ALLEGAN COUNTY, Mich. — Jim Dreyer is known for swimming across all five Great Lakes, and this summer, he’ll be back at it again. But, this time the Ultra-Marathon athlete will be adding a twist.
Dreyer is no stranger to going the distance in order to Pay it Forward. He pushes his body to the extremes. This summer, he’ll suit up once again for his biggest challenge.
“I’m going to attempt to set a world record for feat of strength, swimming 22 miles across Lake St. Clair into Detroit pulling a ton of bricks,” Dreyer announced Tuesday. “The distance will be a mile further than crossing the English Channel.”
But, he’s not just doing it for the status. Dreyer is doing it for Habitat for Humanity. On August 5, he will pull four 10-foot dinghies, each filled with 500 pounds of bricks.
Dreyer calls it “The Train of Pain.”
“I think the bricks are very symbolic, because that pain is symbolic of the pain felt by Michigan families who are trying to keep their heads above water,” said Dreyer.
Dreyer estimates he’ll be swimming 30 straight hours. To train, he will attach a bucket to his waist and drag it through the water. At the peak of his training in August, Dreyer will essentially pull the bucket for 18 hours.
“My pain is temporary,” said Dreyer. “There are people who have been feeling pain in this state for a long time. Our aim is to change lives.”
Dreyer conquered a record 65-mile swim across Lake Michigan for Big Brothers Big Sisters in 1998. He even paddled a kayak across the country to help build homes in New Orleans. Now, Dreyer says, it’s time to rebuild West Michigan.
“We were just amazed he would be willing to sacrifice a year of his life essentially to making a difference for us, so we are honored, “ said Jack Zandstra, of the Lakeshore Habitat for Humanity.
It typically costs $80,000 to build a Habitat home. So, Habitat is selling bricks to help fund that home.