Outside of my family and my physically closest friends, if I was to say ‘I love this man’ it would be about a mad computer language wizard currently trekking through a frozen wonderwasteland on the other side of the planet.
Beat Jegerlehner, rightfully recording his exploits at Be Ultra bummed a lift with me from Salt Lake City to Moab in 2011, after a good netfriend, Meghan Hicks, hooked us up. We were all converging on the gorgeous red desert of Utah for some muddy red ultra fun at Slick Rock 100, the race that eats cars. The man blew my notion of ultrarunning out of the water. Rolling through roughly a 100-miler every 2 months, he had just completed his second Tor Des Geants, the race that eats brains. 330km, mostly at altitude, with 24,000 metres of elevation gain, largely in the Italian Alps, a single-stage race with an 8-day cutoff. Bar raised.
Last year, having become a white-race junkie, he turned his efforts to the Iditarod Trail Invitational, 350-mile short course. There is no point trying to explain what it must be like to run and strive and stumble over more than 500km of snow, ice, and deadly hidden waters, dragging a sled and the weight of aspirations through temperatures of 40 below. Read Beat’s blog, read brilliant Alaskan endurance writer Jill Homer‘s Half Past Done as she tells of Tim Hewitt – a guy so hungry for that finish line buzz that he dragged a broken leg 800km just to shrug through it on his way to many more.
Right now, Beat has gone well past the two-thirds point on his epic 1600km trek to the land of Nome. Before he left I recorded this hour-long (you gotta be dedicated, but there are some ultra nuggets here) chat and friendly catch up. Now he looks set to finish the 1,000 mile edition of the Iditarod Trail Invitational before I can harvest it and produce a sensibly structured, succinct narrative for all you avid readers who like something longer than a tweet.
Well, if you are craving ultra brain, from a man currently completing the race that eats hands and feet, here’s my hero talking calmly before throwing himself into the wondrous unknown of the Iditarod.