Batavierenrace? ‘I hope people will think: If Annette can do this, why can’t I? Focus on what you can do and start believing in it, otherwise you’ll convince yourself that you can’t do anything. It doesn’t matter what your situation is, you can always do something about it. And always focus on the positive. It doesn’t matter if you’re tired during the race. Just think like this: if there’s a strong wind, it’s not raining and if it’s raining, there’s no thunder.’

This article can also be read in Dutch in the UT Nieuws Magazine of April 2015 | Dit artikel kun je ook lezen in het Nederlands in het UT Nieuws Magazine van april 2015.