Building a confidence - and a healthy body

A change of lifestyle

Mirror, mirror on the wall…

Flash forward: David is exhausted after a very hard stage in the Jungle Ultra. He´s dehydrated, and the field doctors are considering treating him with IV drip. Getting intravenous rehydration means that you´re out of the race, and that´s the last thing David wants right now….”
A decade ago David was standing in front of a mirror, feeling sad and depressed. He was going to a party, and ended up in the dressing room of a shop, staring at the boy in the mirror that didn´t fit any of the cool, hip clothing that everybody else was wearing. He was overweight, hated exercise, loved fast food and spent most of his time in front of the TV. That day, that moment in front of the mirror, he knew that something had to change. Not only to eat less but an entire change of lifestyle.

Photo: Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew

David Pedersen – ex couch potato

David Pedersen´s transformation from overweight to endurance athlete is the story of a young man with a strong will to make a change. He began exercising. In Rugby he found a sport that had room for a solid build young man and slowly he felt his body getting fitter, and his confidence grew stronger. Then he had to move, and began running instead. He found that running gave him a needed room to be himself, and enjoyed the lonely hours in the woods. Slowly but steadily he converted fat to muscles.

Flash forward: David is up on his feet. He´s ready for the next stage – 90 challenging kilometers on jungletrails and in rocky riverbeds – under a mercyless scorching sun. He stayed clear of getting IV drip, and is still in the race. He´s the youngest particpant in this year´s Jungle Ultra and is facing the challenge of his life.

Photo: Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew
A winter morning´s training. Local Hero David Pedersen enjoying the dynamics of the terrain.
Photo: Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew
The Jungle Ultra is a 5 stage race set in the Peruvian part of the Amazon Rain forest. The race starts up high in the Cloud Forest, and ends in the low part of the rain forest.

The lake

David´s mom knew how to push David. She challenged him by arguing the he couldn´t run twice around the local lake, while she and David´s younger brother walked one round. David fought his way around the lake, and managed to do the second lap before his mom and brother completed their lap. He was beat, he was happy, he was inspired – and maybe a bit overambitious. He had done almost half marathon doing the two laps, and quickly decided that a marathon was within reach! 

Photo: Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew
The Jungle Ultra is an adventurous challenge. Jaguars, snakes, orchids, hummingbirds and crashed airplanes are present in the jungle.

Marathon and then 100 K

The marathon was a killer. David survived, but was trashed for months after. He completely failed on hydrating himself both before and during the race, and had to fight had to complete the marathon. But he did, and months later – after not touching his runnning shoes at all, his mind started to evaluate. David found a colleague with experience in adventure racing and endurance sport, and the two decide to train ambitious – for a 100 K race! But this time with the right preparation and a realistic plan to complete the race. 

Photo: Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew
Photo: Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew

Jungle Ultra in Peru

The transformation is taking place. The 100 kilo boy in the mirror has just completed 100 K´s of running. His weight is a lot less, and there´s a big change in both physique and mentality. He´s a different person. His confidence is strong and he´s feeling good about himself. He has managed to change his lifestyle – from couch potato to endurance athlete.

He crosses the finish line in the little village of Pilcopata deep in the Peruvian Amazon rain forest. He´s the first Danish runner to complete the Jungle Ultra, and the youngest runner this year. 5 stages – 220 kilometers of humidity, mud, snakes, blood and tears. As he returns home, he realizes that he´s not the David who left Denmark a few weeks back, for an extreme adventure in the jungle. The boy in the couch is gone, and a young man with the knowledge of his inner potential has come home. With a strong will and hard work, he has managed to create his life as he wants it to be.

David crossing one of many rivers during the Jungle Ultra
Photo: Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew

Running advice from David Pedersen

  1. Listen to your body, and don´t compare yourself with other athletes, and think their training will fit you. Our physiques are unique, so you must find your own path.
  2.  “Train as you fight!” If you want to be good at trail running, then do training sessions in the terrain, so you feel at home and comfortable in the right type of conditions.  if your ambition is a new PR, then plan quality training sessions toward a specific race.
  3. Variety is good! Intervals, tempo, long runs, easy runs and more. Have a toolbox you can pick from. Even ultra distance runners can benefit from high intensity training. 
  4. Have fun! If you´re not motivated, you will get poor quality training. With good motivation you get high quality training.

David´s selections from the GripGrab running gear range

GripGrab Arm Warmers Light – Perfect protection for the cooler days and for race day. Insulating and breathable. Extremely lightweight and easy to store in pocket, or roll down to the wrist. The slightly warmers version GripGrab Arm Warmers Classic are for those races where you know that the course will take you up to higher altitude, where the wind will be chilly and the temperature drops significantly.

Running Expert Hi-Vis – A complete winter glove. Visible, perfect fit and with added functionality such as sweat wiper and touch pad compatibility. 

See the full range of GripGrab Running gear

GripGrab Running Expert Hi-Vis
Photo: Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew
David Pedersen training in Copenhagen, Denmark. David´s favourite products are the GripGrab Running Expert Hi-Vis and the GripGrab HeadGlove Classic Hi-Vis.


More info about the Jungle Ultra: Beyond The Ultimate – Jungle Ultra
  Photo credits:  Martin Paldan | GripGrab Media Crew