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Michele successful in South Africa

14.11.2014 10:42

P R E S S  R E L E A S E


Michele Ufer runs in leading group at Kalahari Extreme Marathon

Extreme runner and mental coach Michele Ufer has achieved an excellent 5th place at the prestigious Kalahari Extreme Marathon in the South African desert. With a total running time of 27:06:27 hours, Michele could claim to be the best German and third-best European in the top-5 group after 238 kilometers under the most difficult conditions. Unbeleivable: parallel to this extreme challenge he collected scientific data for his psychological dissertation.

From 1 to 7 November, the 15th edition of the Kalahari Extreme Marathon was held in South Africa. It is one of the oldest desert races in the world, with an overall length of 238k and daily stages of up to 70k. The entire personal equipment, such as food, sleeping bag, sleeping pad and a change of clothes had to be transported in around 10kg backpack. Athletes had to cope with infinite dust trails through hilly terrain, miles of passages through deep sand, technically tricky canyons, in which the heat may build up to over 50°C. 70 runners from 18 nations rose to the challenge. The expert in sports and managment psychology Michele Ufer participated in two capacities: as an athlete and scientist.

Actually, Michele wanted to travel to South Africa primarily as researcher. "The Kalahari Extreme Marathon is the perfect setting. My ultimate goal was to collect important data for my doctoral thesis on self-leadership, flow & peak performance under extreme conditions during the race. You can not do this without the consent and support of the organizers of such events. In South Africa, they were immediately enthusiastic about the project, allowed me the surveys on site and supported whenever possible. Many athletes immediately applied to participate in the project, "says Michele. When an additional invitation to participate in the race was issued, for Michele it was immediately clear that he would like to meet this dual challenge.

Finishing top-5 in South Africa really surprised Michele. "I had not systematically prepared myself for this run, was jogging the last few months due to work pressure on average only 1-2 times a week one to two hours and struggled with a feverish cold for two weeks before the start. This was really not good conditions for a multi day race through the desert. So my goal was just to enjoy the race and cross the finish line somehow", remembers Michele. But then it turned out differently than expected. Michele ran one of his best races ever and prevailed against many strong, ambitious and internationally experienced runners.

When asked about his recipe for success, Michele turns silent for a while. Then he smiles and says: "Relaxed effectiveness. It is especially the relaxed effectiveness. I am convinced that the targeted use of mental techniques again had a significant positive impact on my running performance and recovery phases on site. But I also keep seeing how runners unnecessarily put themself under huge pressure and thus block themself. Those who run relaxed and free, can often better retrieve their real potential. And usually have more fun, can enjoy a lot more the beautiful sunsets in the Kalahari or the majestic giraffes passing by."

Fotos are available in high-res upon request.

Infos on research project here

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