Thaddeus is an educator, entrepreneur and an extreme sportsman. He is known for his completion of a total of 1,000 kilometres in footraces through the hot deserts of Sahara, Gobi, Atacama and Antarctica and raising thousands of dollars for charitable foundations. Thaddeus aims to epitomise a unique blend of philanthropic pursuit and business enterprise, personal altruism and professional passion.
You've traveled to pretty crazy places. Can you share with us some of these amazing places you've been to?
Life has been absolutely wonderful and I have continually been blessed with unique travel experiences in some of the most incredible places on earth.
I have been on several long-term volunteering stints including a Mayan civilization archeological expedition in the jungles of Belize and Mexico, building schools in Tanzania, caring for street children in Thailand and cheetah conservation in Namibia.
Adventure is also a staple and some of my memorable experiences include dog sledding in the Arctic Circle; kayaking off the coast of Argentina; white-water river rafting on the Hvitá in Iceland, Zambezi in Zimbabwe and Nile in Uganda; skydiving in Sri Lanka; trekking in Nepal; and mountain backpacking in Alaska. More recently I completed a series of ultra endurance races in the hot deserts of Sahara, Gobi and Atacama as well as the polar desert that is Antarctica. But I also do value the mellow parts of travelling and have spent time lazing on an island in the Bazaruto Archipelago off Mozambique, luxuriating in the mountains of Catalunya in northern Spain and meditating in Myanmar.
Pictured above: Thaddeus mountain backpacking in Alaska, Icelandic scenery, Trekking in the Sahara desert
You've done a lot of long distance races - can you tell us the motivation behind each of the races you've participated in? Which race was the toughest for you?
This page from my book, Runaway Success: Life Lessons from Ultra Endurance Racing encapsulates the motivation behind my races.
“I embarked on my adventure in the name of exploration… my exploration was not so much in scientific or adventurous pursuits, but in the search to understand one’s self; a bid to discover where my inner limits lie. There would be no better place to do so than a full immersion in some of the most formidable and inhospitable yet spectacular and stunning landscapes. The 4 Deserts Race Series offers an ideal channel for some serious self-exploration in a holiday with a difference. If I have a good time and fun, it would be a bonus. But I have come to surrender to my attraction of the unknown and to see how I would cope. In pushing my physical boundaries and exploring the edges of my mental envelope, I sought, in the words of former marathon runner Frank Maier, ‘an epiphany, a spiritual flash that would change the way I viewed myself.’ This race will be the ne plus ultra of self-discovery.
“However, this process is not necessarily one dimensional. Almost half of all competitors choose to champion causes when racing. I used the opportunity to raise funds for different children charities. But as much as I help them, they help me. Especially during the low points when it is easiest to give up, I ask myself what I would tell them upon my return. That is usually enough to encourage me to carry on. Thinking about my beneficiaries lends a broader take on life. The thought of their own daily ultra endurance races takes the pain and suffering from myself. They give me the energy to continue moving forward because I am not only doing it for myself but for them. My accountability to them makes the whole adventure much more meaningful."
“At the very least, the events provided a fitting platform to demonstrate that anything is possible in our lives once we put our minds to it. Carpe Diem. Seize the day, live a life of excellence and in so doing, make a difference to ourselves and to the lives of others. And at the end of it all, we will have experienced something unique and special. It is an experience that I would not have missed for the world. To quote Captain Scott, ‘I should have had a tale to tell of the hardihood, endurance and courage of my companions which would have stirred the heart of every [man].’”
Pictured above: Thaddeus' endurance race in the Gobi Desert
How do you train in Singapore for these races in such different climates?
The key to training is time on my feet. It is about going far, not fast. So I spend a great deal of time conditioning my body to get used to being on my feet for a long period of time rather than increasing my speed or distance. Mental preparation is key to every, and especially this, endeavour, so I focus a great deal on that too.
Can you share with us some memorable experiences you had while traveling for these races?
The memorable experiences tend to revolve around the people. If there was an environment where one could develop an instant bond and trust with another person, then a desert race would be the ideal backdrop. The camaraderie and friendships that form out of adversity is the stuff of legend. Living in close proximity and subject to conditions to which the average person is not accustomed, a deep sense of esprit de corps is immediately established. The result of all of this? Strong friendships are forged, invitations to visit are issued and commitments to the next event are made. As the official post-race update articulated, “The bonds made…are strong and all those who have taken part in this event are now part of a much wider family, one dedicated to seeing the world through different eyes and finding out what it truly means to be a member of the human race.”
Do you travel around after each race? How is the post-race travel for you?
Yes I do. It’s part of my recovery regimen and a lot more relaxing and luxurious. It is a 5-star experience after sleeping under a galaxy of stars.
Do you travel with a team that helps you to prepare for a race? How do you prepare for the race when you are there?
The team is made up of fellow racers and competitors. For most of us, we know that the real competition is our own selves, so the support for one another is crucial. Catching up with old friends, sharing tips, packing and repacking our gear and generally taking it easy forms our pre-race ritual.
What are some amazing is your favourite out of all the places you've been, and why?
The current place is always my favourite. No, seriously, I have been so lucky to have such a myriad of experiences in such a diverse number of places that I cannot possibly declare one as an ultimate favourite.
Where have to encountered the most interesting natural landscape to you?
Pictured above: Antarctica, Atacama
What else is on your bucket list?
Cuba, Bhutan, Mongolia.
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