Some stories are almost too crazy to be true. While browsing some travel videos online, I stumbled upon a documentary film telling the story of this Swedish ultra-runner who ran 1.144 miles (1.840kms) across Iran from all places, on her own, from Turkey to Turkmenistan, to overcome fears and prejudice. Meet the incredible Kristina Palten.
Over a period of 58 days, Kristina Palten ran across the vastness of Iran, with her light blue pushchair carrying her 25kgs of gear for only companion. Why Iran? “For so many reasons,” she says. “The nature is supposed to be beautiful and the people generous and kind.” She leaves Sweden wondering what exactly she’s getting herself into, recognizing the dangers and realities that may be waiting for her as a lone woman running in this country. 1.144 miles later, a different Iran appears. [photos ©KristinaPalten]
Discover the inspiring and empowering story of a daring adventurer...
When a runner wants to change the world...
When André Larsson heard about Kristina's audacious project, he immediately proposed her to make a movie about her journey, following her steps from the desert heat to snow-covered mountains. On the trailer, we can see her doubting, as well as her friends and family. But she was determined. In a world made of fears, she wanted to contribute towards building trust -running through Iran and putting her life into strangers' hands was, to her, the answer.
“My perception is that people are becoming more and more afraid. Nothing good can come out of a world closing itself off in fear. I want a world where we trust each other and listen to one another.” explains Palten.
"There are around 1.5 billion Muslims around the world, and I’m guessing most of them are really nice. With this run I want to question my own prejudices, learn more about a culture I know little about and meet a lot of people.”
After months of preparation, she made it to Iran. It was the beginning of a surpassing adventure.
“After I ran my first kilometer, I sat down and cried because I felt so lonely”. Landscapes are incredibly vast, there's no one to talk to, Kristina couldn't even read the road signs. On top of the mental challenge, running across Iran was truly physical. Imagine running in a very hot climate with temperatures climbing up towards 50°C wearing long pants and long-sleeved training jacket, plus a paddle cap and a scarf to cover your neck. The terrain itself is hilly, the gap between cities sometimes insanely wide -so much she sometimes even ran out of food, but luckily, locals were happy to help.
Of course, she encountered some troubles on the road. The thing that concerned Kristina the most was the traffic -she saw many accidents during her trip. She also had some issues because of her unconventional outfit -even though it respected the law, it wasn't the traditional running hijab. But above all she discovered an overwhelming generosity. Not only from the policemen and people she met on the road, but also from the Iranian medias, who translated her blog into Persian and shared her story all over the country.
A phenomenal arrival : when Kristina approached the finishing line, police gave her a police escort, welcoming and greeting her for her performance.
Find out more about the film here, and sign up for the exhibitor’s mailing list if you want to organize a film screening for your community!