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Beyond the Finish Line: The journey to become IRONMAN and EPIC

By Swiss Epic, 11/21/23, 2:00AM HST


The journey from a nonchalant approach to sports to the thrill of EPIC SERIES races and IRONMAN events is not just a personal achievement but a testament to the transformative power of endurance sports.

Beyond the Finish Line: A Journey of Endurance and Adrenaline. Embarking on an exhilarating journey from a childhood without a sporting focus, one athlete defied convention to become more than an IRONMAN. This is the story of Stephan Brunner (17.2.1982​​​​​​) a man who turned his life around, finding solace and adrenaline in the world of EPIC SERIES races and IRONMAN events.

The Unlikely Beginning, a clear goal: The joy and fun of the races has always been the biggest motivation.

From a childhood of dabbling in various sports without finding a lasting passion, Stephan says he stumbled upon endurance sports in an unexpected way. Standing in for a friend in a 100km relay in 2014 became the catalyst for a 180-degree transformation. The decision to quit smoking marked the beginning of a three-year dedication to ultrarunning before venturing into the world of IRONMAN. "Once you have the endurance and enjoy it, you can't get enough of the EPIC SERIES races and IRONMANs. For me, the joy and fun of the races are the most important part. This has always been the biggest motivation."

Balancing Act: Triathlon and Mountain Biking, a Journey of Endurance and Adrenaline

Triathlon and mountain biking, two seemingly disparate disciplines, found a harmonious balance in Stephan's life. The craving for adrenaline, typical of a downhill-orientated biker, complemented the endurance-building nature of triathlon. The fusion of these two worlds became the secret to his passion and success. "Mountain biking means adrenaline. Hours of triathlon training focus on building up endurance. It's about testing your own limits again and again and repeatedly pushing yourself to the limit. The combination of the two disciplines gives me the perfect balance."

Preparing for the Extreme.

Preparing for the EPIC SERIES and IRONMAN events requires distinct approaches. The camaraderie and fun of group mountain biking sessions contrast with the solitude of triathlon training. Stephan emphasizes the mental strength gained from triathlon training while appreciating the balance between the two disciplines. "Preparing for a SPAR Swiss Epic is incredibly fun. Mountain biking in a group works perfectly. To be optimally prepared, you need a lot of altitude meters and many hours on the bike saddle."

Beyond the Finish Line: Racing Moments and Emotions.

Recalling racing moments, Stephan cherishes the memory of their first SPAR Swiss Epic finish. The discussion shifts to the unique emotional journey of completing EPIC races, where every stage brings its own triumphs. The contrasting emotions of finishing an EPIC race versus an IRONMAN illustrate the multifaceted nature of his racing experiences. "Crossing the finish line after the last stage of an EPIC race is different from an IRONMAN one. The emotions you feel when you fight your way across the finish line with your last bit of strength and be cheered on by many spectators are incredible."

Global Connections and Friendships.

Stephan reflects on the global appeal of mountain bike events, attributing participation to the collective human desire to break free from the routine. EPIC SERIES races, with their longer durations, foster international friendships that extend beyond the race week, a contrast to the more reserved atmosphere of IRONMAN events. "You get to know the other athletes over the course of a week, exchange ideas and make friends. The field of participants in the EPIC SERIES races is smaller, and some are already familiar from other EPIC races or previous editions."

The SPAR Swiss Epic Experience.

The allure of the SPAR Swiss Epic lies in its resemblance to a holiday. The all-inclusive package allows participants to focus solely on pedaling, creating an environment of enjoyment and camaraderie. An unforgettable experience during a challenging transfer stage underscores the resilience and camaraderie forged during adversity. "The SPAR Swiss Epic is like being on holiday. The all-inclusive package means you don't have to think much, just pedal."

Dreams and Aspirations:

Stephan with a glimpse into the future, expresses a desire to become an EPIC Legend. Despite the challenges posed by self-employment, the dream of racing the ABSA Cape Epic remains alive, symbolizing the unwavering hope and determination of a passionate mountain biker. "I would love to become an EPIC Legend. The only thing missing is the ABSA Cape Epic. But my self-employment makes it very difficult to organize this. Nevertheless, I keep hoping."

The journey from a ordinary childhood sports perspective to the thrill of EPIC SERIES races and IRONMAN events is not just a narrative of athletic achievement but a testament to the transformative power of endurance sports. This adventurer is not merely an IRONMAN; he's a testament to the resilience of the human spirit and the pursuit of extraordinary experiences that lie beyond the finish line. As we look forward to welcoming him again at the SPAR Swiss Epic 2024 and an IRONMAN, his story continues to inspire and resonate with every aspiring EPIC rider.

Stephan Brunner. Beyond the Finish Line, the commitment to be IRONMAN and EPIC

  • x2 IRONMAN
  • x2 SPAR Swiss Epic
  • x2 Andorra Epic
  • 1 4Islands MTB Croatia