Running to stop climate change: German marathon runner to run in the Antarctic

Press release

  • Sustainability

Remscheid, 8 December 2014

  • Campaign shows places worth protecting that are threatened by climate change

  • Modern heating technology the most effective way to cut CO2 emissions

Feel like running a marathon at -20 °C? No? Friedhelm Weidemann does. “You have to do something extraordinary to attract people’s attention,” he says. And attention is exactly what the 55-year-old wants: “I want to make people sit up and take notice of one of the most beautiful and most endangered places on the planet: the Antarctic.” The runner is preparing to run 42.195 kilometres through the continent’s permanent ice to kick off the “Places worth protecting” initiative initiated by Vaillant. “Antarctica is home to 70 to 80 per cent of the world’s supply of drinking water. That supply is in danger if we fail to achieve the two-degree goal,” Weidemann explains. This goal was set in the Kyoto Protocol and is intended to limit global warming to 2 °C to prevent melting of the polar ice caps and the destruction of the Antarctic.

An exceptional runner, an exceptional approach

Friedhelm Weidemann has finished almost 300 marathons and ultramarathons in his 30 years of running. The list of locations he has visited reads like a tour operator’s catalogue: Majorca, Finland, Siberia, the US, Italy and Morocco. He has crossed the Death Valley, taken part in the Empire State Building Run-Up, finished the Marathon des Sable in the Sahara and run 80 kilometres through the heights of the Swiss Alps. His marathon on the Queen Elisabeth 2 ocean liner during its journey from Southampton to New York earned him a place in the Guinness Book of World Records. “Running outdoors gives me energy for my day-to-day life. That is why I am using it to promote environmental conservation and protecting the climate,” Weidemann says.

Energy-efficient heating technology offers enormous potential for savings

Remscheid-based heating and ventilation technology specialist Vaillant is supporting his efforts. To do so, the family-owned company has launched the “Places worth protecting” initiative. “It’s not only up to politicians to implement the energy transition. As a leading heating technology manufacturer, we see ourselves as part of the solution,” says Dr Jens Wichtermann, Director Corporate Communications & Sustainability Management at Vaillant. Modern, energy-efficient heating technology is one of the most effective weapons in the fight against climate change and in achieving carbon-reduction targets. Vaillant is also sending a signal within the company with the S.E.E.D.S. sustainability programme. One of its aims is to cut CO2 emissions by 25 per cent by 2020.

About the Vaillant Group

The Vaillant Group is an internationally active company based in Remscheid, Germany, which operates in the fields of heating, ventilation and air-conditioning technology. As one of the global market and technology leaders, the Vaillant Group develops and manufactures customised products, systems and services to provide a comfortable living environment. Its product portfolio ranges from efficient heating devices based on conventional energy sources to system solutions for using renewable energy. In the financial year 2020, the company, which has been family-owned since its foundation in 1874, generated sales of more than €2.7 billion with its workforce of about 15,000.


Jens Wichtermann
Jens Wichtermann

Jens Wichtermann

Group Director Communication, Sustainability & Government Relations

Phone: +49 2191 18 2754

Mobile: +49 175 295 1810

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