Distinguished Member Andy Rein's Appalachian Trail Thru Hike Begins

In a delightful blend of adventure and philanthropy, the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is thrilled to announce that Hall of Fame Distinguished Member, Olympic silver medalist, and Tbilisi champion Andy Rein, is lacing up his hiking boots for an extraordinary cause. 

In a spirited initiative to support the Hall of Fame’s Power Beyond endowment campaign, Rein will undertake a scenic yet challenging thru-hike of the Appalachian Trail. 

"Our mission at the National Wrestling Hall of Fame is to preserve history, recognize excellence, and inspire future generations. We are grateful to Andy for using his challenging thru hike of the Appalachian Trail to not only increase awareness of the Hall of Fame, but also to help raise money for our Power Beyond endowment campaign, which will help ensure the future of the place where legends live on,” said Lee Roy Smith, Executive Director of the National Wrestling Hall of Fame. “When he was competing, Andy was an inspiration to so many American wrestlers. Now, at 66 years old, he is inspiring the wrestling community again by showing the importance of taking care of your body and mind, so that you can live life to the fullest no matter your age." 

Rein is not just embarking on this adventure for the thrill of it; he is strapping on his 35-pound backpack, setting up his tent, and hitting the trail with a greater purpose – to support the future of wrestling and the preservation of its history. 

This epic journey spans 2,197 miles across the beautiful terrain of 14 different states, starting from Georgia's lush landscapes and culminating in the rugged beauty of Maine, five months later. 

“I was directly involved with the sport of wrestling for more than 25 years, as an athlete or coach,” said Rein. “Wrestling is an important part of my life; it shaped me into the person I am today. It’s an honor to be able to give back to the sport that has given so much to me. By dedicating this hike to raise money for the National Wrestling Hall of Fame, in a small way, I’ll help the Hall of Fame preserve wrestling’s history, recognize extraordinary individuals and, most important to me, inspire future generations of wrestlers to participate in a life-changing sport that will provide them a lifetime of rewards.

“As I begin this hiking journey, I’m excited and a little bit anxious. I’m going to take it one step at time, one mile at a time, one state at a time, and each will be a little victory. I know it’s going to be difficult, but that’s part of the reason why I’m doing it.”

Wrestling enthusiasts and supporters of the sport have a unique opportunity to join Rein on his journey without taking a single step. Fans can contribute directly to the Power Beyond endowment campaign by making a donation in recognition of Rein’s monumental hike. This initiative is not just about raising funds; it's about showcasing the enduring spirit, resilience, and camaraderie that the sport of wrestling embodies.

CLICK to Donate to Power Beyond in Recognition of Andy’s Efforts 

The National Wrestling Hall of Fame invites all fans and supporters of wrestling to rally behind Rein as he takes on this intensive task and negotiates elevation changes with over 500,000 feet of total vertical gain (the equivalent of climbing Mount Everest 16 times), uneven and rocky terrain, river crossings, ridgelines, and more. 

Join us in cheering on Andy as he proves once again that the spirit of wrestling extends far beyond the mat.  

Rein’s journey will be documented on the Hall of Fame’s website, Facebook, Instagram and X accounts.

Our Mission: To honor the sport of wrestling by preserving its history, recognizing extraordinary individual achievements, and inspiring future generations