Joar Palm
Skyrunner storyJoar Palm
28 January 2020

Be curious, wild and free. Do it for fun and don’t forget to smile!

He loves the challenge and he want to become better and achieve more every single day. Of course, he also does it for fun, but it’s more fun when you can see the progress!

Joar is a 40-year-old very stubborn, strong-willed and competitive guy from Sweden who loves doing sports and especially Skyrunning.

In his previous life he was a professional MMA athlete, but unfortunately, he got injured in a snowboard accident, and he needed a new passion in life.

Just a couple of years after, he tried mountain running and did his first race in Åre, Sweden 43km, 2100 D+. It was at that moment that he found true passion, even though he didn’t realize it then…

This is Joar’s story…

Infinite Trails, Bad Hofgastein, Austria. Photographer, Elisabeth Hansson Trail Running Sweden

Who is Joar and your story behind? 

Wow, this story could be long, so I will try to pack it up. I’m a guy full of energy who loves training. I’ve tried all kinds of sport activities and I started to train gymnastics on a high level at the age of eleven.

In my early twenties I started to train MMA, fell deeper in the “rabbit hole” and came out as a professional athlete on the other side.

In my early thirties I got injured in a snowboard accident, and that incident forced me out of MMA.

I took up running but didn’t do it very seriously in the beginning. After a couple of years, I started to run more frequently, and I also picked up triathlon and cross-country skiing along the way.

Can you describe yourself with two sentences? 

I’m a very stubborn, strong-willed, competitive guy who loves to push boundaries.

A kind of “Hey ho, let’s go!”, “speed it up” and “never slow down” mentality.

What is most important for you in life?

I would love to be like that all-out philosophical mental Buddhist kind of guy. And believe me, I try really hard to be more like that. But the fact is that I am all about achievement. I want to become better and achieve more every single day.

Your passion for Skyrunning & Trailrunning where is that coming from?

It started with a race in Åre, Sweden. The race was called “Axa fjällmarathon” and was one of the first sky races in Sweden for the crowds. This was in 2014, and I didn’t really know much about trail-running back then. After the race, me and my friend were amazed by the experience. It was a whole new thing. Time didn’t matter (well, at least less than in an ordinary marathons), and the views where spectacular. This was instant love, but I didn’t realize I had a new crush until years later. I just kept on going chasing pavement kilometres.

Next year we came back. And the rest is, as they say, history. Or, kind of. It took me some more years to start training trail- and skyrunning. Every workout in the woods and the mountains give me so much energy. The races give me even more. I guess the feeling of being part of nature and the scenery is what gives me the feeling of complete satisfaction.

Can you describe your significant personal strengths that took you all the way to this level of running? 

I think it is a mix on never giving up, my drive to become better and my share love for training and competing.

Joar just crossed the finish line OOC (UTMB week Mont Blanc).

What do you do for a living? Is Skyrunning/Trailrunning something you plan/would like to work with in the future? 

I would love to be able to just run as an occupation. But, as a middle age, not that impressive runner, I have come to terms with the fact that it is most unlikely… But I might go for it as a coach/trainer or in some kind of company that embrace outdoors… Or, I just stick at the magnificent workplace I’m at right now.

How do you do the puzzle? How do you make it work with job, family, training and racing? 

It is fairly good to have a high level of energy and being a “high-performance kind of guy” to make it work. But I have to be honest and admit that, from time to time, I have problems laying the puzzle without harming my loved ones. I have a family who understands my needs, and I am trying to make the logistic work. Sometimes, it just doesn’t add up anyway. Most recent I have started with commute training. I also train on lunchbreaks and I try to train on hours that doesn’t affect my family too much. Most troublesome is time for rest. That one is always hard to prioritize for me. And to be frank, I don’t like rest…

Joar with family just after OOC (UTMB week Mont Blanc).

Have you always had this type of lifestyle training a lot (Skyrunning/Trailrunning etc…) or have you done any change direction in life that you like to mention?

