When the medieval 13th century church of Ockelbo was demolished in 1795 to make room for a new church a runestone was found in the foundations of the old church and while this stone was destroyed in a fire in 1904 reproductions that had been made earlier allowed for a replica to be produced in 1932 which to this day shows one of the most image-rich runestones to ever have been discovered in Sweden.
If you google Ockelbo you will also find stories of ironworks and of iron forging which goes all the way back to what historians refer to as the Iron Age. In semi-modern times rolled steel made in Ockelbo was also sold to Gillette for use in razor blades. However, what made the place famous was the manufacture of snowmobiles under the Ockelbo brand.
Things we lost in the fire
Industribolaget Ockelbo was found in 1962. The following year, their first snowmobile, Ockelbo Turist, which came with an impressive 9 horsepower engine, was released. And in 1968 the famous Ockelbo 600, a model with an extra wide strap, was released. During the 1970s production increased to over 2,000 snowmobiles per year and, similar to Henry Ford’s philosophy they only came in one color, although they were a bright orange rather than the black T Fords.
In addition to roaring machines, industrial manufacturing and iron making, the small village of Ockelbo, which sits in the middle of Gästrikland County, is also home to a small group of childhood friends namely Elov Olsson and the two brothers Johan and Joacim Lantz.
I first met Johan and Elov over 12 years ago at a freestyle ski jump competition. They were some of the best in their age at the time and later we went on a road trip together to ski in Norway. A couple years passed and I didn’t hear from them until I got so obsessed with running that my feed only contained posts associated with running… and there they were. Elov just placed 3rd at the 2019 Tour de Fjällmaraton clocking in at 7:47:17:71. Joacim came 2nd at the 2019 Kia Fjällmaraton 2019 doing 3:33:04 and Johan was 4th at 3:36:28. From super talented and up and coming freestyle skiers to top 5 best Ultra runners in Sweden. What happened during those 11 years?
Together they have travelled a distance of 10866km on Strava year to date. Thats around 15km each every day. Running is their life, and a perfect mach for RID. Realizing that I still had Johan’s phone number saved in my phone book a phone call and a 2 hour drive from sthlm later I’m now lacing my running shoes to join Elov on his daily commute and today’s workout. Of course running and the rest is history.
10866km on strava
A couple of beers later over a classic taco dinner dreaming back to old days skiing together and talking about our dreams and where the path of running can take us we find ourselves talking about product development and where the next journey will take us. The outcome is that Elov Olsson, Johan Lantz and Joacim Lantz who make up what, in running circles goes by
The name “The Ockelbo Maffia” (Instagram: @ockelbomaffian) agree to help us out and RUNNING IS DEAD is now the proud partner of the three amigos from Ockelbo. We are beyond grateful to grow RUNNING IS DEAD with such talented runners who can help us develop products and make sure our gear can stand to the needs of an ultra runner on the highest level.
THE JOURNeY HAS JUST BEGuN