Archive | Extreme Sports

Angikar finished in Heidelberg 9/11 around noon

First of all: HUGE CONGRATULATIONS – to Angikar and the whole team!

Just a few glimpses for now – more to come.

Sept. 6: swimming on the best swim day of the year in unbelievable conditions – looks like liquid silver (click for video):




Heidelberg Castle

A very happy Angikar with the Serbian flag – and Heidelberg Castle in the back


More photos  of the swim → here





Being busy with many other things, Angikar`s training had actually been quite limited – mainly to swimming. However, his absolute faith – and the inner and outer support from friends and teammates all over the world – carried him through.  One “mantra” or idea that inspired and helped Angikar right from the beginning tremendously, was a quote by his meditation teacher Sri Chinmoy:

Peace Tree Heidelberg

Angikar with local and main helpers, finishing at the Ethnological Museum at the Gingko Peace Tree planted in 2001 with the current mayor of Heidelberg

Peace Tree Ethnological Museum Heidelberg

Two EC-Triathlons: Dover-Aachen 2010 (right), Dover-Heidelberg 2014 (left), and 4 EC solos and 3 EC relays in one photo

We are all truly unlimited,
If we only dare to try
And have faith.
Sri Chinmoy

Interestingly, to the day 29 years ago, back in 1985, after our first two team members successfully swam the English Channel, Sri Chinmoy commented:

“Yesterday`s impossibility has surrendered to today’s reality. But this reality also has to be transcended… Self-transcendence is a very special kind of perfection in the Heart of our Beloved Supreme.” – Sri Chinmoy, Sept. 11, 1985



Around the block in 52 days – CBS reports on the 3100 mile race in N.Y.

Great coverage for a great bunch of world elite runners on → CBS news

The 18th edition of the annual Self-Transcendence 3,100 Mile Race of New York – called ‘The Mount Everest of ultramarathons’ by The New York  Times – started on June 15th and will end on August 6. Of the 14 runners, the first ones already finished, in first place Sarvagata Ukrainsky (from Ukraine), who has run the race for the 4th time now, followed by Yuri Trostenyuk in 2nd place in his 2nd 3100 mile race.  Vasu will finish in 3rd place in his 3rd race!  For Pranjal Milovnik in 4th place, it is his 10th edition of the race. And for Stutisheel (Ukraine) in 5th place it will be his 8th finish. (See → result details.)


From left to right: Jayasalini Abramovskikh (RU), Sarah Barnett (AUS), Nidhruvi Zimmerman (A) – still happy after about 36 days of running over 2 marathons (50-60 miles or more) daily!

I am particularly impressed, however, by the 3 girls in the race, Sarah from Australia, Nidhruvi from Vienna, Austria, and Jayasalini from Russia – with their absolutely inspiring performances. Having done one 6-day-race myself in April 2010 I have just a small idea of what the runners have to be going through in terms of physical and mental challenges and sometimes excruciating pains – on the one hand. On the other hand, there are many transformative spiritual experiences and deep inner experiences of satisfaction, peace and even ecstasy – which will permeate the entire being and be absorbed  and felt #even more for weeks and months after the race is finished. For deeper insights into the world of this mind-blowing challenge there are Utpal’s great daily posts about the race and its runners, with live interviews, photos and very knowledgeble background and inside information on → www.perfectionjourney.

Main website:

My life’s only road:
My heart’s only road:
My soul’s only road:

Sri Chinmoy, Morning blessing-call-prayers


Cuba to Florida – the Impossible Dream made a reality!

Huge Congratulations to Diana Nyad! Never too old to chase your dreams!

I believe in dreaming big. y for Diana Nyad - Cuba to Florida 2013 – Diana Nyad

5 attempts, spread out over 35 years, were needed until she finally made her dream come true and wrote history – with tremendous willpower, determination, patience, vision, faith, dedication and an absolute never-give-up-attitude! In “only” 52 hours, 54 minutes and 18.6 seconds (she expected to swim around 80 hours), supported by favourable currents and a huge team of helpers but without sleep or rest, long distance swimmer Diana Nyad conquered the approx. 103 miles (166 km) from Cuba to Florida – at age 64! Reaching Key West, Florida on Sept. 2nd 2013, around 2 p.m. local time, she became the first person to swim across the Florida Straits without a shark cage after Susie Maronie did it back in 1997 protected (and aided) by a cage.

