My own GAX 100 – Day 7

Day 7 – Simrishamn – Löderup (Backåkra)

– Temp: 23-28°C
– Distance: 28.3 km (12.1+16.2+2.0)
– Time: 5h 51 min
– SL4 Stage: 4 & 3 (parts/almost whole)
– Difficulty: Easy 
– Markings: OK

Part 1: Simrishamn – Skillinge (12.1 km)

The mist is heavy over Simrishamn. I got a couple of hours of sleep but my horrible room leaves me no excuse to lie in bed for any longer than necessary. The bed, by the way, was way too soft and bumpy for my taste and to far from the window near the ceiling so, in the middle of the night, I took the top mattress and moved it to the floor beneath the window. I really would have been better of in the woods.

Breakfast was not that inspiring but the kind personell was aware of my needs and when I asked for oats they were happy to prepare it. At first I got a third of my normal portion but after having explained for the kitchen staff what was in front of me I got a real bowl of oats that I could hardly finish – yäjjjj!

Misty morning

The mist was heavy on Simrishamn when I got out. Beautiful but a bit colder than I had become used to. Fortunately the forecast promised heat later on and I could feel that that would be the case no doubt.

The start from Simrishamn after the city was asphalt and through a boring industrial estate. After a couple of km the SL4 turned into a pasture very close to the sea and continued along the shore mostly on small paths with grass, sand and blackberry bushes. In fact the whole day offered plenty of blackberries. After 5 km, passing through Brantevik, the lovely paths turns into gravel and then asphalt and continues on asphalt all the way to Skillinge a good 6 km.

12 km

Running on a bike path can be really boring, especially sleep depraved so I surrendered to walking and having done 12 km with barely no sleep I felt the need for a really good rest so I stopped my watch and bought a a cheap towel and a can of fish quenells. I was to tired to tell off the really snotty teenager cashier at the local supermarket, who snapped his fingers impatiently in the direction of the stuff I asked for instead of just telling me with words- really? I guess the Skåne youth has not invented sentences yet. I hurried out with only the most basic stuff and lied down, ate my lunch and shut my eyes for half an hour or so trusting that the rest of the day had better to offer. At least the mist had gone and the temperature had gone up to a pleasant 27 degrees.

Part 2: Skillinge – Löderup (16.2 km)

Getting out of Skillinge I had to run some more asphalt but soon the path hit the wonderful beach. It was lovely to be by the sea but there had been quite a lot of sand both here and there so far and it could be quite heavy at times when it was all loose and no grass or water or nothing that kept it firm. And now I had 8 km of beachy sand and sunbathing tourists in front of me. I really wanted nothing but sleep. Or at least an ice-cream.

My legs were awfully tired. I could not run at all in the sand but I was too tired from not having slept anyways. I texted my friend F (who did GAX the other day) a picture of the sand and got his deepest sympathy. Our honest and funny conversation thereafter made me feel much better.

After 2 km of heavy sand, 6 km of the second part of today’s stage I reached Spraggehusen and the long awaited ice-cream! I got to rest in a chair as well – probably too tired to even think because I find no pictures at all…

6 more kilometers of sand to go before I reach Sandhammaren and get to a path. My mind is drifting here and there. I focus inwards on the steps – one step after the other. All these people in bathing suites relaxing eating burgers (where did they get them from???) and just lying there. I’m glad I have a mission.

“Mooooom, I’m tired, you need to carry me – I can’t walk the sand, mooooooom!” Apparently it’s a long way from the car park to the beach. Like 500 meters or so – my mind ponders the mystery of goals and mindset. I too can feel that 500 meters can be insurmountable. I too want someone to carry me at this point. My mind is set. My mom’s not here.

Sandhammaren! Finally. I see the signs saying there’s water and toilets but all I see are endless lines of people waiting for their turn. I just surrender on a bench. My ancles are so tired but it’s just tired, nothing else.

I finally got up and saw a shop with no line and realized the lines were only for ice-cream and I wanted a drink so I bought one and was soon off again. Only 5.3 km left to the youth hostel.

Only 5 km but now the ground underneath my feet is firm. I try to run and lo and behold it works! At least for a short while. I continue walking and running, walking and running, walking and running. During this whole journey I have met very few people along the route. Actually I haven’t met anyone the last 7 days that seem to be hiking the SL4, which is odd because it is really fantastic that we have these wonderful paths.

At Sandhammaren the path turned west away from the water and into the woods. Still firm but still a lot of sand. I am so so so tired but still I try to run a little every now and then. Today has probably been the toughest and longest challenge and at this point my focus is not right – I’m just longing for shower and to lie down.

After a long long, very long while I get out of the woods and my journey on the SL4 ends. Only 1.3 km to the youth hostel! I stop and restart my watch and continue on the asphalt, passing a scout’s camp. Running, walking. Weather still nice and warm. I’m so longing to lie down. Did I forget to mention that?

When I turn out on a bigger road the cars go really fast and do not keep distance at all. I pass Dag Hammarskjöld’s Backåkra, and finally I get to Backåkra Youth Hostel. The first room I got was a copy of the one I had in Simrishamn and although my hostess promised it was in the coolest part of the house I did not care – that tiny tiny window in the ceiling was not enough. I explained that I can do with the hottest room in the whole house as long as I get a window at normal hig. So I got a room twice the size, with a basin and four windows – ok hot but with all windows open it felt almost like sleeping out.

I unpacked my my bag with bed linen and stuff and took the food my husband had bought and prepared. The hostel had a washing machine and a tumbler that you could pay a small fee to use so I did my laundry. I was going to begin my last stage tomorrow clean. Lovely!

