Peter is taking on Ultravasan to support research on spinal cord inflammations

On August 19th, Ultravasan takes place - a 90-kilometer long race through forests and rocky terrain along the classic Vasaloppet track. In a competition where most participants run, or at least jog, Peter Åberg will walk the entire distance in one go, with the help of his reliable poles. The reason is not only a unique personal challenge for Peter - he also wants to raise awareness and collect funds for Karolinska Institute's research on spinal cord inflammation.

Bild av Peter Åberg med sina stavar
Peter Åberg Foto: N/A

Hello Peter! How did you come up with the idea of walking Ultravasan and raising money for research on spinal cord inflammations?

- I was looking for a new project to take on, and when someone in my circle was affected by spinal cord inflammation, it was obvious that the goal was to raise funds for research on this relatively unknown disease. For most of my life, I have aimed to complete Vasaloppet, and completing the entire long distance on foot is truly a challenge, says Peter as we speak on the phone.

- Every step I take during my training and during Ultravasan is a step forward for both the research on spinal cord inflammations and for those who experience limitations in their daily lives due to this disease.

This is not the first time that Peter has done something that may seem almost impossible on paper. After a serious cycling accident in 2011, where he suffered extensive injuries, Peter fought his way back to life with determination and willpower. Despite the challenges he initially faced after the accident, including problems with speech, walking, memory, and mobility, he refused to give up. Now, he uses his own experiences as a source of inspiration and hope for others.

- Nothing is impossible as long as you believe in yourself and your team. We all have our life journeys that offer both peaks and valleys. By learning from our mistakes and setbacks, we become stronger as individuals. I believe it's important, in a team context, to share what we have learned from our mistakes and setbacks during our life journey, and in doing so, we build a stronger team through increased understanding of each other."

Through rehabilitation and training, including Nordic walking, Peter has managed to come back and now lives a fulfilling life. He works as a managing director at Nordfab during weekdays and gives lectures about his life journey both in Sweden and abroad in his spare time. In addition, Peter has successfully raised funds through various activities - last year, for example, he climbed Mount Kilimanjaro to benefit the Children's Cancer Foundation.

What are your hopes for the race and the fundraising in August?

- The course record for Ultravasan is just under 6 hours, and it may be difficult to beat, says Peter, laughing. I must be able to finish within 15 hours and also reach the six predetermined checkpoints on time. When it comes to fundraising, I know that every penny counts, and the more, the better. I hope that as many people as possible will help and support the research and also help spread the word about my fundraising. 90 kilometers is a long distance, but it will be worth it in the end.

We at KI applaud Peter's initiative and wish him the best of luck in Ultravasan and with the fundraising. We will certainly speak with Peter after the finish line and hear how the race went. Until then, you can follow Peter's preparations on his Instagram @peteraberglomma.

If you would like to contribute to the research and at the same time provide Peter with more motivation to complete what may be Sweden's toughest race, you can send your donation via Swish to 123 202 32 08, use the tag "Spinal cord inflammation". 

Info about spinal cord inflammation

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Camilla Sjögren