Occasionally we profile someone who fits into our extreme personality box and recently Wim Hof, aka The IceMan, swam into our radar.
Born April 20, 1959, Wim Hof is a Dutch world record holder and adventurer, commonly nicknamed the Iceman for his ability to withstand extreme cold. In 2007, he attempted, but failed, to climb Mount Everest wearing nothing but shorts. He holds nine world records including a world record for longest ice bath, 1 hour and 31 minutes in May 2008.
In February 2007 he completed a half-marathon (21kms) above the Arctic Circle in Finland wearing only shorts (SUPERGOODNEWS). He completed the marathon barefoot…
In February 2009, Wim Hof reached the top of Mount Kilamanjaro in 2 days wearing only his shorts. It took him another 2 days to climb down.
Wim can actually regulate his core heat to control the temperature of his skin. Something of a medical enigma, he is able to withstand cold that could kill or seriously injure other people. He uses the Tantric practice called Tummo to control his body temperature. Tummo has been practiced by Yogi monks in Tibet. Apparently Wim is the only known non-monk to have mastered Tummo.
He has proved that extreme cold can be resisted by controlling the human body using the power of the mind only.
In March 2009 he successfully completed a FULL marathon again above the Arctic Circle, this time adding open sandals to his ensemble.
His technique to prepare himself for the marathon were unconventional to say the least. Instead of being out there pounding pavements, he, instead, immersed himself in freezing water. He insists that all exertions are mind over matter.
His love of freezing temperatures began when he was 18. He claims to have ‘found his inner self’ when he immersed himself in freezing water for 30 seconds. Since then he has dedicated his whole adult life to conquering the cold.
“The cold is not our enemy. The cold is our best friend. Because you learn to control you body and your mind,” he says and continues with: “fear is something real. You have to understand fear to cope with it.”
Temperatures in the Arctic Circle can plummet very quickly and without warning, but this did not deter Wim. However he did acknowledge that a full marathon in temperatures ranging around -8 to -16 C would be his toughest challenge of his mind control theories, bearing in mind that that at or below 0º C (32°F) and below you run the risk of frostbite in fingers, feet and extremities, with hypothermia being a very real risk.
Running in his trademark shorts, Wim used sports sandals for the event to give him more traction on the snow. It was vital to run on compacted snow otherwise he would expend too much energy. He did no physical training for the event apart from a half hour swim under 2″ ice the day before to focus his mind and to prepare his body’s reaction to the extreme cold.
To scientists amazement his blood pressure was almost the same after the swim. They acknowledge that he has an almost superhuman ability to withstand cold.
To make matters worse, he started the marathon with a sprained ankle, but despite this he chose to continue.
After 2 hours of running he was out of his comfort zone and at 3 hours he was tired. The support crew were worried. Every marathon runner knows that at any time you can reach the wall where your body says “enough now”. But Wim has trained his body to listen to his more powerful mind – “keep the cold out, don’t go with the fatigue, don’t g0 with the suffering…”
With 3 miles left he was tired and walking. He admitted to feeling a little cold, his legs were heavy, but after a hot drink he continued this time with his 6-year old son, Noah, keeping him company.
He limped across the finish line in 5 hours and 25 minutes and enjoyed a well-earned cigarette!
Our congratulations go to this extroadinary man. A fitting holder of the title: THE ICEMAN….