Third Grade Teacher, Lake Elmo Elementary, Stillwater, MN
B.S., Elementary Education
B.S., Health, University of Wisconsin
M.A., Teaching, St. Mary’s University
2007 Boom Running World Champion
2006 & 2007 Overall World Champion
2007 1st place Lumberjack World Championships in Women’s Log Rolling, Boom Running and Team Relay
2005 Log Rolling Champion, #1 in Boom Running, #2 in Log Rolling, 2009
6 ESPN Great Outdoor Games medals
19 podiums at World Championships
7 podium finishes at STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series, etc.
Husband: Niel; Son: Berendt (nickname “Bear”), 5 months
Jenny Atkinson: Get Fit Like a Lumberjill
Jenny grew up in Stillwater, Minnesota, along the banks of the St. Croix River and always had a competitive streak. One day she watched a log rolling tournament and thought it looked like fun. So Jenny signed up for lessons the following summer.
Once at a log rolling competition, the emcee asked if anyone wanted to compete in the boom run for $100. Jenny got up, beat the guys and the girls, and she has been hooked for the last 27 years.
She went pro in 1990 and has won numerous awards and championships. In addition to being a professional athlete, Jenny is also a third grade teacher at Lake Elmo Elementary School.
In the beginning, there weren’t many women competing professionally in the boom run, so Jenny competed with men. The term "lumberjill" refers to women who compete in lumberjack activities.
In 2005, the STIHL TIMBERSPORTS Series, presented by Carhartt, the premiere lumberjack competition, added boom running and speed climb to the competition. Since that first year, Jenny has been competing professionally as a STIHL TIMBERSPORTS boom runner. The series will be celebrating its 25th anniversary next year and airs on ESPN2.
Jenny, now 36, says she trains hard as a professional athlete. Everyday she runs on a 150-foot boom and does a lot of log rolling. In addition, she mountain bikes and lifts weights. Depending on the season, Jenny says she works out several hours each day. She rolls and booms with other competitors as often as possible. She also does a lot of cross training on her own.
“I spend a lot of time at our cabin on the Gunflint Trail,” says Jenny. “I have a full training arena on site with two full booms (30 logs) and many different spike and traction logs for log rolling.” Boom running is a race across logs that are tied together, one after the other.
JUST LIKE EVERY OTHER MOM
In August 2008, Jenny got pregnant with her son, Berendt ("Bear"). While she was already in top shape from competitions that ended last summer, Jenny says she still had to find the time to stay in shape.
“It took seven years to get pregnant, so I wanted to be active but keep it low impact,” she says. Then when Berendt was born, Jenny realized the struggle every new mom had: to get back into pre-pregnancy shape. She thought, how do I make it work?
“It was a huge adjustment as a professional athlete being a new mom,” says Jenny. For instance, in the past she would go to the gym for hours. Now with a baby, Jenny says there isn’t that much flexibility. “I started to use my stationary bike that had no impact but could strengthen my cardio.”
She also started jump-roping. “I want moms to know that they can squeeze in a workout even for just a few minutes,” says Jenny. Also, she says take the stairs instead of the elevator and park your car in the far end of the parking lot and walk. “Even a professional athlete has to do the simple things,” says Jenny.
Eight weeks after Berendt was born, Jenny says she had to get in top shape for a competition. Six days after she was out of the hospital, Jenny was on a bike. “Because I was so fit before the pregnancy, it was easier to get back into competition shape,” she says.
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