PROJECT ICEMAN – ANDERS HOFMAN LAURSEN INTERVIEW
The first person to ever complete an Ironman on Antarctica. That is who DANISH ENDURANCE brand ambassador Anders Hofman Laursen, through his Project Iceman, has dedicated the last couple of years of his life trying to become. Common sense would tell you that this is an almost impossible feat to accomplish. Anders, however, is determined to prove, that limitations are merely perceptions, and with strong will power and control over mind, anything can be.
Antarctica is the only continent on planet earth that is unhabituated by humans – and with good reason. Antarctica does not have much moisture (water), sunlight, good soil, or a warm temperature allowing for land plants to grow. The average winter temperature is about -49°C, and the coldest recorded temperature on Antarctica was -89,6°C at Vostok station in 1983. In comparison, your freezer at home is about -15°C. On top of that, the wind chill can make it feel much colder than the recorded temperatures.
Business as not-so-usual.
‘’it has to be extreme,’’ Anders says when asked why he wishes to complete a full Ironman in these obscure conditions. ‘’It has to be extreme in order to push boundaries and create awareness’’ Anders repeats. Anders is a 29-year-old Dane. He lives in a trendy inner-city Copenhagen apartment with a team member of the Project Iceman crew. He holds a master’s degree in Applied Economics and Finance from Copenhagen Business School and has built and co-founded numerous businesses and ventures in his short lifetime. Prior to Project Iceman, Anders was working as a management consultant. But something was missing. ‘’I had to start listening to myself.’’
‘’I introduced the Project Iceman to prove to younger generations, that anything is possible. To leave this kind of lasting impact on people, you have to go beyond normal boundaries and show that you can do what you set your mind to if you are willing to stay disciplined and work at it.’’ That is why Anders will embark on a 3,8-kilometer swim in -2°C cold water, followed by a 180-kilometer long bike-ride, before finally arriving at the 42,2-kilometer run – all on Antarctica. ”I wish to inspire, just as I’ve been inspired”.
‘’Dwayne ‘’The Rock’’ Johnson’’ is the first person that comes to mind when Anders is asked who inspires him. It is evident that mental strength is a big part of Anders’ preparations for this project. ’’My greatest strength is my self-belief. It all starts and ends in your mind.’’
Anders is so confident that he won’t be risking his life in the attempt, that the worst-case scenario isn’t not making it back alive – it’s not completing the Ironman at all.
DANISH ENDURANCE: ‘’what does your team look like?’’’
‘’We’re 10 people on the expedition. 3 of them are crew, sailing us to Antarctica from Argentina. Then we have a polar guide who measures the safety on land and tracks the route beforehand. 3 camera guys that will document all angles and aspects of the entire expedition – we’re going to turn it into a documentary. My brother will also come along to manage all the practicalities. Then there is me – which leaves 1 spot open. We haven’t decided on what role this spot should play. Many would probably argue that this should be a doctor. For me, that would be dead weight. We won’t need it. We will have people there that know first aid, and I would maybe rather bring a director along.’’
”What does the timeframe look like?”
”We will be leaving on the 2nd of February 2020. The expedition in its entirety will take us about 38-42 days. The actual route is being finalized as we speak.”
”What are some of the major risks and challenges that you’ll be facing?”
”There are plenty of challenges that need we need to take the necessary precautions for. During the swim, we need to figure out a way to mitigate the risk of attacks by leopard seals, one of Antarctica’s top-ranked predators. Then there is the swim in itself. As it will take place in waters down to 2 degrees celsius, there are many problems here that will present themselves. Despite the use of a wetsuit, the cold ocean water is still likely to penetrate the suit. Another aspect is the bike setup and trying to find the optimal bike that can withstand the snow versus ice conditions – which we might just have solved as of late. And lastly, we still need to secure the required funding, which is about €400.000. Half of this amount is dedicated to the Antarctica expedition, primarily due to the high traveling expenditures.”
Who is Anders Hofman Laursen:
This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.
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