Karim Abbas Hassan

Soura

All depending on the circumstances of course, I feel from 0 to 100% Danish. If people generalise about Iraqis in Denmark, I feel 100% Iraqi, but if on the other hand I hear about Danes being generalised in Iraq, I feel 100% Danish. Generalisations provoke me.

I came to Denmark in 1985. At the time I smoked 60 cigarettes a day. Then in 1989 I met my wife. She was a keen runner. So, I decided to quit smoking and start running. Initially I could run about 1 km at a time. I started running further after reading a book at the library. It described how you in 36 weeks could train for a marathon. So that is what I did. My first run was 23 April 1990. Since then I have completed 172 marathons, several half marathons and a number of ultra runs. An ultra run is anything over 42,195 km. The longest I ever did was 169 km in 24 hours. That was in Norway.

What running does to me is give me peace. It is a sort of therapy, and it makes me tired so I can sleep at night. When I run, I can move the problems from my head and down into my body. It is good for me, because my head cannot cope with all the problems on its own, but the body can. Running is so important to me that I would rather die during a run than peacefully in my bed. Running has given me back my life in the aftermath of the war, flight and cigarettes, and when I run, I am 100% proud of what my body can accomplish.

67 / male / married and has children / pensioner / Aalborg / from Iraq / came to Denmark in 1985 / residence permit 1985