2023 Lost


2023 in one word…”lost”

The idea to write a yearly blog about my battle for life may well come to an end. The intention to fight for my life and share the story with the world, has reached a new low. The "share" part made way for silence. It has become harder and harder to talk about the less fortunate side of my life, the many sad moments, the many tears, the pain, the anger, the powerlessness against the pain but even more, the powerlessness against unknown individuals who have made my life a living hell.
The previous blog should have been the last, but it’s important for myself to get this out in the open and find some closure.
I write this blog not for you - I write it for myself. For those who read it, be aware that not every life is fun, that there are people who struggle every single day, that not all people are as lucky as you are. And still…we try to live our life as best as we can. To all of you out there, who struggle like I do - give yourself a big applause - you are doing great - keep up the good work.

So, about 2023
The year started out okay…I guess. There was running. I never stopped doing what I love the most - running and taking pictures. You could always find me in some deep forest or on top of a mountain. Most of the time, just by myself - just me and nature. I also ran some trail events but not as much as I used to.

End of story.

Life has changed drastically the past couple of years in a way that I never saw coming.

I lost my faith in people
(Let these will be my final words to all assholes out there)

If you have read this blog in the past, you may know that I have been targeted by a group harassing runners. 2023 was no different. You may have noticed that I haven't posted much on Instagram, you may have noticed that I do not comment on posts the way I did before. Most of the year I tried not to look on Instagram at all.

Why? Every time I commented on specific Instagram posts, every time I posted a picture running with others - especially female runners - the harassment began. I don't mind the dirty personal messages or even the threats, I can deal with that. But it didn't stop with words…it got physical.
A couple of times when I returned from a run, my car was trashed with eggs and dirt - apparently they knew exactly where I was running. So I needed to move to a different location.
My name was trashed on a Facebook runners group. They pictured me as a "dirty man" who can't keep his hands to himself. The post was removed but the damage was done.
A couple of times I was followed by two guys on their mountain bikes while I was running in my forest. They yelled my insta name - probably to scare me or to find out where my car is parked - for their eggs I guess.
It came to my attention that my name also got trashed on social running events. Multiple private messages confirmed this.

I cannot defend myself from lies spread by others. It's just me against a group of assholes. The info I gathered through the years have given me a good idea who these people are. I've learned a lot thanks to many PMs and that made me very sad. I learned that many who I thought were my friends, are friends with these bastards. You comment on their posts, you run together with these creeps as nothing ever happened.
Yes, that makes me sad. No, I don't hold a grudge. I have moved on.

I have always been my friendly self, I've never hurt anyone, I've never laid a finger on anyone, I've never bothered anyone. As a matter of fact, I've always been there for everyone who needed my help with no strings attached. Was it a mistake to trust people? No, we all make mistakes. But ask yourself this: have you ever reached out for others in need? Have you had the decency to ask if one is ok?

I lost being normal

What I didn't expect to happen is that I got isolated from the world. I didn't realize it at the beginning, but it got clear to me when people suddenly did not want to run with me anymore. Everytime I asked someone to go on a run, they were injured, they had other obligations, they needed a rest from running or they just didn't show up or canceled the running date. Everyone has his reason I guess. But when you make an Instagram or a Stava post on that same day, I feel like a complete fool.

But hey, no worries. Until you notice that months have passed and the only person
you see on your runs is the reflection of yourself in a puddle.

I can't and won't force anyone to run with me. I'm not looking for a group of runners to run with. One person is enough, one person who I can trust, one person who has my back, so we can motivate each other to keep going and become stronger. One person - once a month, I don't ask for much - so I thought. Seems this was mission impossible.

Your mind is a powerful tool, but it can also become your enemy. My first physical encounter with the creeps was in September 2022 during a 50K run which started in the dark. Being alone in the dark with them on my tail…yes I was scared. I didn't mention anything about this when posting my story on Instagram. But I remember that day as if it was yesterday. No friends during this ultra event, no one to cheer me up. Those who I came across, kept silent and ignored me. None of my friends gave me a “good job” afterwards, none commented on my post. The silence was very obvious.

2023 was full of the same. The eggs and all other encounters of yelling my name, following me with their mountain bikes, have marked me for life. It completely changed my mindset and my motivation dropped below zero.

I stopped going to running events - I tried it for a while keeping myself in the background so no one would recognize me, but that was no fun.

I only run very early in the morning, preferably in the dark, when most are still sleeping. Stormy winds and heavy rainfall are my favorite weather because that will keep most people at home.

Past months I only ran in the biggest forests and tried to avoid all human contact. I stop many times and listen to any sound in the area, I constantly look around every time I hear a noise. It has become impossible to have a normal run anymore.

