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Cedar Rapids 62-year-old changes his life with inspiring 26-year fitness journey

Published: Sep. 23, 2021 at 1:03 PM CDT
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CEDAR RAPIDS, Iowa (KCRG) - A Cedar Rapids man changed his life 26 years ago when he started a fitness journey that now he can’t stop.

Today, 62-year-old Todd Brown might begin his day with a swim at Pleasant Creek in Palo.

But that wasn’t always part of his routine. Brown said he used to be 45 pounds overweight while working 60-70 hours a week and taking care of a three-year-old daughter.

“We went to visit my mother, who was dying of cancer,” Brown said. “I watched her play with my daughter for the last time, and I began to realize that life has an end to it, and I really needed to do something to be around for my daughter.”

Twenty-six years later, Brown has finished 95 triathlons and 30 marathons.

He retired from Rockwell and hoped to do all kinds of adventure rides and triathlons, but the pandemic brought that to a halt.

“Covid was not helpful,” he said. “I had planned to do two Ironmans last year, both were deferred to this year.”

So he is making up for lost time. It started with the Great Divide Bike Ride in June.

“We did 40,000 feet of climbing with bikes with our gear packed on them,” he said. “We were self-sufficient. We stopped at filtered water along the way. We were out in the middle of the national forest, camping with grizzly bears. I’m pretty sure we crossed the divide about eight times.”

Brown then did the Leadville 100 mile mountain bike race up the mountains in Colorado in July.

“There’s about 12,700 feet of vertical climbing involved in it,” he explained. “It takes place at altitudes between 9,000 and 12,000 feet.”

After mountain bike races in Utah and Minnesota, Brown finished the Wisconsin Ironman full triathlon in Madison. In five weeks, he will compete in the California Ironman.

“Where it gets tough is the run,” he said. “It is really hard to run off the bike and stay running for a full marathon. That is really where you kind of find yourself and push through it. Almost can’t stand up. Lots of emotions.”

Brown has run in the Boston Marathon, and now he is setting his sights on the Hawaii Ironman.

“I think going to Hawaii would just say I capped off 25 to 30 years of doing Ironman with the Premier race.”

Todd said he wants to compete in the triathlons and bike races as long as he can.

“I feel like I’m in my 30s,” he said. “I’m in my early 60s, but I don’t feel that way at all. I don’t really know until I look in the mirror. I don’t take any medicines - anything for blood pressure, cholesterol, it has all been a good end for the means.”

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