Forests Ontario

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Ontario man completes Tree-Athlon

Posted: August 6, 2019

By Hannah Freedberg

Brandon Rynka is a motivational speaker, health coach, adventure athlete, and consultant.  He lives his life with the goal of inspiring others to live healthier lives, and to push themselves out of their mental and physical comfort zone. Rynka often participates in strength and endurance challenges as an effort to inspire others to push themselves. His latest challenge has brought him some serious media attention. On July 7th, 2019 Rynka became the first Canadian to ever complete a tree-athlon, in which he completed a full Olympic length triathlon all while carrying a two-metre long, 40-kilogram log. That’s a 1.6 kilometer swim, a 10 kilometer run, and a 40 kilometer bike ride. That is a feat that most people, myself included, wouldn’t even attempt, let alone attempt while carrying a tree. The entire event took Rynka a total four hours and 35 minutes. That’s four hours and 35 minutes of grueling exercise in the hot July sun.

Brandon Rynka lugging an ash log during the running portion of the event, July 7th 2019. Photo by: @davislenover

Rynka took months to prepare for this incredible feat of strength and endurance. He focused his time on each event at least once per week. He was careful not to overwork himself with the tree, as training too much with the timber tied to his back would take him out of anatomical position. To run and bike, he secured the tree horizontally to a large backpack, making sure to balance it properly. For the swimming section of the race he tied the log to his back and had it streamlined behind him as he swam. He also spent a lot of his time position holding and strength training to ensure he could physically handle the weight of the tree for an extended period of time. Race day marked the first time he would complete the full event all together.

Asked whether he was ever nervous he wouldn’t complete it, he replied, “I knew I could do it. There was never a time I doubted myself. I broke the event up into sections in my mind and focused on one step at a time”.

Rynka performed this feat to raise awareness for the environment and the importance of trees. All the money he raised went towards tree maintenance and tree preservation in the Burlington area. In the future, Rynka is hoping to bring his motivational speaking into schools to inspire youth to live the healthiest and fullest lives. I think we can all learn a thing or two from Rynka’s determination and initiative.