Norbert hot foots it to Finland for chilly challenge

Oban chef Norbert Floris gets down to business in the Atlantis gym.

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An Oban chef will be escaping the heat and getting out of the kitchen next month when he attempts to break the record for running a half marathon in ice/snow in his bare feet.

Hungarian born Norbert Floris will travel to Finland at the end of March where he aims to beat the time of one hour 36 minutes and 21 seconds set by Czech Josef Salek in 2021. He will run in the city of Oulu where the original record was set in 2007 by Wim (The Ice Man) Hoff.

Like Hoff, Norbert celebrates cold water for natural wellness and it was while he was doing this that he came up with the idea for his challenge.

He told us: ‘I was already taking ice-baths as part of my daily routine and as I sat in one of these one day the idea came to me to break one of his (Hoff’s) records. I’ve been training every day since.

‘I’m always up for challenging myself. I really believe that once someone overcomes any challenge in their life it makes them a better person and helps them better understand what is really important.

‘It’s amazing what happens to your attitude when you undertake something like this – you look at everyone else much more kindly and wake up each morning feeling much more optimistic about the coming day. Everyone should do it!’

Norbert recognises there is no guarantee of success for this particular kind of challenge and added: ‘There’s nothing guaranteed in life so I think I should throw my everything into it and whatever I learn or discover along the way will be a success in itself.’

In between his job as a full-time chef at Coast, Norbert is committed to a gruelling training regime which includes taking ice baths and cold showers, barefooting it around Glencoe and spending his afternoons in the gym at Atlantis.

‘There are two sides to my training – and having both is essential,’ he told us.
‘One is the physical side, making sure my body is physically up to the challenge, and the other side is mental preparation.

‘If anyone’s ever tried taking ice baths or cold showers, you soon realise that it’s mostly just a mind game against yourself. The moment you start doubting yourself, your body immediately reacts and you drop focus – that’s pretty much the end of the training session soon after.’

As he steps into his last weeks of training Norbert is now looking for help to give him the best chance possible of achieving his goal.

He added: ‘I’ve been doing everything on my own so far – but I know I need a team to support and help me.

‘I’d be so grateful to chat to anyone who is up for that. It could be something as simple as coming out for a run with me (don’t worry – you don’t have to do it barefoot!) or helping come up with a funding plan.

‘Manager Nick Wesley, and the whole Atlantis community have already been a huge help, particularly with giving me opportunities to help my training through the use of their facilities, but I require some funding too. Whatever is left over after paying for the trip I will donate back into Atlantis.’

As well as completing marathons and ultra-marathons over the years Norbert, who is now 33, celebrated his 30th birthday by running to Fort William and back.