Make the impossible possible. This is a bit of Samuel Finn’s specialty. For the second time in less than four years, he is tackling a Guinness record: he will attempt to complete 1,000 burpees in one hour. New record, same motivation: Cédric.
Perhaps you have already heard of the story of Samuel Finn. In 2019, the Quebecer broke a first Guinness record by performing 5234 burpees in 12 hours. Upstream, he had raised $70,000 for the Cédric Finn fund of the Cedars Cancer Foundation.
Cedric is Samuel’s brother. He was 26, in 2016, when he discovered a small mass in his gluteal muscles. What was originally going to be an ingrown hair eventually turned out to be a soft tissue sarcoma; a rare and aggressive cancer, which spread to his lungs, then his brain.
After nine months of operations, chemotherapy and radiotherapy, the doctors told Cédric that there was nothing more to be done. He passed away on January 20, 2017.
While his brother was fighting his battle, Samuel, looking for solutions, called “everywhere” in an attempt to find experimental treatments.
“No one was able to do anything for Ced,” Samuel said on the phone. I said to myself: cuddly, I have to find a way to bring visibility and advance research for this sarcoma. »
Thus was born his first challenge, which he passed with flying colors. Three and a half years later, he is renewing the initiative. He will now attempt to break the record of 990 burpees in one hour. His goal ? 1000 burpees and $80,000 for the Cedars Cancer Foundation.
That’s the equivalent of 17 burpees a minute.
A burpee every 3.5 seconds.
“I decided to stick with burpees because it’s a difficult but simple move. That is to say that everyone is capable of doing it, he explains to us.
“Aren’t you tired of doing burpees?”
– Yes ! Certainly ! he exclaims, laughing. It’s not a movement that I like to do at the base. It’s very repetitive, so training isn’t fun either. »
It’s a bit like that, Samuel Finn: the art of challenging yourself a little crazy, even terrifying… And then, burpees, “it’s so easy compared to what [his] brother went through and what everyone who is touched by cancer lives,” he recalls.
This challenge, Samuel Finn calls it his “mission impossible”. As in 2019, he has “doubts”. And just like in 2019, he’s confident his training will ultimately lead him to build confidence and arrive ready for the big day.
The 32-year-old does not hesitate to admit it: this record scares him more than the first. This time, the physical preparation is much more important.
On the advice of a trainer, he has been training 8 to 10 times a week since mid-June. To get his body used to it, he alternates his training between repetitions of burpees and other movements.
“In one session, I might go for 200-300 burpee reps. The rest is going to be stationary rowing. The goal is really to work my cardiovascular system with burpees four times a week. The further you go, the more the volume will increase. »
To overcome this challenge, the former QMJHL hockey player and son of former NHL player Steven Finn plans to tackle every minute, one at a time. In 2019, during his 12-hour challenge, Samuel took three 10-minute breaks to recover and eat. On his last break, with over 1,500 burpees still to go, he was so exhausted that he began to experience hypothermia. At that moment, his relatives placed a photo of Cédric in front of him.
“Every time I lay down on the floor, I looked at my brother, I remembered his courage and I said to myself: I can do one more, then another and another. It helped me greatly.
“This time, for sure, the photo is going to be there for the full hour. »
A doctor will be on hand on the big day to make sure he “respects [his] heart.”
Samuel Finn, who documents his workouts on his Instagram account (@sam_finn_), plans to break the Guinness record at the Performe Plus Center in Boisbriand at the end of September. The date is yet to be determined; if he realizes it’s “too fast,” he won’t be “afraid” to put off the moment.
Our interview draws to a close when we ask Samuel if, beyond the visibility he wants to bring to soft tissue sarcoma, he hopes to convey a message. To this, he replies that his brother taught him two lessons.
First, that “we are all capable of much more than we think”.
Then, the power of the seven days.
At the very end of his fight, when the doctors told Cedric it was time to go home to take advantage of the time he had left, the two brothers discussed.
“At one point he said to me, ‘Sam, all I would dream of is to have seven healthy days without that tumor in my brain. We would leave the whole family together, we would have the best seven days of our lives. »
At that moment, Samuel thought about the past seven days, which he had just taken for granted. “We go through seven days like it’s nothing, but there are people like Ced and others who would dream of having a healthy seven days. »
His message, then?
“Never take seven days for granted. »