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Race Report: TRIBE Run for Love 5

Our dear friend Greg embarked on an epic adventure in Sweden, covering 225k and 6,700D+ over 5 days while camping in the wilderness.

tribe run for love 5 runners highway
Image: Leo Francis

TRIBE Run for Love 5 is an epic multi-day running adventure, following the spectacular Swedish High Coast Trail that stretches through the unique Höga Kusten UNESCO World Heritage Site. Run For Love is more than a race. It's where an amazing group of people come together and support each other to take on a momentous challenge to support the fight against modern slavery. This year's edition of Run for Love saw 60 runners take on 225k across the High Coast of Sweden in 5 days camping each night through the Scandinavian Wilderness. This is a great opportunity for relative newbie runners to enter the world of ultra-running as part of a supportive group of people. Most of the group completed the 5 days, with a new group joining us on Day 4 to take on the last 100k.

Distance: 100k, 225k (same course)

Where: Höga Kusten, Sweden

When: September

Cost: £750 (100k) and £1,200 (225k). This includes all transport to the start and finish line.

How to Enter: Register on the event website

The Event

This year marked the 10th anniversary of the Run for Love, started by TRIBE founders Tom, Guy, and Rob. In 2013, they embarked on a 1,000-mile run from Odesa (Ukraine) to Dubrovnik (Croatia) to combat child trafficking. Their efforts led to the establishment of the TRIBE Freedom Foundation in March 2017. Since 2013, the Run for Love series has raised over £1.2 million to fight modern slavery. The current goal is to raise £200,000 to support the foundation, aiding the 136,000 people enslaved in the UK and the estimated 50 million global victims. This year's event was supported by RatRace, who organized the route and ensured runner safety. There was also a dedicated team of medics and volunteers who cheered us on at every 10k checkpoint.

foggy landscape sweden
Image: Leo Francis

The Course

The course followed the coastline along Sweden's Hoga Kusten and World Heritage Trails. It possesses the world's tallest coastline, standing at around 286 meters above sea level. Thanks to a geological phenomenon known as post-glacial land uplift, which has been ongoing since the last ice age, the land is steadily ascending at a rate of about 8 millimeters annually. The course has a total elevation of 6,708D+ which might not be impressive compared to alpine races, but it is still worth noticing compared to other races in Sweden that are mostly flat.

runner wood sun
Image: Leo Francis

Starting at Hornoberget, we were surrounded by stunning landscapes, including Barsta by the sea, Norrfallsviken with its unique natural reserve, the picturesque Lappudden overlooking Vågsfjärden, and the rugged terrain of Naske in Vasternorrlands Lan. The trails, marked by dirt paths, rocks, roots, steps, and boardwalks, demanded constant attention and offered breathtaking views of seas, islands, and lakes. We had to navigate challenging climbs and descents, relying on GPX files for direction. Although I attempted to follow the paths set by other runners, which led to a few wrong turns.

tribe run for love 5 sweden course
The full 225k course. The 100k race covers the last 2 stages/

My Race

Day 1

We woke up feeling a mix of excitement and jitters and hit the trail at 6:30 a.m. after a quick bite to eat. I made sure to take it easy, saving my energy for the week ahead, as we tackled everything from tricky paths to steep slopes. Crossing the Högakustenbron bridge was a sight to behold once the fog cleared, revealing the beauty of the Swedish landscape with pine trees basking in the sun and lakes sparkling blue. Our trusty watches and GPX navigation helped us stay on course. Arriving at the finish line, I felt reasonably good, but keen to finish to recover for the next day. Went for a skinny dip and then had an early night.

Day 2

Day two was soggy right from the start. We climbed out of our tents after a restless night and started at 7:30 a.m. The rain just wouldn't let up, soaking us completely. Despite the lousy weather and cloudy views, we kept going. We had to deal with a bunch of challenges, like wading through rivers and handling tricky spots with ropes. Rocks and beach crossings made things even harder. It was tough mentally, but I was lucky to have a great bunch by my side. After around 9 hours of pushing through, we did it. My shin hurt, but the medics helped before I crashed out for some much-needed sleep.

runners tribe run for love 5
Image: Leo Francis

Day 3

A slightly easier day greeted us on day three, marked by kinder weather and sunlit coastal trails. We followed the shoreline for a good part of the day, which lifted morale considerably. Road running helped us cover ground faster, and the pain in my shin subsided, thanks to some strategic taping. With an early finish, we enjoyed a relaxing evening at the campsite.

Day 4

The fourth day was the longest, a daunting 61k stretch. Waking up at 3:30 am in the rain, we started at 5 am with head torches illuminating our way. The views were marred by fog, but the camaraderie among runners kept us going. A massive climb at 54km proved tough, with my legs screaming at me to stop. But pushing through, I navigated the descent, reaching the final checkpoint where a campfire and marshmallows provided a brief respite. I navigated the final stretch of technical terrain and finally crossed the line with my ankle in bad shape. The campsite was basic with no showers, but I was thankful for the medical attention!

sweden countryside
Image: Leo Francis

Day 5

Despite a swollen ankle, I was determined to finish. Medics provided taping and medication which eased the pain. Starting at 8 a.m., we hit the longest stretch of road running, a tough challenge for my ankle. My run turned into a shuffle, then a hobble, as we passed through seemingly deserted towns. The slow hobble persisted until we finally spotted signs of civilization. I pushed through, crossing the finish line, marking the end of our incredible, albeit grueling, 5-day adventure.

Nutrition: Large selection of bars, gels, dehydrated meals, and the trusty TRIBE bars

Final Scorecard

Course ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Stunning landscape and views

Logistics ⭐⭐⭐⭐

Atmosphere ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐

Medal & Tee ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐


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