After her 3 recent defeats in 2011 and 2012, when she was forced to stop due to life-threatening box jellyfish stings, and after 2 failed attempts by faster and younger accomplished long distance swimmers Chloe McCardel and Penny Palfrey, many thought her dream was simply impossible to realise. But Diana was determined to give it a last try and again put everything into it – body, mind, heart and soul. Plus creativity and inventiveness. And with the help of an amazing team of specialists in many fields and believers in her vision including individual sponsoring from all over the world now everything seemed to come together. Even Mother Nature seemed to send her blessings, letting her swim in an almost strait line supported by the currents, in mostly calm seas and with only one small thunderstorm during the first night. Her main problem this time was sickness – the difficulty to keep feedings down.

Her mantra: “Find a way”

Diana did not swim completely according to English Channel rules, but her use of a mask and suit to protect herself against deadly box jelly fish especially at night, allowing herself to be touched, and using a streamer to help her swim in a straight line, does not necessarily take away from her accomplishment, which included incredible amounts of solitary training hours – it rather shows her determination and creativity to find a way to reach her goal.

“I have three messages”

Barely able to speak with exhaustion and a swollen mouth after her arrival on her “Other Shore”, she still had 3 messages to offer:

  1. we should never ever give up;
  2. you are never too old to chase your dreams;
  3. it looks like a solitary sport but it is a team.



Diana Nyad - Open Water Swimming Conference Long Beach 2012

Holding the Peace Torch with Diana Nyad at the Global Open Water Swimming Conference on the Queen Mary in Long Beach, Sept. 2012






More in many articles and videos:

Jose Miguel Diaz Escrich, the Hemingway Marina commodore who helped organize the Cuba side of Nyad’s multiple attempts, is quoted by USA today:
Diana-Nyad-Other-Shore“More than the athletic feat, she wants to send a message of peace, love, friendship and happiness … between the people of the United States and Cuba,” he said.
Shortly (end of September), Diana Nyad is releasing her feature-length documentary film, The Other Shore, about her “jaw-dropping journey” to manifest her → Xtreme Dream.

“The fullness of life lies in dreaming and manifesting the impossible dreams.”Sri Chinmoy

Also interesting to read:


Global Open Water Conference – Honouring Sri Chinmoy


Honourees IMSHOF 2012

It was a nice adventure and a great honour to be invited to the Global Open Water Swimming Conference Sept. 21st/22nd 2012 on the Queen Mary, in Long Beach, California, to accept the IMSHOF award for Sri Chinmoy, who was beingSri Chinmoy honoured posthumously for his decades of inspiration and mentorship in the with Big River Man Martin Strel and AbhejaliOpen Water and Channel swimming world. I felt like a tiny fish among so many great fish (Diana Nyad, OW Greta Anderson, swimming legend, holding the World Harmony Run Torchlegend Greta Anderson, “Big River Man” Martin Strel (who was lifted by Sri Chinmoy in 2004), Penny Lee Dean, Marcos Diaz (U.N. Goodwill and Ocean Ambassador), Marcy MacDonald, Elisabeth Fry, Torch Bearer Award for Steven MunatonesDr. Jane Katz (who has trained some of our team`s Channel swimmers in N.Y.), Michael Read (King of the Channel 1997-2005), Ned Denison, Peace Swimmer Nejib Diana Nyad - Cuba to FloridaBelhedi and many others) – and it was extremely inspiring to meet with and listen to so many open water greats – and to speak to them about Sri Chinmoy and the Sri Chinmoy Marathon Team – and introduce the new book “Sport and Meditation”.

Many guests and speakers enjoyed holding theNehjib Belhedi - Swim for Peace Across Tunesia World Harmony Torch and making a wish for peace, and the Torch was finally invited also into the group photo with all the IMSHOF honourees.

Steven Munatones, main organiser of the Conference (with co-organiser Lexie Kelly on the left and Shelley Taylor-Smith on the right), was awarded the Torch Bearer Award of the World Harmony Run for his tireless efforts in promoting the spirit of self-transcendence and international friendship, inspiring and joining so many people across the world in their various quests in the open water world.

The 3rd day of the conference was marked by the “Swim Across America” iSwim Across American the Marine Stadium of Long Beach with races of various distances – and around 350 participants. Training for Gibraltar, I chose the 10 k olympic distance and was quite happy to finish in 3 h 25 – more than a minute before Mike Read, King of the English Channel from 1997-2005 with 33 crossings. Abhejali did 1.5 k in 27 min 26.

