The King’s Trail is normally divided into stages. Abisko to Vakkotavare, via Kebnekaise, is 110 kilometres. From Saltoluokta to Kvikkjokk it’s 70 kilometres. Between Kvikkjokk and Jäkkvik, you’ve got 100 kilometres followed by the stretch Jäkkvik to Ammarnäs, which is 96 kilometres before you finish off with around 81 kilometres between Ammarnäs and Hemavan. The stretch Jäkkvik to Ammarnäs is often a surprise. Many claim that stretch is actually just over 80 kilometres, but then they’re talking about the shortcut across the reindeer enclosure in Biergenass. It’s original routing, along the trail past Rävfallsstugan, is nearly 100 km. That was a mistake Emelie Forsberg had made too. When she realised that she had almost 20 kilometres to go to Ammarnäs, instead of a couple of kilometres, it was tough going.
– The fourth stretch was the most difficult by far. Partly due to tough terrain. Partly due to that annoying miscalculation we’d made. I really had to dig deep to get through it.
– Thankfully several trail runners came and met me along the way. It really helped a lot, getting some positive response and realising that the village wasn’t that far away.
I ran the stretch Saltoluokta – Aktse once and that awakened my curiosity, that you can actually run in the mountains rather than walk.
So Emelie worked at the Saltoluokta Mountain Station a little over ten years ago. That’s also where she started her ‘record hunt’.
– Yes, it was so much fun finding old notes from 2007 where I’d written about the possible routes I wanted to run along the King’s Trail.
– After the mountain station, I worked in the Jämtland mountains, but the King’s Trail was in the back of my mind. I ran the stretch Saltoluokta – Aktse once and that awakened my curiosity, that you can actually run in the mountains rather than walk.
In 2012, when Emelie entered her first trail race, Zegama-Aizkorri Mendi Maratoia, she finished third. In her second trail race, The Dolomites Skyrace, she won. She started to understand that what she’d been doing on her own and for the fun of it at home in the Swedish mountains was something people actually competed in, in the Alps. She also quickly realised she was good at it. Even so, it took a couple of years before she admitted to herself that she was a successful athlete. To her, it’s always been about having fun outdoors, whether it is on skis, or running, or as the organic grower, she’s become.
– Of course, I like winning, it’s great. At the same time I know it doesn’t really matter. But being outdoors – that’s always good.