Superhuman Feats By Regular Humans
By Joy Williams
Who doesn’t dream of being a superhuman force, performing awe-inspiring deeds straight out of Superman’s How-To Guide? Like the flawed humans who become great heroes in the series Heroes of the North, we all want to leap tall buildings in a single bound, face our greatest enemies, conquer evil, and defy human limits while crowds roar.
While most of us can only do this vicariously through fictional characters, some everyday humans have, in fact, achieved hero status – whether by choice, necessity, or a burst of adrenalin in a life-or-death situation.
HEROES OF THE NORTH – Canadian Shield
Brooke Collins of Juneau, Alaska, punched a black bear in the nose when he attacked her Dachshund one Sunday evening. Collins’ dogs were outside when the Dachshund, Fudge, began barking. Collins saw a bear holding Fudge and biting her neck. Collins punched the bear and saved her dog’s life.
Jay Cutler took home the Mr. Olympia award on September 25, 2010. Winning once is impressive enough, but Cutler has taken the title four times in five years. At 5’9, 270 pounds, Cutler’s superhuman physique is built on 6500 calories a day – including five pounds of fish.
Christian Isakson was a medic in the Army and is now a fireman, paramedic, and 2011 EPIC5 Challenge champion. Isakson completed an Ironman triathlete distance race for five consecutive days on five Hawaiian Islands, which included a daily regimen of a 2.4 mile swim, a 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run daily totaling 70 hours of exercise in five days.
Dara Torres may not qualify as superhuman in most eyes, but she certainly defied the odds and naysayers and became an inspiration to millions of women when she nailed three silver medals at the 2008 summer Olympics. At 41, an age when athletes are expected to be long retired, Torres kicked the butts of competitors half her age while simultaneously giving them hope for their own futures.
Wim Hof is a master of sub-zero temperatures and holds 18 world records for running marathons in Finland’s Polar Circle and dunking himself in ice for almost two hours. In 2007 and 2009, he attempted mountain climbs while wearing only shorts. These weren’t just any mountains. These were Everest and Kilimanjaro. His Everest climb was interrupted by a foot injury, but he completed Kilimanjaro in two days.
France’s version of Spiderman, Alain Robert, climbs skyscrapers without a harness. His conquests include the Empire State Building, Golden Gate Bridge, and the Sydney Opera House. Despite falls, fractures, and even a five-day coma, Robert is still climbing. This year, he successfully scaled the world’s tallest building, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa.
Although he doesn’t see himself as superhuman or even a hero, Chesley B. “Sully” Sullenberger is all that and more. You probably remember him as the pilot who crash-landed a US Airways flight into the Hudson River in January 2009 after the plane’s engines became disabled. A 40-year veteran in the aviation industry, Sullenberger calmly performed a miracle: all 155 passengers and crew landed safely.
HEROES OF THE NORTH – 8 Ball Origins
HEROES OF THE NORTH – The Canadian Origins
Joy Williams is a freelance writer and interviewer who works in the entertainment industry. She holds a degree in English from an East Coast university.