We were three from our Sri Chinmoy our team at the conferenceMarathon Team: myself (EC 1985 and 2010, Zurich lakes etc.), Abhejali Bernadova from Czech Republic (English Channel 2011, Manhattan Island Marathon Swim 2012, Zurich lake etc.), Bigalita Egger, L.A. (ultrarunner, several 10 day races in New York at age 70+) and Ahelee (EC solo 2001), a good friend, and we had a great time during, before and after the conference! Thank you everyone for your support – and the IMSHOF for their amazing efforts!
Dr Jane Katz Ned DenisonMarcos Diaz

Individual Self-Transcendence


Lewis Gordon Pugh – Mind-shifting Everest Swim

Lewis Gordon Pugh - Achieving the Impossible

Lewis Gordon Pugh – Achieving the Impossible

Just finished reading ice swimmer and fellow Channel swimmer Lewis Gordon Pugh’s captivating book “Achieving the Impossible“, published in May 2010,  and came across this extremely inspiring video speach about his Mount Everest swim for Peace, also in May 2010, which I want to share here, because it carries such an important message:

The book  is a captivating documentary from his background of swimming from Robben Island to Cape Town at age 17, his pioneer swim across  Lake Malawi with Otto Thaning (EC 1994),  to the English Channel in 1992, his swim around Cape Agulhas in 1994 – the southernmost point of the African continent, where the Atlantic and the Indian Ocean meet – on to his multi-day staged swims around Cape Good Hope, across the 204 kms of Sognefjord in Norway in 2004 and the river Thames in 2006, crowned by his record-breaking and world-consciousness-awakening swims in the Antarctis and finally his 1 mile swim in minus 1.7 °C water at the geographic North Pole in 2007.

He has become a dedicated environmentalist trying to raise awareness about the urgent need to change our ways if we want to protect our planet – and he has shown with his swims how things that would seem impossible can be achieved with determination, dedication, the courage of the heart and a vision.

Lewis Gordon Pugh talking about his North Pole swim

Lewis Gordon Pugh talking about his North Pole swim

Here another video where he describes his North Pole swim:

I hope Lewis will receive the Torch Bearer Award of the World Harmony Run in the near future as one of the outstanding individuals of today`s world, committed to working towards making the world a better place, and in particular towards more harmony between man and nature.

His birthday is December 5th – so happy birthday!

“Smilingly you touch
The head of impossibility.
Carefully you feel
The heart of impossibility.
Powerfully you transform
The life of impossibility
Into definite practicality.”

Sri Chinmoy (a poem dedicated to Michael Gorbachev in 1990)

Speaking of sustainable living and a change of our ways – if more people changed to a more plant-based or even vegetarian diet, it would make a big difference for our future. (I have been a vegetarian since 1981!)
And regarding over-population, I vividly remember an answer by the Dalai Lama at the Parliament of World Religions in Chicago in 1993. Asked about a solution, he answered with a very cute smile: “It is very simple – more people have to become monks and nuns!”


Jackie Cobell: slow but steady – an epic swim. New world record for the longest solo across the English Channel

Jackie Cobell world record swim

Jackie Cobell world record swim EC Solo in 28 hours 44 min., here with Freda Streeter (mother of Alison, Queen of the Channel, and legendary EC swimmers’ coach) – map courtesy of ZimHippo

Saturday morning, July 24th, around 7:30 continental time, a swim started on Shakespeare beach that was to hold swimmers all over the world in its grip for over a day: 56 year old Jackie Cobell from London set off with Lance Oram (Sea Satin) and crew for France. It was the end of the neap tides (6 m and 6.2 m), with SW and SSW winds up to 14 knots according to Sandette Light ship. Like so often with slower swimmers, the swim started 1-2 hours before high tide, so the route looks unusual right from the beginning.  13 hours or so later Jackie reached the middle of the separation zone – half way geographically, while the average time for this year’s Channel swims (including relays) so far has been 13 hours 54 min. (last year: 13 hours 15 min)! Even at the next change of tides (after 6+ hours) she was still far from France – many would have given up by now.

Through the night

There was hope she would be able to make it on the next tide – and many of us woke up in the middle of the night around 3 or 4 a.m. to check the AIS-tracking to see if she was still hanging in there – and she was! They were nearing the sandbanks east of Calais, but then the tide carried her back west towards Cap Griz Nez and Calais again.

When I got up Sunday morning and checked the internet first thing she was still swimming! When I finally left at 9:30 a.m.  for my “long swim” in the Silbersee (only 6 hours, I was so late!) she was still swimming! While I was at the lake I had a good feeling about her. Still, when I came home in the evening and checked the net, I was anxious: did she finish? SHE DID! She finished around Sunday noon  – after 28 hours 44 min. (inofficial) in 15-16 degree water and similar air temperatures through the night and morning! Apparently without ever complaining or thinking of giving up! At the end, when she could almost touch the ferries going out of Calais harbour, it still took her 2 more hours to touch the sandy beach west of Calais harbour at 12:13.

See the > BBC video and interview

> Daily Telegraph article > Daily Mail

Kevin Murphy, King of the Channel (34 crossings) wrote to her on our Channel Chat group:


Your courage and determination are an inspiration to us all, during the swim itself and during the years you have spent training in Dover.

