Uttervägens Hjältar

Nina Johansson washes of her shoes and feet after the exhausting and wet workout in the mire. Getting dirty and cold has not always been easy for her and rest of the group, but by repeatadly stepping out of their comfort zone their courage is growing every day Each day one person at the group home is responsible for making dinner, which they also eat together. This evening, Joakim Säfvenborg made a carrot soup. In 2016 the “Otter street heroes” gained some fame after they finished the obstacle race Toughest - 9 kilometer running while defeating 40 obstacles. Since then they have prepared to do the race again. Linus Lundström asks Joel for a picture of himself for Instagram during exercise in mid action. Frida Molin is often shy among other people, and one of her goals is to speak out more. After their accomplishments in the Toughest race of 2016 her self esteem has strengthened. Since then she has participated in lectures about Down’s syndrome and exercise – and spoken in front of hundreds of people. When preparing for the second obstacle race a lot of focus is set on facing your fears and exceeding your own limits. Nina Johansson has had some problem with heights in the past, but with help from mentors Cilla Brönemyr and Elin Hardeland she is venturing a narrow suspension bridge. Linus Lundström is dripping wet from a friendly wrestling match in the mire. Roughly a year ago the mire workout was something unpleasant, but with time it has become a fun element in the training. Nina Johansson enjoys to have become somewhat of a celebrity. She says that it is nice that someone with Down’s syndrome can be famous and be seen as normal. Here she is swinging the rings and the second Toughest race. Chose the way that works for you. Joakim Säfvenborg and Linus Lundström chose to swing themselves in the handlebar instead of doing the daring jump between the platforms. Tutor Cilla Brönemyr and personal trainer John Gröntvedt are euforic after Linus Lundström faced his paralyzing fear of heights and jumped four meters

Uttervägen is a group home in Umeå, Sweden, for people with cognitive disabilities. Most of whom have Down’s syndrom. This is the home of Linus Lundström, Nina Johansson, Joakim Säfvenborg, Hanna Hermansson and Frida Molin. Since september 2016 they have been known as “Uttervägens Hjältar” (The Otter street Heroes). What gave them that nickname was Toughest, a 9 kilometer obstacle race with 40 obstacles to defeat.

The staff at Uttervägen is behind this concentration on physical training. They have seen positive effects in the every day life because of their accomplishments – they are more active in social situations and their self esteem is strengthened.

No one outside the group home believed that they could actually finish. But on the race day their parents, siblings and friends ran alongside, crying and cheering them on, not believing their eyes. Since then the ‘Heroes’ have prepared to run the race again, while crushing stereotypes and reevaluating what is possible.