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Man from Switzerland in Calgary to train for ice-immersion world record

It's a stark sight on a cold weekday morning in Calgary when André Belibi Eloumou jogs along a snow-covered path in a frigid -22 C.

All he's wearing are runners and a pair of shorts.

Belibi Eloumou travelled to Calgary from his home in Switzerland for two weeks of cold-weather training to get his body used to the elements before he tries to set a world record.

"I ran across America, I ran from Europe to Africa, so what a man can do, another can do, you know what I mean?" he said.

"It's in the mind, if I think it's for good reason. Yes, I did start to do ice baths more than two years ago and now I can stay (more than an) hour in the ice. I can run 22 kilometres barefoot in the snow."

He says the current record for being immersed in ice is three hours and 26 minutes.

His personal record for staying in ice water is one hour and 21 minutes.

He says that's harder because there are no air pockets in water to offer any relief for his skin.

"It won't be in the water," said Belibi Eloumou.

"It will be in a plexiglass box. Then I'll be standing there, I'll be having ice up to my collarbones and yeah, that's it."

Belibi Eloumou says he's training for this world-record attempt for his 11-year-old daughter Kira, who was diagnosed a few years ago with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD).

He's hoping to raise $250,000 for ASD and awareness of the disorder.

"So I'm doing that for her," he said.

"To make her understand that it doesn't matter how she is, that she can accomplish whatever she sets her mind to and to not let the condition give you excuses but to do something in life."

Belibi Eloumou is a mindset coach, personal trainer and extreme athlete.

The 36-year-old went to school in Calgary at Chinook College and still has many friends here helping him train.

Paciffique Mangapi is an arborist in Calgary and has coached Belibi Eloumou for 18 years and is working with him now to prepare him for his world-record attempt.

"Basically, we just are technical in order to preserve his body and be as safe and in good health as we can," said Mangapi.

"We do a lot of weights, we do a lot of meditation, a lot of cardio, focusing on the core, the breathing is very important."

Mangapi is always watching Belibi Eloumou to make sure he is able to endure the extreme cold.

Mohamad Alothman is a supporter of Belibi Eloumou.

He was inspired to take his shirt off on one of the training days and ran alongside Belibi Eloumou.

He says the hardest part was that first step of removing his shirt.

"Like the first five minutes because yesterday, we ran for almost 20 minutes," said Alothman.

"After that, you don't feel anything. You can even take your shoes off – you can be bare feet on the ice and you won't feel cold."

Belibi Eloumou heads back to Switzerland on March 3 and will focus his training at high altitudes.

But before he goes, he will host a fundraiser on Feb. 28 in Airdrie where he will take part in a "polar plunge."

Learn more about Belibi Eloumou's fundraising efforts at Top Stories

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