Weekend Warm-Up: The Kristina Madsen Story

Danish professional trail runner Kristina Madsen is no stranger to leaping into the unknown. After quitting her job as a teacher, she forged a promising career in endurance running, collecting records and titles as she blew past the skeptics. Winning ultras and marathons and setting FKTs (fastest known times) did not stop her from tackling one of the biggest challenges of all: the Bob Graham Round. 

The challenge was named after a humble guesthouse owner who, after a night in the pub, got inspired to run the 42 fells of the Lake District within 24 hours, a total of 100km. The trail combines both running and climbing. After hearing the buzz around this challenge, Madsen decided to swap the flat and familiar lands of her native Denmark for the unpredictable terrain of England’s Lake District. 

The Lake District. Photo: Shutterstock


Rain did not deter her from the dark, 4 am start to the first leg from Keswick to Threlkeld (21.5km). Navigating in heavy rain was difficult but she and her team clocked in at an impressive 3 hours and 12 minutes.

The rest of the journey featured fatigue, fog, and rain. Some team members were unable to keep up. The many peaks made Leg 4 the most difficult, and her body finally started to feel tired. Nevertheless, her perseverance landed her an amazing achievement of 18 hours and 45 minutes. 

During her journey, she couldn’t help but reflect on how her life has panned out. Expectations and norms went out the window when she chose to run “closer to the meaning of her life”. Madsen may not have found that meaning yet but every race brings her closer. Every step she takes, a piece of herself and her purpose is revealed…