A 21-year-old Swedish trail runner reportedly took her own life after experiencing mental and physical difficulties that forced her away from the sport.
Emilia Brangefalt took an extended break after winning bronze in the 2022 Trail World Championships 40km race in Chiang Mai.
She also finished fifth this year in a world championship race in Innsbruck.
“In a post shared to her Instagram account on November 4, Brangefalt detailed the difficulties she had been suffering both physically and mentally after being forced to take time away from the sport,” Daily Mail reports.
Swedish trail runner Emilia Brangefalt, 21, dies by suicide, days after posting 'maybe I won't be back' on Instagram after being diagnosed with 'extremely high heart rate' which stopped training https://t.co/sgW8iXp8MR pic.twitter.com/Kbm2fkbr3f
— Daily Mail Online (@MailOnline) November 23, 2023
Daily Mail reports:
‘Just taking a walk is painful right now,’ Brangefalt wrote. ‘Have been to the hospital and visit the medical over 20 times but every single blood test/ ekg/ cycle test is good. Still my body is super stressed although I have given it so much love the past months’.Advertisement
‘Maybe it was to much for a 21 year old girl to run Transvulcania 48k and WMTRC 45k with less then one month in between. I am super sad because running and training means so much’, the athlete added.
‘But now, just living a normal life is difficult. I have spent more hours in bed than on my feet this past month. Maybe one day I will be back. Or I won’t. I hope my body can recover from this.’
On Wednesday evening, the Swedish Athletics Federation confirmed that Brangefalt had died by suicide earlier this month.
Their statement read: ‘During her last months, Emilia felt very bad, both physically and mentally. She had good support from those closest to her, but on November 13, she ended her life’.
Swedish trail runner Emilia Brangefalt – who won bronze at the Trail World Championships last year – tragically took her own life at the age of 21 after being ordered to stop running due to a high heart rate
— Mirror Sport (@MirrorSport) November 23, 2023
SAF captain Kasja Bergvist added: “I didn’t know Emilia personally but have understood that she was a very nice person, a forward-thinking, lovely, talented girl with her whole life ahead of her.”
Brangefalt’s brother Adam paid tribute to his sister on Instagram, and said that she had tried to get psychiatric support a day before her death, but was unable to access help due to staff shortages.
In a moving message, Adam wrote: “Your love for your sport and being able to move, was indescribable. A love for sports that we have always shared. All the hundreds of kilometers we skied, all the jumps we made and all the nice memories we created through movement. But love is difficult. When your love for what you loved most painfully rips from you and your body. You couldn’t take it anymore.”
Vasteras FK, Brangefalt’s running club, released a statement saying that they are all “in mourning” and that they plan to pay tribute to her at their annual gala on Friday.