Torleif Rekkebo

Torleif Rekkebo (1932-1996) was born on the last day of 1932. He grew up in the Tempe district of Trondheim, which is where he lived for most of his life. When he was 19 years old he contracted tuberculosis. While general medical practice prescribed quiet and rest against this epidemic disease, Rekkebo kept going at quite a high pace.
Torleif Rekkebo was a member of the sports club Nidelv IL, and competed in skiing in the 1950s. A trained accountant, he worked for the KØFF Company for many years and established a family. He also continued to take part in sports on a more moderate level, making his debut in the marathon in 1972. At the age of 45 he made the distance in 2.41. His achievement secured him good placement on Norwegian veteran runner lists.
But it was the number of marathons that was to give Torleif Rekkebo a unique reputation as an endurance athlete. When he lost his job in 1987, he decided to pursue a fulltime career as a runner. His marathon number 100 was completed in 1989, and in the subsequent years he added an average of 20 new marathons a year. He took part in runs all over Norway and abroad.
The marathon was not always long enough either. In 1989, at the age of 56, he set a record for Trondheim - Oslo on foot. He used three days, nine hours and 15 minutes, going at more than 10 km an hour the first 24 hours! This is a fantastic achievement, whatever his age!
Through his activities as a famous runner, Torleif Rekkebo became a character we were used to seeing in the town. He was seen everywhere, all year round, always lightly dressed, most often on long training runs several times a day. While running he was quite focused, but would give a smiling nod as a greeting, if so invited.
Marathon number 200 was completed in 1994. His goal was also clear: He wanted to do number 300 in Trondheim, during the millennium celebration in 1997. This was not to pass: In May 1996 he completed nine marathons in as many days. The night before the tenth he passed away in his sleep (in his sleeping bag). The count stopped at 266 completed 42 km runs. Until the summer of 2005 this was a "Norwegian record". In honour of Trondheim's very own marathon man, the traditional Trondheim Marathon is subtitled Torleif Rekkebos Minneløp [Torleif Rekkebo's memorial race].

Author: Einar Rædergård