When the going gets tough; when the demons threaten our will to keep putting one arm in front of the other; we just have to remember – Jackie did it and achieved the dream.

I confess that when I first met you I had my doubts. I should have known better.

More than most, I have a fair idea what you went through and I add my voice to those from around the world who salute you.

Your swim will be remembered in the annals of Channel swimming as a true epic.

Kevin Murphy”

Only a few days before Australian marathon champion Chloe McCardel (25) had done her successful double crossing in only 21 hours 48 min. (after not being able to finish the second leg last year) – the beauty of  determination and speed and the beauty of determination and persistance!

The last few days were a perfect illustration for one of my favourite aphorisms by my late teacher Sri Chinmoy, which explains in a few simple words the value of such “otherworldly” achievements:

“Individual self-transcendence collectively inspires humanity at large.” – Sri Chinmoy

Also very true but not at all easy:

“It does not matter how slow you go so long as you do not stop.” Confucius


Young Woman and the Sea – how Gertrude Ederle Became the 1st Woman to Swim the English Channel

Gertrude Ederle - Young Woman and the Sea

A highly recommended read not only for swimming afficionados! This fascinating and deeply inspiring book by Glenn Stout, published only recently in July 2009, was given to me by a friend visiting Heidelberg this month. I swallowed it within a few days. It is an extremely lively, detailed and gripping account of how Gertrude Ederle, of German (Swabonian) descent, but born in the U.S., became the first woman to swim the English Channel in 1926 – and thus paving the way for a new role and recognition of women not only in sports but also in society.

As opposed to today, most of the attempts at that time and also her successful swim started from Cap Griz Nez, France, the closest point to England. On her successful swim on Aug. 6, 1926, a new route was tried out, which allowed her to start from a sandy beach in the calmer sheltered waters a little west of the Cap.  Her previous attempt the year before had failed because her trainer Jabez Wolfe had terminated her swim by sending another swimmer in to touch and thus disqualify her after nine hours in quite difficult conditions. But there were even rumours of deliberate food poisoning.

This time again, the boat pilot wanted to terminate the swim when things were getting critical. The boat, pushed by the tides, was getting dangerously close to the Goodwin Sands east of Dover and Deal, where the boat could have stranded. Finally, however, Trudy’s father, who was on the boat and  knew Trudy was doing fine, was able to convince the pilot to change course to avoid the Goodwin Sands. For Trudy this meant swimming against a very strong tide for quite some time. But she was confident, determined and steadily moving forward – finally landing in Kingsdown between Deal and Dover at 9:40 p.m. at night in an amazing 14 hours 31 (or 39?) min! Not only did she become the first woman to conquer the English Channel, but she even beat the men’s record by two hours!

Back in New York she was received like a star – but 2 of her records did not stand for long. She had opened new doors – and soon others were to follow: only 3 weeks later the next woman, Millie Clemington-Corson, succeeded, and three more men were to do it by September 1926 – each one faster than Trudy, but definitely helped by her achievement. For Trudy also pioneered a more efficient and faster swimming stroke than was common at the time – the front crawl. Breaststroke and the “trudgeon” had been the prevalent strokes of those days.

Gertrude Ederle

Gertrude Ederle

Gertrude’s female record, however, was only bettered in 1950 by Florence Chadwick, another swimming legend and 4x Channel swimmer, who made it from France to Dover in only 13:23 and became the first woman to swim the Channel from Dover to France in 1951.

“People said women couldn’t swim the Channel
– but I proved they could.”
– Gertrude Ederle


Meet Dan and his Global Triathlon

While acclimatising for our relay in Dover this year we met Dan (Daniel Martin), whose bike-odyssey from Corea to Cape Town I had already admired on the internet

Dan has a new project – a global triathlon – again with the aim of helping children in need all over the world. He will start on May 8th in New York, swimming in 8 hour/day sessions across the Atlantic to Brest (covering every meter thanks to GPS), from Brest he will bike across Europe and Siberia, cross the frozen Bering Strait and run from Alaska to finish with the New York marathon in Nov. 2011.

This project sounds impossible, but Dan is a great, humble guy and I am confident he will do it. I am sure he will be grateful for any support – during his journey and for his charity.

The Global Triathlon from Daniel Martin on Vimeo.

Check out his route, timetable and all:

“Great spirits have always encountered violent opposition from mediocre minds.” – Albert Einstein

“Every day is a journey and the journey itself is home. ”Matsuo Basho

“It does not matter how slowly you go, so long as you do not stop.” Lao Tzu (from Dan’s Corea to Cape Town-blog)


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