Samuel Finn | One minute at a time

For his brother, for his boyfriend : Samuel Finn will try to get his hands on a second Guinness record

Make the impossible possible. It’s 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. Another 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 lump 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.

Ced, it wasn’t just my brother. It was my boyfriend. Growing up, we did everything together. A big part of me is gone.

Samuel Finn

While his brother fought his battle, Samuel, in search of solutions, called “everywhere” to try to find experimental treatments.


Brothers Cedric and Samuel Finn

“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. »

That’s a bit like Samuel Finn: the art of challenging yourself a little crazy, even terrifying… And then, burpees, “it’s so easy compared to what [son] brother has been through and what everyone affected by cancer is going through,” he recalls.

“There is no room for error”

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 man does not hesitate to admit it: this record scares him more than the first. This time, the physical preparation is much more important.

The pace is so fast. There is no room for error. My heart rate is going to be very high for the full 60 minutes. It’s going to be a maximum effort that I will have to maintain, which is very difficult to do. […] I don’t even know if I’ll have time to drink water.

Samuel Finn

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 workouts between repetitions of burpees and other movements.

“In one session, I might go for 200 to 300 repetitions of burpees. 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, the exhaustion was such 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 ground, 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, the photo is sure to be there for the full hour. »

A doctor will also be on site on the big day to ensure that he “respects [son] heart “.

The Power of Seven Days

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 postpone the moment.

People can come see and do burpees with me. It’s going to be quite an event.

Samuel Finn

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.


Samuel Finn in training

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. »

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