BEYOND THE MARATHON
Hunting for flow
As an extreme runner, Dr Michele Ufer has experienced everything: 54 degrees in the Namib Desert, snow at the polar circle, 100% air humidity in the Amazon rainforest and thin air at high altitudes on Mount Everest. He runs distances of 250 km and beyond.
He is one of Germany’s most successful extreme runners.
How do you become an extreme runner?
Back in 2011, Michele Ufer was neither an extreme runner nor a long-distance runner - nor even a runner. He was a sports psychologist. But he wanted to know what it felt like what he was teaching to athletes felt like.
What's this flow doing to me? Can I use mental training to increase my performance in unimaginable areas? How do my body and mind react to efforts that are beyond my limits?
An extreme self-test
So he clicked on the registration form for the ultramarathon in the Atacama Desert in Chile. That was back in November 2010. He had no idea what was waiting for him.
On 14th March 2011, he sat in a desert village in Chile on a wooden bench and wanted to scream with happiness: he did it! After 250 kilometres, not only had he finished the race but – as a novice and with only three and a half months of training – was among the first ten runners, in front of so many professional runners.
Running on 5 continents
Since then, he hasn’t been able to give up running. He regularly takes part in races that are a constant source of new challenges, such as
- Extreme heat, bitter cold or extremely high air humidity
- Running at altitudes of over 5,000 metres
- Self-sufficient multi-day races, in which runners have to transport their own provisions, sleeping mat, sleeping bag, a change of clothes and first aid kit during the race
He has run on five continents, in deserts, in the rain forest, in the Himalayas, at the polar circle. He has long since made a name for himself on the running scene.
What spurs Dr Michele Ufer on is adventure and the hunt for flow, that desire to go as far as you can and sometimes beyond and, not least, to find out something about himself and life. After all, as Dr Michele Ufer says:
“Life is a marathon.”