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What We Can Learn From a Great Athlete


I had the opportunity to meet up with Alan Culpepper, a two time Olympian, at HighTower Apex 2017. Alan was one of the keynote speakers, on top of leading an early 5K that cool San Francisco morning of the gathering. 

Alan grew up in El Paso Texas where he held 5 State Championship titles in Track and Cross Country, and still holds numerous El Paso city records. While studying at the University of Colorado he was an 8 time Division I All-American and earned a National Title in the 1996 NCAA Championships in 5,000 meters.

Over the course of his 12 year professional career, Alan proved to be one of the most consistent and versatile distance runners in American history. Along with qualifying for two Olympic teams, Alan was also a seven time National Champion in events ranging from 5k to the marathon and competed on four World Championship teams.

While running only his second marathon, Alan won the 2004 Olympic Marathon Trials and later that year went on to finish an impressive 12th place in the Athens Olympic Games marathon. He continued a string of impressive performances finishing 4th in the 2005 and 5th in the 2006 Boston Marathon. With a range of personal bests from 3:55.1 in the mile to 2:09:41 in the marathon, Alan has the best range of any other American Distance runner to date, and is one of only 20 men in the world to run under a 4:00 mile and under a 2:10 marathon.

Currently Alan serves as the Director of Operations and Marketing for the University of Colorado’s annual Conference on World Affairs. The Conference on World Affairs is a historic, one of a kind, week-long festival of ideas with thought leaders from around the world.

Alan also works with athletes of all varying abilities through his online coaching platform, Culpepper Coaching. He helps athletes from Singapore to Australia and London and across the United States with aspirations of completing their first event to qualify for the Boston Marathon. In 2015 Alan authored RUN Like a Champion – An Olympian’s Approach For Every Runner. Published by Velopress.

Click the image to watch Alan discuss: 

  • His journey to becoming an Olympic athlete.
  • Running vs. Competing: Some people to the line to run against the clock — others race — what’s the difference?
  • Being in an exclusive club of breaking 4 minutes in the mile and 2 hours and 10 minutes in the marathon — how he realized such a great range in distance running.
  • Competing against your inner-self. The marathon is a very long race, how to win that inner fight against yourself.
  • What being an elite runner has taught him about achieving goals.
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