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IWC Schaffhausen

The Journal

RUNNING ON MY TIME

RUNNING ON MY TIME
Read Time: 2 min

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NICKI LANGE TRIED BUT FAILED TWICE TO FINISH THE ULTRA-TRAIL DU MONT BLANC (UTMB), WIDELY REGARDED AS ONE OF THE MOST COMPETITIVE MOUNTAIN RACES IN THE WORLD. FIND OUT HOW HE FINALLY SUCCEEDED.

When I was 23, I signed up for my first marathon. Shortly after, during my summer break, I happened to do a road trip in Europe, and I stumbled upon this race called UTMB. It's a race for 172 kilometers with around 10,000 meters of vertical gain. An Ultramarathon. It was a coincidence and at that time, little did I know what that meant.

 

I was in Chamonix because my father had advised me to drive past there. He said it was a special place. That’s when I witnessed the start of this race and I was caught by it. I remember returning to the hotel that night and told the receptionist, “This is what I'm gonna do now! I'm gonna become a runner. I'm gonna start training and collect the necessary qualification points. And I'll be there.”

Nicki Lange wears his Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN IW326906
Close

Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN

IW326906

Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN

7 150 €

Ceramic case, Automatic winding. Black dial with luminescence, Black rubber strap with EasX-CHANGE system, Strap width 20.0 mm.

Made in Switzerland

— Nicki Lange wore his Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN IW326906 throughout all of his marathons

    

 

LIFE’S UPS AND DOWNS

   

What made you decide to participate?

That feeling was very special. It still gives me goosebumps. Look, I have been so committed to field hockey my entire life. That's all I did throughout my childhood and teenage years. It came with a lot of sacrifice, which brought both blessings and valuable lessons. As a young boy I had these big aspirations of playing for Germany one day, but I had to realize and accept that I wasn’t good enough. That I don't have what it takes physically and mentally. So, from very early on in my life, I had to deal with the question of whether or not I'm good enough. While I never earned a cap for Germany, I continued playing field hockey in the premier divisions in Scotland, Spain and England.

 

I was actually doing OK. Everything is relative. When I stopped playing field hockey, I discovered running as a new passion and I decided to sign up for my first marathon a few years later, in 2015. I didn't want to do it just for the fun of it. But I said to myself: “I'm gonna do this, and I'm gonna try to get the best out of myself.”

Did you succeed right away?

Throughout 2016 and 2017, I ran a number of races to gain the qualification, so I made it to the starting line in 2018, which was the goal I set for myself back in 2015. I failed to finish the race in 2018, and failed again in 2019, before I finally completed it this year. It has taken me 8 years to realize that first and foremost, everyone is running their own race. That’s something that really enabled me to deal with my defeat, and to deal with how I feel in my body, how I feel about my performance.

 

I started to reflect on what life is all about. It really is an Ultramarathon, right? There’s heaps of ups and downs, and there are some left and right turns and then you stumble, you fall, but you have got to get back up. It’s this idea of continuously moving forward and continuously improving to a certain extent as well.

    

 

FIVE DAYS IN THE DESERT

    

What about “The Speed Project”?

After two unsuccessful attempts to finish the UTMB in 2018 and 2019, I was invited to participate in the first solo edition of “The Speed Project”. A run from Los Angeles to Las Vegas, 550 kilometers all by myself.

 

I was supposed to run in 2020, but injuries and other reasons delayed my participation until this year. When I crossed the finish line, I felt very relieved and happy. It was such a surreal experience spending five days in the desert and then arriving at the finish and knowing that your body and mind made it there. To be honest, the lead up to that race had been very tough on me. I had put a lot of pressure on myself in terms of preparation,  trying to navigate a big training spectrum with my day-to-day life. 

The Speed Project is known for being one of the world’s most secretive relay races

— The Speed Project is known for being one of the world’s most secretive relay races with no official set of rules or regulations

How has running marathons changed you as a person?

I have let go of this idea of comparing myself with other people and realized that everyone is running their own race. What became apparent to me when I arrived in Las Vegas is that you need to put things into perspective. In general, the likelihood of me winning a race is low. In fact, I came last at that race in the USA, but was I really a loser? Didn’t I actually achieve something greater for myself, which was completing this incredible project? I think my perspective on life has certainly shifted. Given that I run my own races, I am also the only one that can win every race that I attempt. 

 

And perhaps your perspective on time has also shifted?

The irony is that I don't care about time. Who is the fastest? Time is relative.
 

Again, it's not about whether you finish first or last. It's about getting it done and appreciating the journey nonetheless. Looking to your left and right, and being aware of what's happening around you – accepting that the tough moments are part of every journey that we embark upon.

1.	Loyal companion: The Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN Ref. IW326906 with a ceramic case
Close

Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN

IW326906

Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN

7 150 €

Ceramic case, Automatic winding. Black dial with luminescence, Black rubber strap with EasX-CHANGE system, Strap width 20.0 mm.

Made in Switzerland

— Loyal companion: The Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN Ref. IW326906 with a ceramic case 

 

The Speed Project arose as an opportunity from failing to complete UTMB on two attempts

— The Speed Project arose as an opportunity from failing to complete UTMB on two attempts

The third time is a charm: Nicki Lange’s bib number for the UTMB 2023

— The third time is a charm: Nicki Lange’s bib number for the UTMB 2023

    

 

JUST KEEP MOVING

    

What role did your watch play during this journey?

The Pilot’s Watch Automatic TOP GUN is very simple, yet elegant and sleek. It does a perfect job – it tells me the time, nothing else. No complications. My watch reminds me of my journey, and of course, the passing of time and what I have achieved in recent years, so I can carry past, present and future with me.

 

In the end, it’s not about how fast or how many kilometers I run. It’s just about moving forward. The watch is a constant reminder that time is ticking, but I'm on my time - all the time. It’s what I make out of it.

 

What does quality time mean for you?

It’s when there is no time. It is ironic, but when I disconnect from time and focus on the present moment is when I feel most joy. Meaning I'm just there and I don't actually know what time it is. Naturally the sun will tell you the time, and I'm just free following along.

Nicki Lange crossing the UTMB 2023 finish line in Chamonix

— Nicki Lange crossing the UTMB 2023 finish line in Chamonix

 

After running 171 km and 10k meters of vertical gain, Nicki Lange is greeted by his mother

— After running 171 km and 10k meters of vertical gain, Nicki Lange is greeted by his mother

 

    

 

IWC Schaffhausen