On Monday, April 16 2012, Brinson Benefits employees rooted for Kyle Heffner to bring home a title in the Boston Marathon, and he succeeded.

Kyle,57, won the men’s 55-59 age group, finishing at a strong 2 hours, 48 minutes and 36 seconds (6:25 per mile average). Overall, he placed 187th among 21,606 finishers.

Of course, the Brinson Benefits Wellness Coach is no stranger to the Boston Marathon, since he ran it 31 years ago. In 1981, he finished in ninth place at 2:12:31, almost beating his best time of 2:10:55, finishing  in third place at the 1980 Olympic Marathon Trials.  Unfortunately, that was the year the US boycotted   the 1980 Games in Moscow, so no Americans could attend.

Kyle Heffner joined Brinson Benefits in November 2011 as a wellness coach and consultant. He sits down  to tell us about his experience an Olympian and runner.

What is it like being an Olympian?
It is a great feeling, and it opens a lot of doors. It gives me a sense of pride to say I’ve represented the United States. Aside from accomplishment, there is also a sense of camaraderie with other Olympians. For example, I participate in events with the Southwest Chapter of the US Olympian Association. They often host special events for Olympians to be celebrities and encourage young people.

Running isn’t exactly a favorable activity for many people, how do you train or develop as a distance runner? What principles of health and wellness do you apply?
It is a very slow development. It takes many years and a lot of miles. I’ve run more than 85,000 miles throughout my life span. The secret to distance running is to slow down, and run within your present capabilities. I’ve develop the strategy of a high-low from week to week, on a two week cycle. It has some advantages, because you can race at the end of a low week as you recover. Basically you apply good physical training principles to get where you need to be. Running also has a large psychological component to it. I typically apply basic conditioning and physical training principles. From a wellness standpoint, I am conscious of what I eat and I try to consume enough minerals and antioxidants to protect me from the stresses of running.

How did it feel being at the Boston Marathon after 31 years? 
There were features that reminded me of what the course was like such as the crowd cheers and rolling hills. This year’s event was three times larger in terms of crowds. They have all of these special events, and expos now. It really has expanded as an event overall, and they were very well organized.


Kyle crosses the finish line at the 1981 Boston Marathon. He finished in ninth place with a time of 2 hours, 12 minutes, and 31 seconds.

Did you cross paths with any familiar faces from your last performance in 1980? 
Yes. I knew the guy who interviewed me for Runners World, who still writes for them. I also saw Toni Reavis, a long-time broadcaster and writer. He handed me the results of the race and told me I won in my group by a long shot. The second place runner was six minutes behind my time. I also ran into Greg Mayer, an old running competitor from the 1981 race. He said he envied my current conditioning and ability to still run at an impressive speed. He won the Boston Marathon at a record time two years after we competed in the 1981 Boston Marathon.

What is next for Kyle Heffner?
I am considering the Chicago Marathon in the fall. I don’t know if that is realistic or not. I have to apply for it and make sure I have everything ready. As for now, I will continue my training and working as a clinical exercise physiologist and wellness coach for Brinson Benefits.

Kyle in the News

  1.  Dallas Morning News
  2.  Runner’s World – Post Race
  3. Runner’s World – Pre Race