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Community Spotlight: Jana Trenk

Artist Leah Bank is taking portraits of our beloved BKB community members. Meet her first subject, member, teacher and marathon runner Jana Trenk.

Who are you and how did you get to Brooklyn?

I’m Jana, hi! I’m a second grade special ed teacher at P.S 58 in Carroll Gardens. I moved to Brooklyn in August, 2014 for work.  When I was looking for an apartment, I made sure that I could be close to Prospect Park to run and Brooklyn Boulders to climb.

How did you start climbing?

My boyfriend’s sister introduced me to climbing a few years ago.   At first, I couldn’t even stay on the wall or do the most basic climbs.  I was frustrated, but the more often I climbed, the more I continued to improve.

Jana Trenk, photographed by Leah Bank.

How has climbing impacted your life?

There’s nothing quite like climbing! I love the mental puzzle aspect of figuring out a new route and the sense of accomplishment that I feel when I succeed.  I like the little bit of fear that I feel when I climb high up, when I push myself to trust a small foot hold, and when I make a jump up to a hand hold that I’m not exactly sure I can reach.

Once a week, I try and get to BKB right when it opens at 6am so that I can climb before work.  After an hour of bouldering, I feel so energized and ready to take on any challenges that I might face.   Climbing truly is my favorite way to start the day.

What are your current biggest projects, on and off the wall?

On the wall—I’d like to become lead certified. It’s been on my To Do list for a while. I’m proud of myself for being able to climb my first two 5.10B routes recently, but I know that I can be better with a more consistent climbing schedule.  I want to commit to spending more time in the gym this year.
Over the summer, I went on vacation in Peru and got to do a little bit of outdoor climbing near Cusco.  I hope to climb outdoors more often as well!

Off the wall–I’m currently training for the Philadelphia Marathon (November 20th). I’m trying to run 60 miles a week so that I can finish in a personal record time in the race.  My previous best marathon time was 3:14:57, so I’d be happy with any time faster than that. My friend Shan who has a much faster marathon PR is going to pace me during the race. I’m really excited about that.

Who or what inspires you?

I’m inspired by athletes who are passionate about what they do and who perform at a high level.  One of my biggest inspirations is Ed Whitlock, who was the oldest man at age 74 to run under three hours for the marathon.  I hope to be like him and run for many many more years.

Some of my climbing inspirations are Ashima Shiraishi, Sasha DiGiulian and Steph Davis.

I’m also inspired by my friends in Prospect Park Track Club, who run and climb with me and help me to become the best athlete and best version of myself that I can be.

Keep an eye out for more portraits done by Leah Bank and community spotlights on our blog – and you can follow Jana’s training on Strava here, and her on Instagram here. 


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