Watch topless man breaking record for barefoot half marathon on ice

Topless man Czech Josef Salek breaks record for barefoot marathon on ice
Topless Czech Josef Salek breaks record for barefoot marathon on ice (Image credit: Guinness World Records)

There are some records you didn’t know were there to be broken. And then, when you learn about them, you’re glad somebody else has.

Such as Josef Salek, of the Czech Republic, who recently braved freezing temperatures wearing nothing but a pair of shorts to break the record for the fastest half marathon barefoot on ice/snow, an effort which has been ratified by Guinness World Records.

With a time of 1:50:42 (which is pretty much the average time for a half marathon run on roads), Salek is the new holder of a record that had gone unbroken for 16 years: Wim ‘The Iceman’ Hof ran his barefoot-on-ice half marathon of 2:06:34 in 2007. Dutch fitness guru Hof also ran topless for the Discovery Channel documentary Real Super-humans and the Quest for the Future Fantastic – we’re not sure if the topless bit is actually part of the barefoot record criteria or just a bold fashion choice.

Salek previously broke the record for the longest time in an abdominal plank position (male) last year with a staggering time of 9:38:47. 

Therapist, lecturer and personal development Salek, aks Joska, prepared for the record attempt by submerging his feet in a tub of ice every day for the 14 days beforehand.

He’s used to subjecting his feet to cruel and unusual torture: he’s previously walked on challenging surfaces such as hot coals and glass shards, so barefoot running on ice must seem like a walk in the park in comparison.

The attempt was almost scuppered when the night before, the course froze over and was impossible to run on. But a team of volunteers raked the frozen course until it was usable again. Salek zigzagged and changed his running frequency across the course to keep his feet from slipping, but the uphill sections were still challenging.

“Every obstacle allows us to be creative and be able to find ways to overcome it,” said Salekl after the record breaking attempt. “And this attitude of life can liberate us from our greatest enemy, which is our doubts, fears and inner criticism of everything and everyone. In doing so, we take responsibility for our life and the way it makes us feel.”