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  • Interview with the Peanut Butter Minister: former national marathon champ

Interview with the Peanut Butter Minister: former national marathon champ

Introducing the self-proclaimed Peanut Butter Minister, Brian Arreborg Hansen: Brian's a former national marathon and 100k ultra champ and a current member of the Danish ultra team. However, recently he has emerged as somewhat of an icon on the local running scene - and we totally get it. We're fans too.

2.40h marathon anytime, anywhere

This is not due to his past and impressive performances, but more because he's always sporting a remarkable pain face and that he could take down a marathon sub 2.40h anytime, anywhere.

Brian's history and approach to running is very interesting, plus he's a very what-you-see-is-what-you-get kind of guy. So we decided to send over a few questions to him that would shed a little light on the local phenomenon that is the Peanut Butter Minister. You'll find the interview below the picture.

SAYSKY Athlete Brian Arreborg Hansen

Interview with Brian Arreborg Hansen

Can you start by introducing yourself? And what’s your main distance? 

I am a long-distance runner and self-proclaimed minister of peanut butter. I am 35 years old, father of two healthy boys and work as Head of Office in the Danish Agency for Data Supply and Efficiency. Long-distance races have for many years been my “free space” and my opportunity to let some steam out. 

I've been running seriously since 2003. First the aim was to lose some weight. Later it was all about winning and testing how far my talent could bring me. I became national champion on the marathon in 2009.  

I dropped the racing for 3-4 years and gained 30 kg before I threw myself over the ultrarunning and became national champion on the 100 km. Since then, my favourite distances have been 100km and 6 hours.

I have represented the Danish national team at the last four world championships in 100km and have already qualified for the 2020 edition. I am the holder of the Danish record of 6 hours (87.2km).

You ran the 2019 CPH Marathon in the time of 2.39.45. What were your race plans going into the race? Did you expect such a good time? Or did you come for more?

The main goal was to participate in the party that Copenhagen marathon has evolved to be. That being said, I have just finished 2:35:56 at the Dusseldorf Marathon and had hoped to improve this time.

The plan was to start at a pace that could end with an end time between 2:35 and 2:40. On a good day with a negative split, I could run sub 2.35h - and from 20km to 30km, I thought it could be done. However, from 30km the goal alone was to limit the damage. 

Having said that, it was an insane experience that the audience shouted "Peanut Butter" after me all the way through the city.

How do you balance running and having a fulltime job? 

I'm an uncompromising guy. I have opted out of the people and activities that are not contributing to anything positive in my life.

It's a tough priority every single day. I have discovered that I do not feel any happier or get more energy by dropping the running. Sometimes it's very late at night or early in the morning that I do my miles.

I don't have a car and therefore, transport time has become my training time. My two boys have seen most of Copenhagen from the trolley.

The biggest secret is my very understanding wife who knows that the alternative is even worse. Ask yourself this: "who would you rather be married to"? The guy with a time-consuming passion or to him who doesn't have any passions at all?

On your Instagram account, you state that the sporty ambitions are far from what they have been, but everything is possible when you have a bib number on the chest. What motivates you to keep running?

I can't help running. I am a competitive person to the extreme. My sporting talents are quite limited, so I will probably stick to long distance running.

I love that the sport is brutally honest: the training effort is directly reflected in the results. There are no co-players whom you can pass the ball to, if you have a bad day. I lack the brutal honesty outside the sport.

Evil tongues will think it is pure escapism.

What’s your secret behind your achievements? 

The "secret" is to put a realistic pace strategy and then stick with it all the way - and of course carbohydrates. Lots of carbohydrates. 

With age, my stress level has hit a much more constructive level. I love the SAYSKY slogan: "CARE BUT DON'T GIVE A FUCK". It expresses to me the perfect balance between the competitive mindset and the fact that after all, it is just an amateur sport.

Of course, my talent cannot be denied. Although I must say that the talent undeniably gets bigger with larger amounts of training. I'll never become a sprinter, but my body has a quite good running economy around pace 4:10. I can basically keep this speed endlessly, if I get a zip of lemonade once in a while.

What do you think have made you such a popular figure? Is it because you are relatable or is it because you often are brutally honest on your social media accounts?  

I'm basically a very unpretentious no-nonsense-guy and not vain at all. What you see is what you get. Competition sports are brutal with both ups and downs. Both must be public, otherwise it doesn't matter.

The popularity took me by a bit of a surprise, but there was apparently a gap in the market for a running profile on the social media scene that basically is about being too fat for competition running, but doing just that anyways.

Let’s face it, there is not at Instagram-filter in the world that will give me the look of a fashion model. I will stick to stupid comments about my own weight and the size of my balls.

Is age just a number? Or do you feel you have become more wise and/or faster on the longer distances the “older” you get? 

Age is a bitch. I will never be as quick as I have been. I try to compensate with experience. Experience can bring you very far in long distance running. I know exactly what to expect and how to act.

I've run over 100 marathons. I know my body and know exactly how to feel about it at 10, 20 and 30 km. I don't think I'm going to run 3-4 minutes too fast on the first half of a marathon ever again.

I am 15 kg heavier and train half as much as in 2009, but it only cost me 10 minutes on a marathon. I refuse to live on the edge of an eating disorder to compete at amateur level.

What’s your next goal? And do you have any plans for another 100km race? 

I'm running 100 km in Kiev this summer. PR (7 hours 14 minutes) is within reach and maybe sometime I will break the mythical 7 hour limit (4:10 pace).

Keep up with the Peanut Butter Minister here.