Athlete Spotlight: Fred Pepper


Nov. 2017


TELL US ABOUT YOUR TRIATHLON JOURNEY: I got into cycling and then triathlon in my late 20s because of a running injury and did about a dozen races (sprints mostly) in the late 80s, then had a long hiatus due to family and career before getting back into triathlon in 2016 and have been training and racing consistently ever since.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE RACE? USAT Age Group Nationals. The last 3 years in Milwaukee and I’ve enjoyed benchmarking myself with the others in my age group in a national event.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST ACCOMPLISHMENT IN THIS SPORT? I think just working my training and racing load in and around the rest of my life consistently for the last 7 1/2 is something I’m proud of. Also, I’ve continually strived to improve myself and am proud to have qualified for 3 IM70.3 WC and one WTC Championship Finals.

WHAT HAS BEEN YOUR BIGGEST CHALLENGE? As an “adult-onset” swimmer, to have reached the point that my swim is competitively on par with my bike and run took consistent training and instruction (thanks Gemma!) over several years.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE POST RACE FOOD? Probably a Cinnabon, though I think I only had it one time.

TELL US ABOUT YOUR FAMILY. Life is great outside of triathlon! A wonderful and patient! spouse, Kathy, and 2 twenty-something boys that live out of town. And we’ve learned that vacationing with your adult children is a wonderful experience!

TELL US ABOUT YOUR PROFESSIONAL/PERSONAL LIFE. I was a geologist for Exxon and enjoyed applying science in regions all over the world while working with great people.

WHAT IS SOMETHING NO ONE WOULD EVER GUESS/KNOW ABOUT YOU? That I switched to a whole foods, plant-based diet early this year because of the significant health benefits that it provides. So far so good!

WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE THING ABOUT THIS TEAM? The opportunity, in this hectic life, to interact with a more diverse group of people with similar interests than I would otherwise have the chance to spend time with.

WHO IS YOUR FAVORITE AUTHOR? Fiction: David Baldacci; Non-fiction: Dr. Christopher Gardner (YouTube mostly) on the merits of healthy nutrition

WHAT’S YOUR FAVORITE RESTAURANT? Thai Cottage, on College Park; wonderful food and plenty of healthy, meatless dishes.

WHO IS YOUR BIGGEST INSPIRATION? I’ve been fortunate to be close to 3-time IM world champion Jana Richtrova, my coach from 5 years, and see her dedication to the sport and her training and racing and her attention to details that add up to significantly improve performance.

WHAT EXCITING PLANS DO YOU HAVE FOR THE NEXT YEAR? After focusing on the 70.3 distance for the last 5 years, my primary focus will be on the Oly distance and a few sprints with my ‘A’ race being the Age Group Nationals in Atlantic City, though I’ll start off with IM70.3 Texas in Galveston because the course suits me and the timing makes good use of the winter and spring months to get me in top shape for the rest of the year.

ANYTHING ELSE YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE? I’m impressed with so many team members in the middle of careers and raising a family that are able to train and race; certainly more than I was able to do, but for those that can’t train/race as much as they’d like, just keep the 3 sports in you life (and your identity?!) just a little, even with just a couple annual sprint races for instance, until the time that you can ramp it up.