In August, Ozarks alumnus Cooper Mann completed the grueling 2012 Ironman U.S. Championship in New York City in just less than 11 hours 9 minutes.
Cooper Mann, a 2000 Ozarks graduate, completed the 2012 Ironman U.S. Championship in New York City in August. It was Mann’s second Ironman race.
Mann, originally from Beebe, Ark., graduated from Ozarks in 2000 with a degree in management and theatre. In 2006, he earned a master’s degree in health science from the University of Arkansas, and a year later moved to New York City, where he currently lives and works as a personal trainer and triathlon coach.
"In the beginning of 2007, I met some people who convinced me that I could be a personal trainer in New York," Mann said. "I followed their advice. I sold my house and my car and moved to New York City."
In New York, Mann landed a personal training job with a high-end gym, something he’s very grateful for.
"In this rough economy they are still expanding," he said. "We have 57 locations, mostly in New York and California, but some in Boston, Miami, Washington D.C., Dallas, and now London. We’re soon to add Toronto."
The Ironman U.S. Championship consisted of a 2.4-mile swim, 112-mile bike ride, and a 26.2-mile run. It was the second Ironman event that Mann has completed.
"I started participating in triathlons while I was working in Fayetteville as a personal trainer," he said. "After I moved to New York, I found that having a specialty would help set me apart from other trainers. Endurance sports has been my market. I received my USA Triathlon coaching certification in 2008 and have been using it since then."
Mann completed his first Ironman in 2009 in Cozumel, Mexico.
"It was a great trip," Mann said. "I went with several other friends who were doing their first Ironman too. I finished in 11 hours and 45 minutes. My goal was under 12 hours."
Due to an injury, Mann was forced to take 2010 off from racing, but came back slowly in 2011 and began preparing for the 2012 New York Ironman 12 months in advance.
"I finished the New York race in 11 hours and 9 minutes," he said. "I had hoped for a time under 11 hours, but I was close. It was insanely challenging, but so much fun."
"The run should have been my strongest event, but it was hot and hilly and it just wasn’t my day," Mann said. "The swim was great. We had a current that was pushing us from behind all the way, and we got to wear wetsuits that help you float. The bike was hilly, but fast. I thought the bike would be my worst section, but ended up being a personal best. I gave it all I had and have no regrets about my efforts."
In addition to the two Ironman events, Mann has also completed six half Ironman races, about 10 Olympic distance races, and eight sprints. He is also currently coaching five athletes for varying distances in triathlons.
"I have three athletes running in the New York City Marathon this year," he said. "I also work with about 25 clients as a personal trainer, and I often use endurance sports as a motivator for them."