My own GAX 100 – Day 1

Day 1 – Ystad city to Raftarp (Snogeholm)

– Temp: 30°C
– Distance: 25 km
– Time: 4h 19min
– SL4 Stage: 12
– Difficulty: Very easy
– Markings: Very good (except distance)


After 10 days of no running just longing it’s finally time! After a sparse breakfast at Ahlberga B&B we drove to the start in Ystad. With 1.5 liters of sports drink in my running vest bladder and some nuts and dried fruits I start a bit away from the real GAX start just because there was a sign there saying “Snogeholm” 27.5 which was the area to where I was. Funny, though, the sign said over 27 km because the official stage is said to be 24 km.

I lost track of the path in the city, of course, maybe because of the crowds but I had the path ready in my phone and fairly easily found my way back. Cobble stones and asfalt, a little park and then a bike path. The heat is striking but I like it. The alleys of trees sometimes give shade but mostly is all sunny and 30 degrees Celsius and more.

After only a few kilometers, the typical Skåne landscape hits you – open and vast fields of crop, corn and alike stretching far, far. Not much altitude gain but almost always a bit up or down, slowly.

End asphalt

The rather boring asfalt turned into a gravel road after approximately 5 km and more beautiful billowing heaths. So far the path is very well marked if you don’t take into account that the distances felt a bit odd and did not quite add up for me. The splendid markings would continue to be so the whole day and although there were several parts of boring asphalt with fast cars it was not as much asphalt as I had expected.

By the lake Krageholm with all its birds I realized I hade quite a bit left and I was already out of drink. I con

Me at top of he one and only hill day 1. Photo: Robert Rundqvist.

tacted my support, who now was on his way for a bike ride, and we decided to meet up for a refill. We have shared GPS locations on our smart phones and that almost always works good enough. If we want more accuracy we use Wikiloc with live tracking – seems to be more stable for me than Garmin’s own live tracking.

After the refill I got company for a few kilometers although the path was not suitable for a road bike at some parts but that sandy uphill would definitely suit an MTB. This hill was actually the toughest part of all day 1

Entering the area of Snogeholm I were to experience the sand for the very first time. So strange. Suddenly, in the middle of the woods, there it was – soft beach sand giving away for every step you take, making it a tiny bit more difficult. Little did I know that this sand would set the tone for the rest of my journey.

After these pretty wandering paths in the woods I was there at Raftarp Camping Site. It was not 27.5 km but 24.9. Here my dear companion had already put up the tent and while I was resting he went for pizza at a place that despite our wish for no tomato sauce on the four cheese pizza put tomato sauce on and handed over the pizzas saying “two four cheese pizzas with no tomato sauce”. Lucky them I was so tired.

Our tent!

After some freshly picked blackberries for dessert and talking a bit with our Danish and Polish neighbours we tried to make us a nice place to sleep of the stuff we had but it turned out to be a bit to hard ground and it was hard to fall asleep.

All in all I ended up running more than expected, roughly half of the distance. The stage was marked “easy” at the Skåneleden webiste and I agree – not much altitude gain and nothing too technical, not even in the woods, apart from the sand that only was a bit heavy for a short period.

Below are all my pictures in order of appearance.

A marvelous start!

My own GAX 100 – Prologue

100 miles in 8 days around Österlen in Sweden. Starting now I will take you through my journey around this beautiful route. I will post one blog post covering each and every day of me running and walking Österlenleden, from wakening to falling asleep. You will find a summary of all stages and links to the blog posts below. 

A couple of years ago I stumbled upon a race called GAX 100 miles. A hundred miles in one day is way too much for me but I’ve always wanted to see more of Österlen in the southeast of Sweden and the county of Skåne so the thought lingered. It seem such a splendid idea to utilize the fabulous hiking paths of Skåneleden and in this particular case the SL4 Österlenleden (interactive map at bottom of page) so I started looking into it more seriously around May 2017.

After Jurassic Coast 50K in June I felt somewhat empty and didn’t know what my next challenge would be. The 50 K seemed so insurmountable so I was so content with that it sufficed for a very long time. But come July I felt more and more eager to experience something and then I saw the GAX flicker by on social media and, tadaaaa, we started to plan and yes, it actually was logistically possible to fit in to our lives at this time!

The first 5 days I was accompanied by my dear husband, our car with a tent for emergency overnight stays and the possibility to get refills of water. Although I really like the warm weather, I’ve never before been running this far in such heat and since I had no idea how far I would be able to run it seemed like a splendid arrangement. The last three days I was on my own but R had been kind enough to place one bag at each of my overnight stays with things I had packed.

My husband the course manager of many races we have managed over the year helped me create a Google map from the GAX gpx-file and together we worked out preliminary stages. However there was no way of knowing how much my body would be able to tolerate so there was really no idea booking accommodation very far ahead.

Here’s a summary of the stages and as I write the blogs I will insert links to the blogs. Below is also an interactive Google map.

Now the journey begins!

0Åsa-DegebergaCar-Ahlberga B&B
1Ystad-Raftarp254:19Raftarp (tent)
2Raftarp-Lövestad224:47Lövestad (tent)
3Lövestad-Andrarum13.53:18Alunbrukets B&B
4Andrarum-Brösarp14.83:02Brösarps Gästgiveri
5Brösarp-Stenshuvud14.72:23Stenshuvud (tent)
6Stenshuvud-Simrishamn16.42:48Svea Hotel (avoid!)
7Simrishamn-Löderup28.35:51Backåkra hostel
8Löderup-Ystad29.15:13Stationen B&B


Please note that the official GAX gpx track is found on their website – this is a track converted from the 2018 race and I cannot guarantee that it’s correct.