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Torgeby has found his home in the forest

In a house outside Åre, new lessons are being spread about running

“It’s important just to be in the here and now. That we as a family go out that day on the marsh and take it all in with our eyes, not with the mobile. Being out more and making the most of the moments; that’s what’s important.”

When Markus Torgeby was 20 years old he left everything. For four years he lived alone in a tent in the forests of Jämtland. He ran, froze, ate porridge and was forced to learn just to be. Finally, he was ready to return to society. He took with him an enormous amount of experiences that he now uses to spread knowledge about a different way of looking at running. And life.

Markus took this knowledge with him to his partnership with the Swedish shoe company Icebug. A partnership that started in 2016 between Icebug and the running personality and author of the book The Runner: Four Years Living and Running in the Wilderness.

“When I met David and Tom, the founders of Icebug, it was almost the first time that no one asked me about my time for ten kilometres. Then I knew it was right. Our common goal is all about getting people out the door. That’s how we can start to change the world,” says Markus Torgeby.

Life is quite different now to the years alone in the forest. Markus met his wife, they had children and built a house in Öckerö. Life went on as they say. But in the Torgeby family, a feeling of wanting to live life in a different place and way began to take hold. The Jämtland forests called, the family answered and the move became reality.

“We didn’t want to go back to the tent again. But a feeling that things are better somewhere else began to take shape in earnest. And now, here in Åre, I can really say that life is better. The tranquillity here is completely different and we live the way we want to: simply, pared down and absolutely fantastic.”

The family now lives in a wooden house outside Åre. That is home now. Amongst the spruce and the silence. But also in the midst of the life that children offer. Markus still finds the tranquillity and the order he needs from his long runs on the marshes and in the forest.

“For me, running is now a window back on something I have nurtured. It’s the best medicine for everything. I believe it’s good to get the blood pumping. In real life, if you’re feeling low or restless – everything gets better when you get out.”

In real life, if you’re feeling low or restless – everything gets better when you get out.

When Markus Torgeby briefly explains his view of running today, it doesn’t sound like the usual talk about heart monitors and times to run 10 km. It’s more about what happens to you when you set off on a run in the forest and why you do it. This is part of what he brought from Jämtland and the tent.

“Before it was all about running as fast as possible. Now I have another approach and that’s what I want to be an ambassador for. If you broaden the way in to why you do things then there’s a greater chance you’ll continue. It doesn’t have to be about running 10 km in under 45 minutes, and the results don’t always have to be number one, but that you do it simply because you feel good out there.” Much of the film about Markus and his family’s life outside Åre is about getting the children out and being active because it’s fun. Activating children, for example, by letting them look for different birds and then painting them when they get home.

Markus’s perspective has broadened from being about running because he feels good doing it to the incredible importance of passing it on to the next generation. Daring to disconnect the mobile and letting the body do what it was made for – being active.

“It’s important just to be in the here and now. That we as a family go out that day on the marsh and take it all in with our eyes, not with the mobile. Being out more and making the most of the moments; that’s what’s important.”

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