The Usual Prospects-- Kamen Yotov
Participating in a "biggest loser" contest may not be the way most PPTC members came to running, but it worked for Kamen Yotov, who won that contest while working in computer technology at Goldman, Sachs in 2008. Kamen, then weighing in at 225 pounds, worked at first with a trainer, then got caught up in the pleasures of exercise and competition. By 2009, a lighter and fitter Kamen ran his first race, the Fifth Avenue Mile in 5:43. That event would prove to be one of his favorite; he ran the 2013 race in 5:16. Kamen not only lost the most weight in his company's competition, but gained the most interest in fitness as well.
Kamen came to the United States from Sofia, Bulgaria in 2000 to pursue graduate work in Computer Science at Cornell. After earning a degree, he lived in Manhattan for a while, and then found--as did several other members of our Club--that Brooklyn offered good opportunities for living and training not too far from his work. He currently works at Two Sigma Investments, LLC.
Kamen lives in Park Slope with his daughter Julianne (who has participated in the PPTC Youth Running Program, and who is often seen sharing her father's love of running and cycling).
Kamen knew he wanted to be part of a Brooklyn running community. His experience running the Cherry Tree Ten Miler suggested that PPTC was the kind of group he was looking for. He especially enjoys the support that team members provide at many races.
While Kamen proudly represents PPTC in running events, he also believes in the benefits of cross-training. He finds that cycling, swimming, and even stair-climbing provide not only great exercise, but a "balanced" fitness as well. In Kamen's thinking, "people underestimate their abilities" and are reluctant to "push their limits." He himself has discovered an ability to complete an Ironman and a Half-ironman event. (His first Ironman came ten weeks after shoulder surgery).
In response to my question about whether he considers himself a "daredevil" (he has had mishaps on the road), Kamen replied that he didn't think so. He does, however, take pride in doing things he had not thought possible for him. He finished a triathlon with a single gear on the bike, for instance. He was the male winner of the 2013 NYC Pizza Run, an event requiring participants to eat three slices of pizza while running the 2.25 mile course.
Kamen has some goals for the near future. He is looking forward to the NYC Marathon with hopes of improving his 2011 performance of 3:54:57. He has plans for doing the Brooklyn Marathon and the Chicago Marathon as well. Of course, there is always next year's Fifth Avenue Mile.
His advice to Club members? "Learn to listen to your body," he says. "If you're not injured, don't call it a day."