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Jesper Olsen (runner)

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Jesper Olsen (runner)

See also Jesper Olsen, Danish soccer player.
Jesper Olsen
Personal information
Full name Jesper Kenn Olsen
Nationality Danish
Born (1971-07-02) July 2, 1971
Copenhagen, Denmark
Residence Denmark
Height 1.79 m (5 ft 10 in)
Weight 70 kg (150 lb)
Website .orgworldrun
Country Denmark
Sport Running
Achievements and titles
Personal best(s)

10 km: 31:29
½ Marathon: 1:08:10
Marathon: 2:27:57
100 km: 6:58:31
100 mi: 15:26:09
6 days: 780 km

Longest distance: 26,232 km (2005)
Longest run: 662 days (2005)

Jesper Olsen, or Jesper Kenn Olsen, is an multiple national record holder ultra distance runner from Denmark, and was the second person verified to have run around the world (16,000 miles: 2004-2005), as well as the first verified to have run around the world in a north-south rather than east-west direction (25,000 miles: 2008-2010, 2011-2012, due to 6-month illness and injury).


  • Background 1
  • Running 2
  • World runs 3
    • World Run I 3.1
    • World Run II 3.2
  • Books 4
  • Personal bests 5
  • See also 6
  • References 7
  • External links 8


Olsen has a master's degree in political science from Copenhagen University, Denmark. He also has a law degree.[1]


Olsen has been a marathon runner since the age of 15. He has achieved various milestones, including the European elite on 100 km and 24-hours; the national recordholder on 100 km, 24-hours and 6-days (6:58, 224 km, 549 km), the national elite on marathon (2:27),[1] as well as the Cliff Young Australian 6-day race in November 2004, running 756 kilometres, and the South African 6-day race in April 2008 with a total of 685 kilometres.[2]

Following positive reception of his proposal of a world run in 2001, Olsen also founded the World Run project as the organization to undertake the attempt and its support.

World runs

World Run I

The concept of Olsen's world run originated as a suggestion made in 2001 by Olsen to David Blaikie, who published it with an invitation for comments on his website[3] Olsen suggested that, without taking sides in then-current controversies in the ultra-running world, a professionally organized world run would be a "constructive" and "truly sportsman[like]" response to widespread ultrarunner community skepticism and discussion concerning Robert Garside's world run, which had been in progress since 1997 but was viewed with great skepticism by Blaikie and many ultra-runners and had not yet been authenticated by Guinness at the time.[3][4] In his letter, Olsen stated that while he was "fairly new to the 'real' ultra-running" world, he did hold the Danish national record for the 100km run (6:58:31) and for the 24-hour run (223km), had been running marathons since around 1986 (15 years), and having finished a degree, was able to commit the time required if the proposal gained the necessary support from others.[3]

Olsen's run around the world took 22 months. It started on 1 January 2004 and finished on 23 October 2005.[5] His route consisted of: London-Copenhagen-Moscow-Vladivostok-(air)-Niigata-Tokyo-(air)-Sydney-Perth-(air)-Los Angeles-Vancouver-New York-(air)-Shannon-Dublin-(air)-Liverpool-London. Olsen averaged 28 miles (45 km) a day, slightly more than a marathon.[5][6][7][8][9][10] It totalled just over 16,000 miles (26,000 km),[5] exceeding the distance of the first verified walk around the world (Dave Kunst, 1970-1974, 14,452 miles (23,123 km))[11] but around (or slightly under) half the distance of the first verified run around the world, when Garside's run was eventually verified by Guinness in 2007 (Robert Garside, 1997-2003, estimated 30,000 - 40,000 miles (48,000 - 64,000 km))[12][13] During most of the run, Olsen pushed a baby carriage,[14] in which he kept food, beverages, a tent, and other equipment. While running through Russia and half of the U.S., he was aided by a support car transporting these supplies. From London to central Siberia he was accompanied by Alexander Korotkov of Russia, who planned to run around the world with Olsen but gave up in central Siberia. [1]

In October 2006, Jorden Rundt i Løb ("World Run" in English) was published.[15]

