Greg Kolodziejzyk already holds two world records for human-powered travel. ((Ben Eadie))

A Calgary endurance athlete is catching his breath after claiming a world record for the greatest distance travelled in 24 hours on flat water using only human muscle power.

Greg Kolodziejzyk powered a specially designed pedal boat 245.16 kilometres Tuesday on Whitefish Lake in Montana. The term "flat water" refers to calm lakes.

The distance betters the world record of 241.95 kilometres set by U.S. kayaker Carter Johnson in California in April 2006, but Kolodziejzk's feat must still be verified by Guinness World Records and the International Human Powered Vehicle Association.

Kolodziejzyk said his team is submitting timing sheets and other paperwork to the groups, but ratification of his record may take months.

The former software entrepreneur already holds two records for:

  • The greatest distance travelled in 24 hours on a human-powered vehicle on land, when he cycled 1,041 kilometres on a racetrack in California in July 2006.
  • The greatest distance travelled in 24 hours on a pedal-powered boat, when he covered 173.76 kilometres on Calgary's Glenmore Reservoir in June 2007.

Kolodziejzyk now wants to go after the world record for human-powered air travel.

"I was an overweight businessman before I sold my company about 10 years ago, and I started getting into this," he told CBC News on Thursday after returning home to Calgary.


A specially designed carbon-fibre boat was used for the world record effort on Whitefish Lake. ((Ben Eadie))

"I wanted to explore what the real limits of human power are," said Kolodziejzyk, who has completed 13 Ironman triathlons.

He said half of the challenges he embarks on are "absolutely physical," but the other half depends on design and engineering.

Kolodziejzyk pointed out the types of low-resistance wheels, high-efficient gears and lightweight materials he uses in his pursuits can be applied to energy-efficient travel.

The carbon-fibre trimaran pedal boat he used in Montana was designed by an Australian expert and featured components made by a Calgary company, Rohmec Industries.

Kolodziejzyk, who funds his record-setting attempts with the help of a few sponsors, built the boat himself. With a seven-metre-long hull, it weighs less than 18 kilograms (40 pounds) and reaches top speeds of 17 km/h.