Eighth Class (2011)
Dr. Ken Cooper
Although Frank Shorter is often credited with starting the First Running Boom in 1972, Dr. Ken Cooper, our 2011 inductee, also played a pivotal role in running becoming a national “craze” and then mainstream as he launched a worldwide fitness revolution 40 years ago.
His best-selling book, Aerobics, introduced the world to a new word and a new concept and the benefits of aerobic exercise, particularly running, and he later influenced running luminaries such as Bill Bowerman and Jim Fixx. This groundbreaking book, first published in 1968, has sold more than 30 million copies and been translated into Braille and 41 languages.
In Brazil, where he helped train the 1970 Brazilian soccer team to a World Cup victory, running is called “coopering” or “doing the cooper” in his honor. In 1968, only 100,000 people were jogging or running in America. Today, that number exceeds 30 million, thanks, in part, to the work and message of Dr. Cooper, and the current Second Running Boom – led by the rise of mainstream training programs – has its roots in his pioneering research and reach.
In 2010, the Cooper Aerobics Center in Dallas celebrated its 40th anniversary and Dr. Cooper, an Oklahoma native and one-time San Antonio resident, continues to be recognized as the leader of the international physical fitness movement and is often credited with motivating more people to exercise in pursuit of good health than any other person.
Put simply, the "father of aerobics" has left an enduring legacy for our sport.
Over the past 30-plus years, Creigh Kelley of Englewood, Colo. has a running resume that literally covers all facets of our great sport. Creigh has been on the front lines, behind the scenes, in the scene and sometimes all three at the same event.
From the First Running Boom to now, the president of BKB Limited, a multi-service management company, has been at numerous times: an athlete, an agent, a coach, manager, administrator, race director, marketer, announcer, timer, volunteer, trustee, board member, company founder and more. Few, if any, have or have had such a range of activities and accomplishments for so long in distance running or contributed so much to our sport, often without fanfare.
Kelley has also been men’s LDR chair and held other federation positions and is one of the founders of Running USA as well as a long-time board member.