THE WOODLANDS, Texas – This father and son duo loves competition.
This weekend, they'll compete in the IRONMAN North American Championship Texas in The Woodlands.
Instead of spending time together hunting and fishing, Derek and Todd Cooper swim 2.4 miles, bike 112 miles and run 26.2 miles in IRONMAN competitions. The fun started in 2010 when Todd did his first IRONMAN and Derek was inspired.
"I went out and watched him. Super inspired. My dad is amazing. I was like, 'My dad is an IRONMAN. That's what I want to do,'" Derek said.
Six years and a combined 21 IRONMAN competitions later, and Brazil, Barcelona ... You name it, the two have done it all.
It takes blood, sweat and tears to train for the competitions, but it's the time spent with each other that makes it all worth it.
"Derek really pushed me. Most of, probably, the last month and a half, I had some bike issues. When we were training and he really pushed me along to, just to try to get home some days. Maybe I didn't eat enough or something and then I'm starting to kind of, kind of bonk a little bit on the run, and he's still running. I'll be, like, 'Okay, got to keep up with the old man, right?" Todd said.
As a tradition, the family trophy is an Ironman (the superhero) lunchbox. The winner takes it home until the next race.
"He's been finishing before me. He'll be cheering me on at the end of the race. But you never know. You never know what tomorrow will bring," Todd said.
The IRONMAN starts at 7 a.m. Saturday in The Woodlands.