Doctors told Steen that he had only 30% percent chance of ever walking again. Despite of the dismal outlook, he will be running the CPH Half this year.
Suddenly one day, as Steen was doing garden work, his back just broke.
It simply gave in after many years of hard work and heavy lifts working as a truck driver. The cartilage in his back had eroded, and years of back pain now resulted in complete collapse.
”I had been taking pain killers and injections for a long time to make it through the day. Now I was facing surgery and a 70% risk of spending the rest of my life in a wheel chair,” tells Steen Fribo Erlandsen.
Turning point after one year of rehabilitation
It has been five years now, since Steen underwent back surgery. And it has taken a toll on him to get to where he is today. A very important milestone took place after one year of rehabilitation, so Steen tells.
”In the beginning, I couldn’t do anything at all. But slowly, I was able to start training and gradually, I got better. One day, my coach asks me if I wanted to run the local half marathon. At that point, I couldn’t run as much as 10 metres.”
You will never be able to do sports again
This was right before Christmas, and with merely seven months to go, Steen had to start running.
He joined a running session at the local fitness centre and slowly, his shape improved. Then he took the final decision to register for the half marathon, which was to become Steen’s biggest personal victory ever:
”To complete that race in just over two hours is my biggest personal achievement, because after my surgery, the doctor told me that I would never be able to do sports about. When I’m told something like that, I get stubborn and determined to prove it wrong,” says Steen firmly.
Doing it to help others
Steen’s message is very clear. He is not telling his story to prag about his achievements, but to help others:
“If I can inspire anyone to start training or fight back from illness or injury, I’m happy. Too often, we let hardship stop us from moving on or getting back up, but it does not have to be that way,” says Steen.
Why he choose Copenhagen
Since debuting on the half marathon distance, Steen has participated in two running events, and he has no intention of quitting now.
”I have become addicted to running. I run at least three times a week and go to the gym twice a week,” Steen tells.
Why he choose Copenhagen for his next half marathon?
”I am ready to run my next half marathon now, and I want it to be the CPH Half. Ever since I did my military service in Copenhagen, coming here is special to me. Also, my son and my grandchild lives there, which means a lot to me.”