I have always trained a lot. I want to train even more. Like “all the time”.

Which is the most challenging and demanding situations in life that you been through to get you where you are today as a person?

I would say becoming a dad is one of the things that change my situation the most. When my kids were toddlers, I didn’t really find myself in that situation. It was a struggle for me, and I had to work a lot on my personality (which I still do).

Do you usually push yourself outside your comfort zone? How does it feel at the time? Can you see that the rewards coming out of this is worth this little extra effort?

Pushing my self is what I love the most. Especially when it comes to something physical. It is sometimes hard to push through and embrace all the pain that comes when going outside of the comfort zone, but most of the time I enjoy it knowing it will take me further toward my goals. Workouts that ends in a pool of sweat and cries of suffering are the best there is…

How does your race plans and goals look like for 2020?

I was hoping for a spot in both WSER and UTMB 2020 but got rejected. Last year I did 24 races. A lot of them were Ultras and Sky-races. This will be a year with less amount of competitions and a big focus on training and building a stable and solid base. My main goal this year is to be injury free and to have fun.

Matterhorn Ultraks, SkyRunner World Series 2019

How does a normal week with training and all that look like for you right now? (What do you train? How much do you train? Where do you train? Other things you do?

I train as much as possible. Last year was an all-time high with a bit more than 570 hours of training and competing. About half of that was running. The rest was a mix of swimming, cycling, cross country skiing and strength (sometimes I also had to do a bit of rehab). This year I aim for approx. 600 hours with a massive build period. I train all-over and everywhere I can. I really enjoy training and exploring new places.

Which are your best training tips to other Skyrunners/Trailrunners all over the world?

Be curious, wild and free. Do it for fun and don’t forget to smile!

Which are your favourite races that you would recommend to other Skyrunners/Trailrunners all over the world?

Can I say, “all of them”? Every race has its own glory. If I have to pick a few, I would say Fjällmarathon in Åre, The UTMB Week (I did OCC last year), Matterhorn Ultraks, Kullamannen in Mölle and …

No, it is too hard. I stick with “All of them”!

Infinite Trails, Bad Hofgastein, Austria

Do you have any dreams and goals for the future that you like to share?

I’d like to do all the races in “the Grand slam of 100 milers” and all the marathons in “Marathon majors”. But my main goal is be able to race as often as possible and all over the world. To keep on discovering new places, countries, mountain and trails.

How does your game plan look like for that?

Just keep on going! I’m in the zone and all I have to do is to keep my focus and drive. And yes, I might need a couple of sponsors. That would help…

What is your inner drive (motivation)?

To be the best I can be! To combine the chessy mantra “Harden the fuck up” with the friendlier “Calm the fuck down”. Yin and yang baby (or, at least my interpretation of it).

What is your advice to other people that is dreaming of an active lifestyle running in the mountains as good/much as you? 

Just start! Right away. Chop chop!

Everyone can do it. It might take more time than the typical person think they have. But it all comes down to priority. If you want to compete or if you want to perform well, you shouldn’t be a stranger to pain or to be a bit uncomfy from time to time…

If you want something, go for it! Never give up. And, come join me for a run!

Vertical K, Åre, Sweden


Name: Joar Palm

Nationality: Swedish

Age: 40

Family: Wife and two kids, Tea 9 and Ruben 7 years

Country/town: Sweden/Stockholm

Level of running: Don’t really know. Intermediate?

Your team or sponsor now: I train with, race for and coach in “Team Nordic Trail”, “Stockholm City Triathlon” and “Hammarby Friidrott”

Occupation: Head of Delivery

Education: Leadership, Key Account Management

Facebook page:


Webpage / Blog:

Thank you!

Thank you, Joar, for taking your time sharing your amazing story! Very inspiring!

Wishing you all the best luck in the future with your Skyrunning and everything that you want to do in life.

Happy SkyRunning!

/Katinka Nyberg

Like and share this blog post