Why do you continue to race Norseman?
I got this question recently from someone relatively new in triathlon, who was curious about what made Norseman special.
Is it pleasant jumping out of a ferry in 15 degrees cold water? Is it nice to ride across the Hardangervidda plateau in the rain, fog and a bone-freezing strong headwind? Do you love the Zombie-hill that hits you like a wall at the latter part of the race?
My answer to all these questions is no. Definitely not. Norseman will never be a nice, easy or a whole day of high fives. It will demand all the strength you knew you possessed and a lot you never knew existed within you. You have to fight the elements. You will fight the cold, the wind, sometimes the heat, and you will fight with your own will to keep on going. It will bring you to the brink of breakdown, and for someone, the challenge will be too big.
When I was near the finish line at Gaustatoppen in Norseman 2014 it was horrible conditions. I was more tired than I had ever been before and the rain and the strong wind was frozen to the bone. I had probably never been closer to death, but never felt more alive. It is a feeling you cannot buy. Its only accessible after hours of battling the elements and your physical and mental strength.
My first triathlon was Norseman in 2009. What started as a once-in-a-lifetime challenge, ended up changing me for life. I surely have not been easy or just a long road uphill, but I would not exchange the journey for any other.
So should you sign up for Norseman? Yes. Definitely yes.
P.S. I know the chance of actually getting a slot to Norseman is slim. If you do not get a slot, I will strongly recommend signing up for another of the Xtri world tour races. They are equally challenging and will give you valuable experience for the day you will get your Norseman-slot.