The Mensen Ernst Memorial Run

The Mensen Ernst memorial run is arranged yearly in the village of Fresvik, in memory of the long-distance runner Mensen Ernst (1795-1843). He was born in Fresvik, in the municipality of Vik, and given the name Mons Monsen Øyri. He started his working life as a sailor, but he gained fame as a professional long-distance runner.  Ernst began his career in sports in 1818, finding work in London as a ‘pedestrian’, someone who participated in runs, often in front of an audience. The first of his longer runs came in the following year when he ran the 116km (72 miles) from London to Portsmouth.

Ernst was one of the best long distance runners the world has ever seen; he was also one of the first professional athletes from Norway. He remains most famous for the longer runs he took on, especially a 14 day run in 1832 from Paris to Moscow(2500km, approximately 1554 miles, as the crow flies) and a later run of 59 days from Constantinople (now Istanbul) to Calcutta and back again (more than 9000km/5600miles). Although a lot of people claim that Ernst’s achievements were impossible, there’s evidence of him having arrived at several stops along his runs as well as at his final destinations, a stark indicator that the man who came from Fresvik really was an astonishing athlete.

Mensen Ernst died from dysentery in Africa in 1843, whilst on a mission to find the source for the river Nile. He was buried on the banks of the Nile, and his grave is most likely underneath one of the Aswan dams.

Arrivals and the start of the run will be at Modig Stadium in Fresvik in Sogn and the turning point is at the waterfall Huldafossen in the world heritage area of the Nærøyfjord. Approximately 1/3 of the run is on tarmac, whilst the rest of the course is split between gravel and a path that’s in good condition.

There is also a run tailored to children.

The sports club IL Modig are the organizers of the Mensen Ernst Memorial Run and more information about the run can be found on their website (Norwegian only)

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