Press Release – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Wellness Company CEO May Be World’s Fittest CEO After Becoming 1st Person to Complete Endurance Trifecta in a Single Year
Denver, CO; November 29, 2015 – 49 year old US Corporate Wellness CEO Brad Cooper became the first person ever to complete the “endurance trifecta,” qualifying for the Boston Marathon, the Hawaii Ironman Triathlon World Championship, and winning the 3,000 mile cycling Race Across America (RAAM – two-person division), all within a five month span. Following completion of the trifecta, respected endurance sports writer Matt Fitzgerald and author of How Bad Do You Want It? professed “Brad Cooper just might be the world’s fittest CEO.”
The odds of competing in (vs. simply completing) any two, let alone three of these revered events are quite long. While there are multiple sub-divisions at RAAM, there are a total of just 15 people each year earning an overall victory under the individual, two-person, four-person or eight-person team categories. Cooper’s team completed the 24/7 coast-to-coast race in just over seven days, a full 24 hours ahead of the division’s 2nd place team. In qualifying for the Hawaii Ironman World Championship, fewer than 3% of Ironman competitors (and 1/10 of 1% of all triathletes) make the cut, and almost never with the 25 minute buffer Cooper enjoyed. For Boston, approximately 10% of marathoners qualify for the marathon, but less than ½ of 1% qualify by 25 minutes or more, as Cooper did. Achieving all three of these in a single year (or, in this case, 5 months) is made even more extreme due to the variations between these three contrasting pursuits.
While cycling, triathlon, and running appear to be closely related, the training specificity tied to each – especially at the competitive level – is significant, which Cooper discovered the hard way. “I’d planned to start the run training a few days after we finished RAAM, but the legs simply wouldn’t function off the bike. The first few times I tried to run (post-RAAM), the cramping in my quads was so severe that I couldn’t go more than two minutes before literally having to sit down on the side of the road and then eventually walk home. I understood the difference between cycling’s concentric contractions and running’s eccentric contractions on paper, but the reality was eye-opening!”
The running legs and swim training eventually worked their way back, and Cooper finished 18th overall (out of 2,800 competitors) at Ironman Florida, earning a coveted slot for the Hawaii Ironman World Championship by over 25 minutes. The final stage of the trifecta came just two weeks later on the hilly and windy Route 66 Marathon course, where Cooper again finished 18th overall (out of 3,500 runners) in a time of 2:59, a full 25 minutes ahead of the Boston cut-off on a slow marathon course. The timing of the marathon – just two weeks after the Ironman – resulted in only eight total training runs during the month prior to the race. “Fortunately, everything worked out and I was thankful to get across the finish line with a decent outcome,” noted Cooper.
Cooper almost didn’t make it to the starting line of any of the events. After months of training, he was involved in a crazy but severe cycling accident just six weeks prior to RAAM in which a goose flew into his bike while he was traveling over 30 miles/hour during a time trial training session. The accident resulted in a fractured clavicle, four broken ribs, three pelvic fractures, a concussion and multiple stitches. After surgery and extensive consultations, he was cleared by the team of physicians to continue forward.
The physicians weren’t the only ones who made a difference behind the scenes. As with any pursuit of this magnitude, the contributions from others are what made this viable. “The whole thing was Jerry’s (Jerry Schemmel – Brad’s RAAM teammate) idea. Our RAAM crew was unbelievable in the way they sacrificed so much to get us smoothly across the country. So many friends and others kept me on track with training and preparation. Most of all, the encouragement from my phenomenal bride Suzanna and our three kids kept me moving forward when I was ready to give up,” explained Cooper. Speaking of contributions, the vast support for their Team Enduring Hope during RAAM helped raise more than $50,000 to help build an orphanage for special needs children in Haiti, which will get underway in 2016.
As the CEO for a national employee wellness provider, the pursuit also had another important purpose. “In our business, we are always encouraging the individual participants in our programs to move outside of their comfort zones – to try something that may seem like a stretch. For some, that may involve going for a walk over the lunch hour or turning off the TV 30 minutes earlier at night to get a little extra sleep. For others, it may mean their first 5K or half marathon. This was my way of trying to live out the message we’re sharing with others,” noted Cooper.
About US CORPORATE WELLNESS, INC.
US CORPORATE WELLNESS is a premier provider of comprehensive employee wellness services for organizations with 150 – 20,000 employees. They are one of only nine national firms to earn full accreditation through URAC as a Comprehensive Wellness Provider and are known for providing a meaningful and tailored strategy for organizations nationwide. For more information or to arrange an interview with Mr. Cooper, please contact us at [email protected].