In Antarctica’s ice-cold water, a man plans to submerge himself and swim 3.8 km while the predatory threat of sea leopards lurks beneath him. Next, he will bike 180 km through harsh and snowy winds. Finally, he will run 42.2 km on Antarctica’s glacial surface with the imminent peril of frost damages and dehydration. All in one day.
“Limitations are only perceptions of what we can achieve”
He calls it an Iceman and will be the first in the world to attempt what is being perceived as impossible. The man behind is Anders Hofman Laursen and we had the pleasure of interviewing him about his crazy dream.
“The ordinary can achieve the extraordinary”
What makes Mr. Iceman even more peculiar, is that he is not even a professional triathlete. His experience with triathlon is less than two years and only once has he completed the more traditional Ironman. Any rational person would describe the attempt as sheer insanity. Nevertheless, Anders is iron-willed about his mission and believes firmly that ordinary things done consistently can lead to extraordinary results.
Despite obtaining a master’s degree, travelling to Poland to open up a juice bar, and founding the company Athleed, Anders is not yet convinced that he has left any truly meaningful footprints. To him, the most important thing is to inspire people to believe that even the wildest dreams can be achieved. Anders wants the Iceman to become the new point of reference for what ordinary people can accomplish with the right determination. As he says, in the end it is about how you perceive yourself and your possibilities.
“The idea with this project is to show that the impossible is possible”
Even though Anders would appear to be a DREAMER, he believes himself to be more of a VIZIONARY. He explains that he is good at breaking down a process into well-defined phases that can be executed. Taking one step at a time will give him the right preparation to take on the most extreme Ironman ever attempted.
Anders Hofman Laursen was only two weeks away from opening a juice bar in Poland with his cousin, when he decided to return to Denmark and start his education at CBS. It was one of the hardest times in his life. He felt terrible that he had to leave his cousin behind, but due to educational regulations, he had to apply for the education that year or his chances would have been greatly reduced in the future. The risk of starting a juice bar was too high without an education to fall back on.
“It took me a whole education before I began to listen to myself”
He went down the beaten path and some years later he was about to graduate. He had a great job as a consultant. Things were going good. However, a road trip with his friend in California would prove to be a decisive turning point in his life. Bathed in the Californian sun, a grievous thought struck him; “what is it that I truly want, what is my passion?”.
He realized that he had to restart and revitalize his life. It became the start of his company Athleed. And half a year later he would watch a documentary about the world-renowned kite surfer Nick Jacobsen, who inspired Anders to pursue the Iceman.
“When the 80-year-old you, look back at the life you lived, what would that person say?”
Anders believes that we’re living in a digital world, where we seek confirmation, approval and advice from everyone else, while we forget to listen to the most important person; ourselves. “To be brave enough to trust and listen to ourselves is the hardest part about the time we’re living in”.
Anders attended Harvard University as an exchange student, where he had several academic defeats. At Harvard he realized that he felt alienated and was pursuing something of extrinsic motivation. A question that has since been guiding his choices is what his future self would think, if it looked back at his life. At crossroads, his future self always tells him to take on the adventure and grab the opportunity.
Today, Anders lives by the quotes “Just do it” and “Dream Crazy”, famously known from Nike commercials. He has an ambition to leave the world a better place than it was when he got here. Through incredible endeavours he wants to keep challenging our perception of what is possible.
Anders knows that he will not succeed on his own. On his journey, he needs to find a lot of people who believes in his mission. He needs the adequate financing to purchase the right equipment. The project requires skilled cameramen and PR-specialists to reach millions of viewers. It is a reminder to us all that even giants stand on the shoulders of others.
Anders reminded me of the quote by Alan Turing: “Sometimes it is the very people that no one can imagine anything of, who do the things no one can imagine”.
Thanks to Anders for sharing his story with us. He will attempt the Iceman in 2019. You can read more about his project here: https://www.projecticeman.com and follow it on social media (check his bio beneath). We wish him the best of luck!
Profession:Athlete and entrepreneur
Education:MSc Applied Economics & Finance, CBS
DREAMER & VIZIONARY:40/60