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Pro Football Weekly Updated Draft Guide

‘Biking Viking’
 visits Newton

Published: Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 12:10 p.m. CST • Updated: Friday, Sept. 30, 2011 12:31 p.m. CST
Caption
(Mike Mendenhall/Daily News)
Swedish journalist, biker and marathon runner Anders Forselius shows the box carrying the remains of 11-year-old California boy Alex Blackburn. On a fifty state U.S. tour, Anders is spreading the boy’s ashes throughout the world to fulfill his last dying wish made 10 years ago. Also raising money for cancer research, Forselius is traveling to Chicago for the Oct. 9 Chicago Marathon, where every foot he runs is on sale for $1 benefiting the charity Fred’s Team.

He’s known as the “Biking Viking.” Swedish freelance journalist Anders Forselius pedaled through Newton Wednesday and Thursday on his way to the Oct. 9 Chicago Marathon.

Spending the night in Newton and stopping for a cup of coffee with firefighters at the Newton Fire Department, Forselius sat down and talked about his 50 state U.S. tour which is raising money for cancer research.

“My way to do it is with a bicycle and a marathon,” he said.

A member of “Fred’s Team,” a group of 800 to 900 runners who sell every foot they travel in the New York Marathon to support fighting the deadly disease, Forselius had an ex-fiance who was diagnosed with Leukemia, which drove him to raise money for the cause.

“When I met her I wanted to do more than just play around, but I did not have the right tool at the time,” he said. “But then a friend in New Jersey introduced me to Fred’s Team.”

Forselius has run 13 marathons throughout the U.S. and just completed his 11th race on this tour with his completion of the Omaha Marathon on Sept 25. By the end of his trip, the Swede will have completed 16 marathons during his tour, ending with the New York Marathon on November 6. He has 37 more states to visit in the nation.

After a trip to California earlier this year, Forselius’ ride took on a second cause when he met the owner of a hostel whose son died of a virus at age 11. The journalist for the Swedish edition of Runner’s World Magazine now rides with the ashes of Alex Blackburn to give him a world-wide burial.

“He loved Frank Sinatra and all the girls were attracted to him, and then he died.” Forselius said. “So, his last wish was to get his ashes spread all over the world. His mother thought, ‘Oh, you’ll be the perfect one to fulfill his last wish.’ And now we’ve been to three continents, and right now we’re doing all the 50 states together.”

With another four days of travel before he reaches Chicago, Forselius left Newton to spend Thursday night in Iowa City and plans to reach the Mississippi River by Friday night.

The writer is chronicling his tour on his website, www.bikingviking.se, where there is a link to his Facebook blog.

Mike Mendenhall can be contacted at 792-3121 ext. 422 or via e-mail at mmendenhall@newtondailynews.com.