World Run II

Olsen and Sarah Barnett ran the North-South route starting on 1 July 2008. The North-South run aimed to complete a distance of 40,000 kilometres (25,000 mi) with GPS tracking and live coverage, thus making it the world's longest fully GPS-documented run. The run went from top to bottom of the globe and back, running across four continents and a huge range of temperatures and terrain. It can be seen as a run in a circle around the world in southern, later northern direction with the poles excluded. It started at North Cape, Norway (1 July 2008) passing Helsinki, Finland (4 August), Copenhagen, Denmark (25 August), Budapest, Hungary (25 September), and Istanbul, Turkey (5 November). On December 1, 2008, near Silifke, Turkey, Barnett had to give up after 7,334 kilometres (4,557 mi), and Olsen continued alone. He passed Cairo, Egypt (1 January 2009) and Addis Abeba, Ethiopia (16 April). Cape Town in South Africa was reached by 15 March 2010, thereby completing the first half of the run and the first documented run through Africa, a distance of 21,449 kilometres (13,328 mi).[16][17][18][19][20][21]

Olsen spent more than six months recovering in Denmark due to dysenteria, malaria, and two operations to eliminate deep infections in his right arm.[22] He then continued his run on 1 January 2011 from Punta Arenas for the last half of the run, through South America and North America to Newfoundland . On 28 July 2012, Olsen announced on his website the completion of World Run 2 in Cape Spear, Newfoundland. [23]


In June 2014, Olsen's book "The Runner’s Guide to the Planet" was released on iTunes. Olsen also has two other books in Danish published on iTunes in January and April 2014. [24]

Personal bests

  • 10 km - 31:29 min
  • ½ marathon - 1:08:10 h
  • Marathon - 2:27:57 h
  • 100 km - 6:58:31 h
  • 100 miles - 15:26:09 h
  • 6-days - 780 km
  • Longest run: 26,232 km /1 lap (Earth) - 662 days [25]

See also


  1. ^ a b c World Run - Runners
  2. ^ Jesper Olsen wins South African 6-day race « Planet Ultramarathon
  3. ^ a b c How about a documented group run around the world?, letter by Olsen to David Blaikie/UltramarathonWorld", 2001-06-24: "Rather than trying to supply the debate [about Garside's run] with yet another view or perception of what is to believed and what not, I would like to offer a maybe more constructive approach... It is my point of view that should we of the ultra society act in a truly sportsman's spirit ... we should take up the challenge and do it the proper way and perform a truly documented run around the world! I am ready to do so, but not alone. As I see it, it adds to the reliability of such an event if it is conducted by a number of athletes and not by a solo runner and his crew..."
  4. ^ Group Letter, Jesper Olsen, December 2002: "We have had our first successful international media contacts... to explain about the basic principles of the World Run as well as about the difference between our concept of documentation vs. that of Robert Garside.... we have from the beginning had good contacts with Mr. Blaikie of the "" - from which site the whole idea of taking on the challenge of Mr. Garside originally came".
  5. ^ a b c The New York Times, 25 October 2005, RUNNING; Run Around World Tries a Man's Soles
  6. ^ "Jesper Olsen World Run Interview", Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team., September 7, 2009, accessed December 15, 2010.
  7. ^ Events > World Run | - Canada
  8. ^ Jesper Olsen Completes Australian Leg of World Run | Australia
  9. ^ David Ortez "Jesper Olsen Circles the Globe on Foot", Orato Media
  10. ^,7124,s6-243-292--8995-0,00.html Runner's World - Jesper Olsen 051021
  11. ^ Guinness World records: First circumnavigation by walking, as at 2014-04.
  12. ^ "Runningman" makes it into record books at last - Reuters, 2007-03-26
  13. ^ "Briton becomes first person to run around the world".  
  14. ^ World Run
  15. ^ World Run Book
  16. ^ Modern day Adventurers to run the World
  17. ^ Jesper Olsen and Sarah Barnett start their World Run
  18. ^ Jesper Olsen Completes Australian Leg of World Run
  19. ^ World Run II Project comes to GNP
  20. ^ Danish runner in Kingdom on mission ‘to celebrate the earth’
  21. ^ Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Denmark - WORLD RUN 2
  22. ^ WORLD RUN part II / 2010->
  23. ^ World Run two Completed
  24. ^ Books by Jesper Olsen on Itunes
  25. ^ WORLD RUN part II / 2010->

External links

  • Olsen's profile at
  • Olsen's World Run I media coverage
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