Extreme athlete Norman Bücher: On foot through the Caucasus
After a dramatic run, extreme athlete Norman Bücher is standing at the beach of the Caspian Sea in Baku, the capital of Azerbaijan, and is bursting with happiness. After 20 eventful stretches on foot, the SEA2SEA expedition has come to a successful end. „I’m overjoyed and extremely grateful that I was able to make my dream of running from the Black to the Caspian Sea come true!“, says the Global Topspeaker. On his run, Bücher was accompanied by the French journalist and photographer Carole Pipolo who went along by bicycle and documented the expedition with impressive pictures.
On his trip, the 39 year old extreme runner covered a distance of 1,030 kilometres on foot in Georgia and Azerbaijan and negotiated 13,000 metres in elevation in only 20 days. A pull cart, similar to a baby jogger, served as an unusual means of transportation for his entire equipment. The SEA2SEA expedition started out in the Georgian harbour city of Batumi on the Black Sea and continued on to the Azerbaijanian city of Baku on the Caspian Sea. In between, there was untouched countryside: the habitat of brown bears, jaguars and wolves, amongst others. But there were numerous cities and villages along the way as well.
The first leg of Norman Bücher’s journey already represented a great challenge as a considerable difference in altitude had to be conquered in addition to the distance of 82 kilometres. Surrounded by beautiful scenery and with a multitude of impressions and encounters, Norman Bücher continued on to the village Adigeni. Initially, heavy rainfalls and sodden paths had made the extreme athlete’s undertaking quite difficult but during the course of the expedition, the conditions gradually improved. During the eighth stretch of the trip, however, Norman Bücher lost his way and had to put up with a detour of 45 kilometres. Fortunately though, he was able to make up for the lost time and could continue on as planned.
The penultimate leg of journey before Baku really got to Bücher then. Heat, headwinds and heavy traffic made running the more than 66 kilometres an ordeal. Dead tired, the extreme runner was looking forward to his tent ever so often. „All in all, it was an unbelievably great experience, however. In particular the many extraordinary encounters turned this trip into something very, very special“, says the extreme athlete. He reveals that the amazing hospitality and helpfulness of the people is what made a lasting impression on him.
Shortly after the halfway point, Norman Bücher, for instance, wrote in his blog: „Yesterday was unbelievable! It has definitely been the most beautiful, eventful and most intense stretch so far. Two elderly ladies offered us cherries at the side of the road, a truck driver belted out a cheerful “Welcome to Georgia” to us. A family invited us to join them for vodka and beer - which we declined with thanks, naturally. And in the evening, we accepted a farmer’s invitation and had dinner with him and his family. Afterwards, we spent the night beneath an incredibly beautiful, star-studded sky.“
The wild landscape of the Caucasus Mountains with peaks of up to 5,642 meters fascinated the extreme athlete but at the same time instilled a healthy respect in him. The long climbs, in particular, represented one of the many hardships on this tour. A total of about 13,000 metres difference in altitude had to be mastered on the trip – a tremendous challenge with a pull cart and 30 kilograms of weight.
This expedition once again put the physical and mental limits of the athlete who - as a Global Topspeaker - passes on his experience in motivational lectures, to the test. Totally in line with Norman Bücher‘s motto: „Human imagination is the limit.”