CEO Endurance World Championships 2013

Dr. Shawn Talbott (Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACSM, FACN, FAIS) has gone from triathlon struggler to gut-brain guru! With a Ph.D. in Nutritional Biochemistry, he's on a mission to boost everyday human performance through the power of natural solutions and the gut-brain axis.

This past weekend, September 7-9, I competed in the 3-day CEO World Endurance Championships held at the exquisite BlackBerry Farm near Knoxville Tennessee and the Great Smokey Mountains.


The competition spanned three days of swimming, biking, running, and obstacle course events against a global selection of “CXO” executives (Chief Executives, Chief Finance, Chief Operations, Chief Legal, and Chief Science such as myself). Each of these competitors had an extensive athletic resume including Ironman triathletes and National Champion runners. Each of us was representing a worthy charity – with me racing for The MORE Project.


I posted a short video recap of the weekend HERE. Sadly, I was not able to WIN and bring home the big check to support the kids at The MORE Project.


I finished 2nd overall – not bad – but one place lower than I had hoped. I guess that makes me the “2nd-Fittest CEO in the World” behind a great guy (who is now a good friend), Frank Karbe, who holds the title of “World’s Fittest CEO” (and well-deserved).


The 6-events looked like this:


Day 1 (morning) – Elimination Bike Race – after a warm-up of several 1-mile laps, the group sprints for the finish line and the last rider across the line is eliminated. Continue on each lap until the group is down to two riders who sprint for the win. I finished 2nd.


Day 1 (afternoon) – Obstacle Course – split into 3 teams, we tackled a range of mental challenges (solving riddles), strength challenges (sawing logs, climbing ropes, rolling hay bales), and endurance challenges (cross-country running, leaping barriers, paddling, swimming). My team finished 2nd.


Day 2 (morning) – Elimination Run – after a warm-up of several 600-metter laps, the group sprints for the finish line and the last runner across the line is eliminated. Continue each lap until the group is down to two runners who sprint for the win. I finished 4th.


Day 2 (afternoon) – Bike Hill Climb – after a warm-up ride of about 5 miles, the group reaches the bottom of the hilly section with alternating steep/rolling/steep hills (and the real racing begins). First rider to the top wins, with points awarded to riders in descending order of finish. After scoring two 2nd-places and one 4th-place, I knew that I needed to win this event if I hoped to have enough points to win the check for The More Project. Do or Die!


After having just run with these guys earlier in the morning, I knew that many were FAST runners with tremendous aerobic engines – so I wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about leaving it to battle out on the final climb. Having also raced bikes with these guys the day before, I knew that I might be able to use my cycling power to my advantage – but that would mean trying to break away early in the race and get a few minutes advantage before the start of the final climb. My plan was to breakaway on the very first climb and see how much time I could gain before the final climb. Lucky for me, the other riders thought I was crazy for attacking so early. They thought there was too far to go alone to the finish, and figured they could reel me in before the last climb. Every pedal stroke of my breakaway, I was thinking about the kids at The More Project and how a significant donation would be able to help them with school supplies and nutritious meals.


At the bottom of the final climb (1.5 miles to the finish), I was still alone with no other riders in sight. As the climb twisted up the mountain, I was able to catch glimpses of the road behind me – and after about halfway up, I saw another rider slowly gaining on me. I went as hard as I could up that final climb – and was able to hold on to first place – mission accomplished!


Going into Day 3, I was solidly in 2nd place overall, with the swim and cross country run left.


Day 3 (early morning) – Open Water Swim – nice cool water for the 1.1-mile swim, where I was able to hang on for 2nd-place.


Day 3 (later morning) – Cross Country Run – another hot and humid Tennessee day where we finished in the same order as the Elimination Run on day 2 – with me in 4th place.


Overall, my points total put me in 2nd Place (one win, three 2nd places, and two 4th places). Because the charity check only went to the winner, I was not able to achieve the big payday for The MORE Project – but better luck next year! I did, however, get a lot of exposure for MonaVie and The MORE Project and we’re working with CEO Challenges to coordinate a larger field of competitors and a deeper charity payout for the next CEO Endurance World Championships event in 2014.


Thanks to everyone who “tuned in” on Facebook and Twitter to watch the events unfold over the weekend – your good vibes were definitely motivational and much appreciated!


Thanks for reading,




About the Author: Shawn Talbott is MonaVie’s Chief Science & Innovation Officer. He holds a PhD in Nutritional Biochemistry (Rutgers) and a MS in Exercise Science (UMass). He trains for iron-distance triathlons and ultra-marathons in Utah – and is always sure to keep himself in biochemical balance and high vigor.


Shawn M. Talbott, Ph.D., CNS, LDN, FACN, FACSM, FAIS

Nutritional Biochemist and Author


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My books related to stress, cortisol, vigor, and Feeling Your Best:

?    Vigor Diet – The New Science of Feeling Your Best

?    The Secret of Vigor – How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy

?    Killer at Large – Why Obesity is America’s Greatest Threat – an award-winning documentary film exploring the causes and solutions underlying the American obesity epidemic. FREE versions at

?    The Cortisol Connection – Why Stress Makes You Fat and Ruins Your Health (Hunter House) – FREE text at

?    The Cortisol Connection Diet – The Breakthrough Program to Control Stress and Lose Weight (Hunter House) – FREE text at

?    Cortisol Control and the Beauty Connection – The All-Natural Inside-Out Approach to Reversing Wrinkles, Preventing Acne, And Improving Skin Tone (Hunter House) – FREE text at

?    Natural Solutions for Pain-Free Living – Lasting Relief for Flexible Joints, Strong Bones and Ache-Free Muscles (Chronicle Publishers – Currant Books) –

?    The Immune Miracle – The All-Natural Approach for Better Health, Increased Energy and Improved Mood (GLH Nutrition, 2012)

?    The Health Professionals Guide to Dietary Supplements (Lippincott, Williams & Wilkens)

?    A Guide to Understanding Dietary Supplements – an Outstanding Academic Text of 2004 (Haworth Press)


About the Author

Exercise physiologist (MS, UMass Amherst) and Nutritional Biochemist (PhD, Rutgers) who studies how lifestyle influences our biochemistry, psychology and behavior - which kind of makes me a "Psycho-Nutritionist"?!?!

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