EXTRA-ORDINARY CHALLENGE

I want to test my soul, says Helfert ahead of 160km run

Helfert has been in Africa for close to a decade and has seen him fall in love with the continent and his stay in Kenya has, therefore, been fulfilling.

In Summary

• David, an administrator at the Czech Embassy in Nairobi, said he has always wanted to feature in such a long-competitive race and could still feature in one in the future.

• The 2022 Comrades Ultra Marathon was held on August 22, from Petermaritz to Durban, covering 89km.

David Helfert simulates a training exercise outside the Embassy of Czech Republic in Lavington, Nairobi on September 20
David Helfert simulates a training exercise outside the Embassy of Czech Republic in Lavington, Nairobi on September 20
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

After missing out on the 2022 Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa, Czech Republic expatriate David Helfert is planning to fulfill his ambitions with a 160-km run this Friday.

Helfert, an administrator at the Czech Embassy in Nairobi, said he has always wanted to feature in such a long-competitive race and could still feature in one in the future.

“My goal was to compete at the Comrades Ultra Marathon in South Africa this year but that did not happen,” said Helfert.

The 2022 Comrades Ultra Marathon was held on August 22, from Petermaritz to Durban, covering 89km.

This Friday, however, Helfert has set the bar quite high and is bubbling with confidence that he will conquer the 100-mile run.

“I want to challenge myself. I want to test my soul. I want to see what my limits are. I want to build a bulletproof mindset,” said Helfert, who has since run 117km on the same Nairobi, Magadi route.

“I love this route. I have run there with some friends before and I love it very much. It is a quiet area, where I can connect with nature.”

Czech Republic Ambassador to Kenya Martin Klepetko hands a national flag to David Helfert at Embassy of Czech Republic in Lavington, Nairobi on September 20
Czech Republic Ambassador to Kenya Martin Klepetko hands a national flag to David Helfert at Embassy of Czech Republic in Lavington, Nairobi on September 20
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

In his upcoming challenge, Helfert intends to start his run in Nairobi on Friday at noon, and run up to Corner Baridi, alone. At nightfall, he will have a car behind him up to Magadi, about 80km.

In the morning (Saturday), he will head for Nguruman— where he will seek to finish before darkness.

Helfert, who has been in Kenya since January 2019, revealed he has been into sports since his formative years, featuring in basketball, weightlifting, Ironman triathlon and riding, in addition to running. However, he never got to professional levels.

“I played club basketball at Kbley in my teenage years and even though I never went professional, it was very competitive,” said Helfert, 46.

He observed that when he came to Kenya, he realized the sport is like the national sport and even the friends he has made in his time in the country are into running.

“Initially, it never dawned on me that I could run upon places like Elephant Hill, Kinangop and Suswa. Running was an excellent approach to understanding Kenya,” he said.

David Helfert during an interview at the Embassy of Czech Republic in Lavington, Nairobi on September 20
David Helfert during an interview at the Embassy of Czech Republic in Lavington, Nairobi on September 20
Image: ANDREW KASUKU

“Now, I am so much into running and have even scaled down on my gym and biking time. I do at least 20km a day before I go to work and during the weekends, I do some longer runs or some hill climbs, covering about 500-550km a month.”

Helfert has been in Africa for close to a decade and has seen him fall in love with the continent and his stay in Kenya has, therefore, been fulfilling.

“In Kenya, there is almost everything; hills, valleys, mountains, deserts, savannah, beaches and the weather is usually conducive for whatever outdoor activity one intends to undertake,” he said.

“In fact, I have traveled all around Kenya on a bike. I have been to Lake Victoria, Amboseli, Malindi, Marsabit, Isiolo and Iten,” said Helfert, adding: “It could be more than 100,000km.”

Helfert, a teetotaller, said he usually does the trips by himself.

“Not very many people would appreciate my kind of schedule. Some may opt to stay out late into the night but that’s not my way,” he said, adding that his day starts at 3 am and concludes between 8 pm and 9 pm.

 

Name: David Helfert

Age: 46

Nationality: Czech

Education: Masters in Economics

Longest Run: 117km

Time in Kenya: Since 2019

Scope of work: Administrator at Czech Republic Embassy

Mantra: To be present

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