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Ueli Steck to Compete in the Jungfrau Marathon

Ueli SteckDear Sponsors,

Thank you very much for your kind thoughts and words concerning my wife Nicole, following her accident. Nicole has asked me to thank all of you for your emails and letters. She is healing well, both physically and emotionally, and has a very positive outlook regarding her recovery.

I have trained consistently for many years. And I have always considered myself an athlete rather than an adventurer. In fact, I don't search for adventure; I search for personal challenges within the mountains. Today's media makes it easier than ever for the general public to gain access to these challenges. And forums such as blogs make it possible to share these experiences on a daily basis. I truly enjoy talking about my experiences, and like to do so as much as possible.

But when I am training at my highest level, I am finished talking. I am completely focused on my training. These are the moments that I desire most, and what makes this type of work worthwhile. For example, when climbing the peaks of the Dolomites, I am completely absorbed in every move that I make. But when the day is done, I can look back at each peak, and realize the progress I've made.

This year I plan to focus my time on preparing for all of my projects in 2011. I want to return to the Himalayas to push the limits of my body just a bit further. In order to do this, I must train very hard. I have been working with Simon Trachsel, who has designed a very precise, and complicated regiment for me. It's not completely terrifying to climb a mountain that is 8,000 meters above sea level, when you consider that the base camp lies somewhere between 4,500 and 6,000 meters. Even if we divide the climb, we are still 3,200 meters from the summit which is not an insane distance. So it begs the question: why does one need several days to complete it?

I don't feel that additional days are necessary. Therefore, I am currently working on my endurance by running. At the end of a workout, I have climbed 5,000 meters at a distance of 27km. When I need a break, I take the train back to the valley., I am obviously still trying to expand my training regiment. In between all of this running, I am also maintaining my climbing training. This helps me understand how far I can push my body in order to adapt it in the best ways possible.

Recently I decided to run the Jungfrau Marathon. It is something that I’ve always wanted to do. I think it's amazing how people motivate themselves for such a challenge. A few years ago I took part in the Engadin Ski Marathon. Until that point, I had probably only cross-country skied about ten times in my life. And though I feel I must improve my technique, the experience itself was quite unique. In terms of running a marathon, every individual takes on his or her very own challenge. It doesn’t matter at what level the individual runs the race. Instead, the point is that the individual is actually running the race to the best of their ability. What is better than running for the purpose of simply seeing what you can achieve? The heaviness in the legs, the sweat, the effort? After a while, all of these things are forgotten, and the individual learns that the only thing that matters is that moment.

Nevertheless, this moment eventually passes. Then the individual must pull themselves up again and gain the courage to experience moments like these once more. So the process starts all over again. My goal is to run the marathon to the best of my ability. I will run in the back of the pack since I am a mountaineer, not a marathon runner. But this will not reduce my interest in running whatsoever. On the contrary; I want to know what it means to run the distance.

I look forward to the 11th of September!

See you soon and kind regards.

Ueli Steck

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