Today In Stoke: Aspen's Jennifer Figge is swimming to Hawaii instead of smoking

Jennifer Figge, the Aspen-based endurance athlete who swam the Atlantic (from the Cape Verde Islands to Trinidad) in 2009, then did it again in 2010 just for kicks, is now swimming the Pacific. She dove in from the shore of Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, on December 30 and is headed toward Hawaii for the adventure she's calling P01. By the time she gets there, she'll have traveled approximately 3,000 miles, swimming much of it. Figge, now 58, has been the cause of some controversy among those keeping score on endurance sports records. Why? She alternates swimming with floats on a catamaran, meaning she's working with a different definition of marathon swimming than some of the sport's purists. And Figge doesn't much seem to care: She's featured in a profile in this month's issue of Outside and tells writer Ryan Krogh, "I'm not in it for the records. I'm in it for the romance."

She says she quit smoking at her son's request when he was a kid and replaced the habit with long-distance running (she ran her first marathon in 1985), then took up swimming when a stress fracture put the brakes on her running career. And whether she's setting legitimate records or not, we've got to hand it to her: We imagine there must be much easier ways for an Aspen socialite to quit smoking. Whatever else might be said about her, she's our kind of wiseass: (Via OutsideOnline.com)

When the outsider finally reaches Hawaii, her critics will be doing everything they can to ignore her. And she'll no doubt return the favor. "A friend told me the other day, 'Well, you know, Jennifer, Hawaii isn't the whole Pacific,'" she says. "'I know,' I said, 'but it's a great spot to stop off for a mai tai.'"

For more on Figge and her P01 swim, visit JenniferFigge.com

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Colin Bane
Contact: Colin Bane