As part of our interviews for the 2020 Dallas 500, we asked those included in the book to name their favorite thing. We received some fascinating answers, and that led to the launch of a new series in the print edition of D CEO called, aptly, My Favorite Thing. We kicked things off with Dr. Kenneth Cooper, the founder and chairman of Cooper Aerobics.
“My feet were a dripping, bloody mess upon completing the marathon,” says Dr. Kenneth Cooper, as he strokes his bloodstained New Balances that carried him across the finish line in the 1962 Boston Marathon. Sneaker brands hadn’t yet begun to manufacture “running shoes,” but Dr. Cooper had courageously strapped on his flimsy, unwebbed sneakers as one of the marathon’s 232 participants. Today, the race attracts an average running field of 30,000 and half-a-million spectators; participation began skyrocketing following the publication of Dr. Cooper’s bestseller, Aerobics, in 1968.
“The 1962 Boston Marathon was my first attempt at running 26 miles nonstop, and I finished 101st with a record of 3 hours and 54 minutes,” he says. To commemorate the successful completion of his first marathon, Cooper keeps the iconic sneakers framed in a glass box in his North Dallas office.