The idea for the lifting marathon was born in a Lunenburg gym, while running on a treadmill and watching the Iron Cowboy on TV.
And boy, did kettlebell athlete Jennifer Hintenberger ever get an idea on that treadmill.
James Lawrence, better known as the Iron Cowboy, had just completed 50 Ironman races in 50 days in 50 U.S. states. He had broken world records and pushed himself.
Now, Hintenberger has taken inspiration from Lawrence’s athletic feat and aims to lift for 60 days across 50 U.S. states and 10 Canadian provinces.
She hopes to lift more than four million pounds — yes, you read that right — during her marathon.
If she hits her goal, Hintenberger will have set several of her own world records.
“I want to make this as hard and as impressive as possible,” she said during an interview with the SaltWire Network.
“I’ve been looking at Guinness World Records and I’d also like to break some other records.”
Hintenberger explained she’s been training three to six hours a day in preparation for her marathon. Most recently, she lifted about four million pounds in 54 days.
Her goals, she said, are achievable. But her schedule is even more convoluted than Lawrence’s with the addition of 10 extra days of travel and exercise.
“Being Canadian, I felt like it was really important to lift here as well,” she said of her international schedule.
Her plan is to kick off her marathon in Lunenburg on May 20 and will then travel across the continent lifting at various locations.
She aims to lift for about three hours at each stop until she finishes in Ste. Catherines, Ont. on July 18, where other kettlebell sport athletes will join her.
What’s surprising is the logistics of the marathon — booking flights, venues, hotel rooms — may be Hintenberger’s biggest obstacle.
“The hardest part is the funding. There’s a ton of travel and it’s very expensive when you start adding up the flights,” she said.
Hintenberger said she will do whatever is necessary to meet her goal; late nights, flights and long drives are nothing compared to what she wants to achieve.
Given her athletic resume, that level of determination is hardly a surprise.
Hintenberger was the first Canadian to become a Master of Sport and Master of Sport International Class Ranks in kettlebell sport.
She also founded a gym in Ste. Catherines, which she ran for several years before relocating to Nova Scotia.
These days, in addition to training for her lifting marathon, Hintenberger is an online nutritionist and kettlebell sport coach. But one of the great ironies of her life is that she became a kettlebell sport coach through a sheer chance.
More than a decade ago, Hintenberger was working as a personal trainer in Ontario while looking after her brother, who had leukemia. She became a personal trainer based on the flexible schedule and a growing interest in fitness. She trained her clients using kettlebells — a regimen she had picked up in Australia — during the day and tended to her brother the rest of her time. There was an appetite amongst clients for kettlebell training.
Encouraged, she decided to open her own gym and googled a coaching certification to help her standout, her bachelors in kinesiology and masters in teaching notwithstanding. She scrolled until she found something she liked and signed up.
“It said World Kettlebell Club Certification. I thought, ‘Okay, that sounds powerful. People will love seeing that on the wall,’” she said.
Hintenberger drove to the U.S. for the course and was shocked by the world she discovered; she had found kettlebell sport. Simply put, kettlebell sport is lifting a repetitive weight over a set period of time.
But there’s so much more to it than that.
“It definitely combines all different elements of fitness,” explained Hintenberger, going over the variances in exercises and rules between traditional kettlebell sport and marathoning kettlebells.
“And here I was at this kettlebell sport certification and I didn’t even know it was a sport,” she said with a laugh.
What started as an unknown sport has become a passion that will lead her across the continent. Hintenberger said she is amazed at her journey but is excited by the prospect of what she can achieve.
“Kettlebells have definitely changed my life and my health,” she said.
And, on May 20, they will take her to a gym in Lunenburg as she tries to set a world record.
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