Maria Jansson SWE

Maria Jansson, a Swedish ultrarunner and officer in Swedish Armed Forces, 2016 24h IAU European Championships Winner and 2016 IAU Athletes of the Year.

Maria grew up doing different kinds of individual sports, mainly focusing on cross country skiing. Maria’s mother had started running marathons after giving birth to Maria, the 3rd child in the family. When Maria was 17 years old, her mother suggested if she wanted to try a full marathon too. ”I thought she was crazy, I thought it was way too long a distance!”, thought Maria. But her mother kept telling her: ”If I have done it, you can surely do it too!” In the reality, that was the start of her inspiring running career.

In 2008, when Maria was studying at the Militar Academy, she listened to Rune Larsson’s – a famous Swedish ultrarunner and Spartathlon legend -  lecture where he mentioned ultrarunning. That was the moment when Maria realized there are even longer distances than marathon. So, the same year Maria finished her first ultramarathon which was a 6-hour race.

Maria’s first 24-hour event was in 2009. Her goal for the 24h debut was to stay on the track all the 24 hours. The race was a good experience and Maria realized her own potential. She started training even harder and payed a lot of attention to mental strategies in ultrarunning. In the end she qualified for the Swedish National Team and took part in her first IAU World Championships in 2012. She was qualified in the national team again in 2013 and 2015.

In 2014 Maria had started cooperating with a coach. That was a huge step forward and Maria ended up to the podium, taking bronze medal in 2015 World Championships. The next year, 2016 was the most succesfull year of her career so far with making Swedish national record and then improving it later the same year, winning the IAU European Championships. In Belfast World Championships in 2017, Maria was in the best shape of her life but confronted some health issues in the last hours of 24-hour race and finished 8th in women.

Maria’s accupation in Swedish Armed Forces has helped Maria to perform in ultrarunning, and vice versa. Maria has learned that determination and accepting new situations are the key features for an ultrarunner. We wish Maria bunches of luck with her upcoming goals!


Salla Ronkainen,

IAU Communications Committee

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