Harald Zundel is a renowned adventure racer, ultra-runner, and all-around endurance junkie. Born in Germany, Harald came to the US for university and then joined the Navy. Early in his naval career he somewhat accidentally decided to become a Navy SEAL. As if it’s easy, right?
Harald did his first adventure race on a team with several other Navy SEALs. They won that race and Harald was hooked on adventure racing. He became a professional adventure racer shortly after and spent nearly 8 years travelling and competing full-time before quitting the pro life and endurance sports altogether for a few years.
But Harald is not one to take the relaxing path. More recently, he has gotten back into punishing, I mean, challenging himself by running extremely long distance races like the Barkley Marathons, the Bigfoot 200, and the Ultra trail du Mont Blanc.
- [2:27] Harald’s childhood in Germany and being independent from a young age
- [7:30] How Harald ended up in university in South Carolina
- [8:30] Culture shock moving from Germany to the US
- [11:45] How Harald ended up in the Navy
- [14:00] And how he found out about the Navy SEALs
- [15:00] How not having a mythology about the SEALs made it easier to sign up without a lot of fear.
- [16:00] What does it take to be a SEAL?
- [17:20] What’s the self talk that helped you get through BUDS (Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL)?
- [18:25] Finding strength in seeing others quit and Harald’s lowest moment during BUDS
- [20:00] What happens after BUDS?
- [22:00] Finding adventure racing
- [24:20] “Stage” vs “Expedition” style adventure racing
- [26:40] The team aspect of adventure racing
- [27:10] The life of a professional adventure racer
- [31:00] The mental aspects of adventure racing: Overcoming obstacles and challenges
- [34:00] Why Harald retired from adventure racing
- [35:00] Taking a complete break from endurance sports and just doing yoga for a few years
- [36:00] Getting back into running and pushing into ultra-marathon distances
- [38:00] Training for ultras
- [39:20] Some of the highlight races that Harald has run
- [40:30] What is the draw of these long, famous races.
- [42:00] The unique characteristics of the Barkley Marathons (YouTube | Netflix)
- [45:00] Harald’s 3rd place finish in the Bigfoot 200 and going 70+ hours with just 2 hours of sleep!
- [47:30] The strategy of competing in extreme endurance sports
- [48:50] The UTMB (Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc), arguably the most famous ultra-marathon in the world
- [51:15] How does Harald suggest getting into ultra-marathons?
- [53:45] What does adventure mean to Harald?
- [54:50] Why is adventure important?
- [56:15] Is discipline a required aspect of being adventurous or having adventures?