Sometimes tears appear out of nowhere - a rollercoaster of emotions.

I lost my smile

I've always been an open book person. I tell about my struggle and my pain.
Does talking about this make me a failure?
Am I a weak person who can't stand up for himself?
Is all of this my own fault?
Questions that I have been asking myself. Being an open book made me vulnerable and an easy target. Questions without answers. Do I need answers? Not really, answers won't give me back my smile.

I lost my biggest friend

In March 2023 my beautiful friend Otto suddenly passed away - he had just turned 8. Writing about it still brings tears into my eyes. I still miss him very much.
As a goodbye, I made a post on Instagram and Facebook. The creeps couldn't wait to send a mocking message. Delete - report - block…my three favorite Instagram activities. A couple of months later I almost lost my other four legged friend Sparky when he was attacked by a big dog. Life really sucks.

I lost my will to live

For the last 18 years I have been in severe pain. Seven years ago I was ready to end my life. I used the little energy that I had left and started running, running for my life. I never showed anyone that I was in pain, even the ones that ran with me, even when they saw me smile and enjoying myself there was pain behind the smile. I wanted to act as normal as possible. I didn't want a special treatment. Many times I had to fake some kind of injury because of the pain. During a run I would tell others to go ahead and not to wait for me because I had cramps or a sour foot. I didn't have to lie about it that much because I've broken pieces of my foot several times. Many times I had to drag myself back to the finish line of a running event. Almost a miracle that I could finish at all. It didn't matter that I finished last. Getting to the finish line has always been my victory. I know the pain will always be there, it will always be the thing that prevents me from having a normal life. I will carry it with me till the day that I die. Those who know me, also know that my biggest dream is to go-to sleep and never wake up again. I don't fear death, I embrace peace in my heart and everlasting silence. Death is not my enemy, life is. I like to run in the forest during a big storm even though it is prohibited. Being one with nature - asking nature to take me in his arms and put an end to all misery. The force of nature may feel overwhelming but is nothing to be afraid of. On the contrary, it makes me feel like I'm in the place where I belong.
I do not have the energy to defend myself against other threats, I need all my energy just to bear the pain.

I never asked for this fight.

I lost hope

It hasn't always been black and white. In the short period that I was a runner, I did some amazing things. A quick walk down memory lane:

  • I started running in March 2016. I called myself the stormrunner because no storm could keep me from running, rain, stormy wind, hail and even lighting…my favorite weather. (And still is)
  • I was asked to be the running ambassador for a sports store and helped others with start2run 5km.
  • My second year as an ambassador - start2run 10km.
  • I found the love for trail running. My favorite distance was 21km.
  • I was invited by Ikea for lunch after I had posted my love for a cardboard stand of an Ikea girl that I accidentally killed while taking a selfie during a city run.
  • I ran my first 44km run, just to see how far I could go.
  • The first Corona lockdown. I had some amazing friends during that time. In the same period, the harassment began.
  • It was also the turning point. My first major injury. I ruptured a piece of my right foot ankle bone during a trail run with a group of runners. They left me injured on top of a hill. I had to crawl my way back on my own.
  • August 2020: after many beautiful hikes and trail runs with friends, after working very hard to get back on my feet, I ran my first ultra distance.
  • September 2020: I ruptured my ligaments during a hike in the mountains and had to walk almost 18km back to my car in pain.
  • Runnersworld published my story in their New year edition - one of the proudest moments in my life. After it was published, the harassment stepped up to the next level. A moment of glory became a living hell.
  • I was asked to be one of the ambassadors for the trail-series running event.
  • I ran my third ultra distance.
  • My second year as the ambassador for trail series.
  • My fourth and fifth ultra distance and the first time the harassment became physical.
  • 2023…you are reading it.

There were many beautiful moments - all caught in thousands of pictures. Only some of these pictures were published with a story on Instagram. All other pictures are just memories of times that have been.

I remembered being proud of the first years as a runner, the amazing things I had done. I'm proud of myself that I've never given up, even with a body that is still fighting me, even after all severe injuries, I've always found the strength to bounce back, I've always found a way to deal with the extra pain.

Today I feel like I have failed myself and don't have the energy to keep going.

I can't do this on my own.

Slot words

I'm not suicidal I don't want to die in pain, my life is already in pain.

But I want to find peace, I deserve peace, I deserve to be without pain. I have suffered enough. Please leave me alone. I just want to make the best of the little time that I have left.

2023 will go in my book as the the year that the world lost a man who just wants the pain to stop, the year the world lost deadmanrunning.

My final words…

I have fallen so many times but always got back up.
I have broken so many things but always kept going.

And still…I lost.