From Alaska to Norway, 100 Miles in May motivates participants

May 4, 2020

The 100 Miles in May Bonus Challenge this April came at a perfect time to motivate Amy Reed in Anchorage and the Bjornstad family in northern Norway.

“I was so excited to have a goal to work towards in April when it seemed like the world was shutting down and all the races were canceled or postponed,” said Reed, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Bjornstads learned about the Challenge — where participants log various types of physical activity and through conversion formulas are credited with miles exercised — from Alaskan Olympic skier Sadie Bjornsen, as Per-Erik Bjornstad is among her wax technicians on the World Cup circuit.

“We do exercise a lot, but the competitive spirit made us extra motivated,” said 15-year Erling, the captain of Team Bjornstad.

The Bjornstads

In the end, Team Bjornstad (parents Per-Erik and Ann Strand and sons Brage and Erling) placed second among 286 teams (minimum two members) with 363 average miles per participant. They narrowly trailed only the Deal Bro’s (Cole, Conor and Brady Deal), who averaged 365 miles.

In the individual rankings, Reed logged 614 miles, the most among women and second only to Chad Trammell (624). In the three completed challenges, Reed has piled up 1,861 miles, likely more than any other participant.

The April Bonus Challenge ended on April 30 and leaderboards were reset May 1 for the 4th edition of the 100 Miles in May Challenge.

In April, 2,398 participants logged 283,582 total miles, and 1,277 of them (53 percent) achieved 100 or more miles.

AWWU Clearly in Motion was the most productive team, logging 6,432 miles among its 55 members.

100 Miles in May is a fundraiser for the nonprofit Healthy Futures, whose mission is to empower Alaska’s youth to build the daily habit of physical activity.

Reed and the Bjornstads logged their miles in very different ways.

Reed at the 2019 Boston Marathon

Reed, a pediatric nurse at Providence Hospital, focused on indoor workouts such as spinning classes, treadmill running, elliptical training and HIIT sessions (High Intensity Interval Training). By mixing in occasional walks, frisbee throwing and housework, she tallied even more miles and charted up to six entries in a single day.

“The 100 Miles Challenge ‘challenged’ me to write everything down, which I don’t normally do,” Reed said in an email. “The pandemic didn’t change my physical training much at all, because I run inside on my treadmill and use the (stationary) bike.”

The Bjornstads, who live well north of the Arctic Circle in Alta, mostly Nordic and backcountry skied, with occasional core and crossfit workouts and even fishing outings.

“My brother and I can’t train with our local ski teams (due to the pandemic),” Erling said via email. “However, our city is small and we have endless nature surrounding us. We have been on lots of ski trips together as a family.”

Skiing in Northern Norway

The Bjornstads, minus Ann, made a final effort on April 30 to catch the Deal Bro’s, as they skied nearly five hours (and logged 38 miles each) on the Finnmark Plateau from Alta to their cabin in Kvaenangen.

“O’boy the dinner was good that day,” Erling said. “It was just not enough (to win the competition), but we gave our best, and it was fun.”

Erling and 19-year-old Brage are up for joining the May Challenge but their parents need a break. “Per-Erik has broken a rib, and my mother is exhausted,” Erling said.

Meanwhile, Reed has not missed a stride as she stays in shape for the Boston Marathon, which was postponed from April to September. She’s logged 17 workouts the first four days of the May Challenge and ranks third overall – and top woman — with 79 miles.

-By Matias Saari, Alaska Sports Blog Contributor