Why run? For NorthWoods Trustee Pavel Cenkl, who will be undertaking a 12-day solo run across Arctic Scandinavia this summer, the answer has many elements. As the Associate Dean of Academics and Director of Athletics at Sterling College, Cenkl aims not only for athletic achievement but to teach, inspire, and help draw attention the effects of climate change as he travels along the 500-mile route which lies within the Arctic Circle.
In 2015, Pavel ran a 3-day, 150-mile route south-to-north across Iceland, the first trek in his Climate Run series which aims to build “community among outdoor enthusiasts—runners, climbers, skiers, mountain bikers, cyclists, paddlers, hikers—all of us—to recognize the role of resilience as we strive to make thoughtful and intentional connections to our environment.”
In August 2017, Cenkl heads out again on an ambitious 500-mile journey on the Nordkalottleden (aka: Nordkalottruta, Kallottireitti, or Arctic Trail) which traverses Norway, Sweden, and Finland and is the most northerly long-distance hike in Europe. The route is beautiful and remote, crossing through four national parks, mountain birch forests, and arctic tundra plateaus with dramatic views of mountains, lakes, and glaciers.
Normally a 45-day journey for the recreational backpacker, Pavel will be attempting to complete the trek in only 12 days, and to set the FKT (Fastest Known Time) for a solo run on the trail all while, “exploring, recording, and sharing evidence of a rapidly changing climate in the region and its effects on local indigenous Sami communities and on mountain cultures and environments along the entire route.”
You can learn more about Pavel and his 2017 Climate Run at climaterun.org.