Among the many things they love for irrational reasons (free all-you-can-eat buffets, Anna Kournakova, the National Football League), sports fans love streaks. We find something uniquely compelling about the prospect of an athlete doing exactly the same thing, again and again, at every opportunity, even if such repetition is usually kind of tactically meaningless. Baseball fans still genuflect before Joe DiMaggio’s snowflake-like 56-game hitting streak. No one really cares that Tris Speaker holds the vastly more useful career record for doubles.
Well, here’s to you, Joe DiMaggio—but with all due respect, I recently made the vicarious acquaintance of the guy who owns the most amazing streak in sports. (As well as the most amazing face: Please go look at this man.) Rainer Hertrich has skied for more than 2,400 days in a row—that’s time on the slopes, somewhere in the world, every single day for over six and a half years.
Hertrich blew away the Guinness Book record about 2,100 powder days ago. Four long years ago, he told Outside that he had come close to packing it in (for at least a day) about 25 times. And yet Rainer Hertrich—a happy wanderer, unencumbered by familial ties, by the sound of it—keeps going, informed by an admirably low-key approach to his own legendary, ever-building accomplishment, as you can see in this video.
Hertrich maintains an intercontinental “schedule.” If I understand his method correctly, he is probably up on the slopes of Mt. Hood even now, as I sit here typing in downtown Portland, Oregon. Come fall, he’ll jet off to South America. To keep the streak alive on travel days, he apparently sometimes puts in a pre-dawn run on Mt. Hood before heading to Chile.
Forget Roger Federer’s 24 straight finals victories or the Boston Celtics’ eight consecutive NBA titles. I hereby proclaim Rainer Hertrich the Lord of the Streak. Unless, of course, he didn’t ski today for some reason.
Photo courtesy of Lisa Wyatt via Portland Monthly.