1) What is your name and job title?
I am the owner of a R&D Investment company called Trend Ventures. We take the ideas my brother and I come up with, build them into companies, and then sell them off.
2) How did you get started in adventure running?
Last summer (2008) I became very sick and my doctors thought I might have MS. While we are still unsure whether I have it or not it forced me to examine my life a little more closely. During the time I was sick I read an article in which the author posed the question "What would you do if you where not afraid?". For me this was a major life changing moment. I realized that I was very afraid of many things and these "fears" had caused me to live a "safe" life. I vowed then and there to never live with fear again and decided to put my body, mind, and spirit through the hardest ordeals I could find so that others could see that a life without fear is possible. Hence I chose the hardest series of running races I could find, 250 kilometer self sufficient running races across deserts.
3) What are the challenges involved?
There are numerous challenges I face training and competing for these races. The first is the toll it takes on my body. I have lost numerous toenails in training, have to ice my knees & ankles most every night and am constantly tired. Second is the time challenge. I am working on launching 2 new companies and have to squeeze 3-4 hrs a day of training in. Thirdly is getting used to running with the weight of a backpack on. My pack, with out water, weighs 20 lbs., that is the same as 5 yellow page phone books.
4) What are some of the rewards?
The rewards of pursing these races are that I have learned that my body, mind and spirit like to lie to me. There is many times I want to stop because I hurt, or the distance seems to far, or the idea of running 145 miles across a desert is just unattainable. I think these doubts creep up in everyone but I have learned that most fears in life are not real, they are illusions created by ourselves and others to protect us and that I can do just about anything by ignoring the protective lies I, and others, like to tell me.
5) What's the most surprising thing you've learned from adventure running?
The older you are the more likely you will compete in these races. For some reason young (20-30 year old) do not run these races. Also it is very much an individual's sport, which allows you a ton of time to be alone and think through your life.
6) What is "I AM NOT AFRAID's" mission? How did it get started and what are your goals for it in the future?
I created IANA (I Am Not Afraid) last year as a web site that will showcase the great feats ANYONE can do if they can only not be afraid. The idea is still in development but we are planning on launching it over the fall of 2009. Right now I am working on a series of presentations for kids, teens, and adults on the philosophy of living without fear and how your dreams are all within your reach.
7) It seems you have had such a varied career thus far. What did you learn from all of these jobs, and what would you consider to be the highlight?
Here is the list so far: student, soldier, medic, salesperson, painter, artist, inline skating instructor, lab assistant, web developer, technology architect, inventor, marketer, investor, and now semi-pro runner. This is just what I remember. I think having had so many different careers has taught me that it is ok to change your mind at any time and pursue the career that makes you happy. I am only 39 and will switch careers another dozen times. The fear of starting anew does not scare me; in fact I love the varied life it allows me to lead.
8) What is your current job description?
Inventor and problem fixer. Legally I am the CEO and Founder of Trend Ventures and Odojo (a social media tools company).
9) What are your personal goals for the future?
To be happy and live a life without fear. Everything else is easy if I master these 2.
My professional Bio:
Mike Stemple - CEO/Founder Trend VEntures & Odojo
With more than 15 years in high-tech and entrepreneurial environments, Mike brings unmatched executive level experience in technology and growth-stage companies to Odojo. Prior to joining the firm, Mike served as Founder and CEO of TapSlide, a publicly traded company developing mobile applications for the Apple iPhone, Google Android, and Symbian mobile platforms. While at TapSlide Mike was instrumental in all aspects of the company from investor relations, fund raising, to new product creation and development. Previous to TapSlide Mike served as Founder and President of SkinIt, Original Wraps, and Bottle Wraps Inc. where he formed the initial infrastructure; developed the products and manufacturing processes; oversaw the release of numerous products into the automotive, consumer electronic, and outdoor retail/wholesale channels; established a management team and raised the necessary venture capital. After leading SkinIt Inc. through two years of revenue growth and international expansion, Mike navigated the successful sale of the company to Global Wireless Entertainment, Inc., a leading provider of brand management services. Mike's background also includes serving as Founder, Chairman and CEO of nReach Inc. which was purchased by SmartServ, Inc., (OTC: SSRV) a leading provider of Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) infrastructure services and TRIPDA/ Nomad Labs Inc., a developer wireless technologies for the retail market. Mike is a Colorado native, a graduate of Metropolitan State College with a B.A. Degree in Biology/Chemistry, and a veteran of the United States Army Medical Corp.
Here is some of the multimedia from my latest race:
Here is what my last race "The Atacama Crossing" entailed:
- The Atacama Crossing has been voted by Time Magazine as one of the most difficult endurance races on the planet.
- The Atacama Crossing is a six-day, 250-kilometer footrace. Each individual must also carry his or her own gear, food and clothing in a backpack. The only assistance provided is water (plenty), tents and medical assistance. The average backpack weighs about 20 pounds (9 kilos).
- The Atacama Crossing is part of the 4 Deserts, a unique worldwide endurance series. There is no other event series like it in the world.
- The Atacama Desert is 15 million years old and 50 times more arid than California's Death Valley
- Some of the oldest mummies found on earth come from the Atacama, dating as far back as 9000 years.
- Atacama Crossing (Chile) 2009 competitors, volunteer and staff will consume more than 7,000 liters of water over seven days.
- The entire race will be held at least one mile (1600m) above sea level and cover the distance required to make a horizontal crossing of the country of Chile (250 kilometers).
- The day time temperatures expected are 32 Celsius (90 Fahrenheit) while night time temperatures may drop to 16 Celsius (61 Fahrenheit) or lower.
- The Atacama Desert has the most lunar-like landscape on Earth and is frequently used by NASA to test its Mars rover vehicles.
My upcoming race in October in Egypt:
- The Sahara Race is part of the 4 Deserts, named by TIME magazine as one of the Top 10 Endurance Competitons in the world
- The Sahara Race is a six-day, 250-kilometer footrace. Each individual must also carry his or her own gear, food and clothing in a backpack. The only assistance provided is water (plenty), tents and medical assistance. The average backpack weighs about 20 pounds (9 kilos).
- The Sahara Desert is the largest non-polar desert in the world
- The Western Desert of Egypt, a part of the Sahara Desert, covers a total area of 2.8 million sq km and is bordered by Libya in the west, Sudan in the south and the Mediterranean in the north
- There are only five isolated oasis in this vast expanse of the Western Desert
- Farafra Oasis is the smallest oasis in the Western Desert
- The largest excavation of mummies was made in a 6 sq km area around Bahariya in the late 1990s, in an area close where the Sahara Race will take place