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Winnipeg senior citizen sets provincial weight lifting record

81-year-old Ron Brunner may not look like a typical weight lifter, but the Winnipeg senior is one of the most powerful in Manitoba. 

On Saturday, Brunner set a new provincial bench press record in his age and weight category as part of “The One Powerlifting Classic” event held at Glenlawn Collegiate. 

He was competing against people 70 years and older and managed to lift 71.5 lb, or 32.4 kg.

Brunner said he only started lifting weights seriously around a year ago. 

“I started with small weights, working all the way up,” he said. “Deadlift I started with 40 lb (18 kg). And I’m up to 120 lb (54 kg) now!”

Brunner lives in a retirement home and works out about four days a week. He said when he began his weight lifting journey, residents laughed at him and told him not to pursue his dreams. 

“You’re going to kill yourself, you’re going to injure yourself,” Brunner recalled, but he said he didn’t listen to the naysayers.

“I said,’ No. Why don’t you come and join me?'”

Brunner added that he never felt as if his age would stand in the way of his training. His coach Kyla Camire agreed.

Camire said while Brunner is her oldest client, he isn’t the only senior she has guided.

“People think as they get older they need to stop moving, which is the complete opposite of what they need to do,” she said. “To maintain their bone density, you want to stay as mobile as possible.”

Other competitors said they were motivated when they saw Brunner competing.

“I’m an older lifter, but I’m not that old,” said Ryan Menard. “It’s so inspiring seeing people who are a generation older than me that are still at it!”

Brunner said he plans to keep at it for the foreseeable future. 

“My goal is to be in good shape,” he said. And if he continues to lift weights, Brunner joked, “Maybe I’ll live another hundred years!”

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