Kevin “Iron Man” Koester, of Kirkland walked away from the Reebok CrossFit Games earlier this month as the fittest 50-something-year-old in the world.
“I feel great,” said Koester, who is an iron worker by trade.
The Games took place in Madison, Wisconsin Aug. 3-6. After four days and eight events, Koester earned the title “Fittest On Earth” for the men’s master division, age 50-54.
“That’s the claim to fame for CrossFit,” he said.
CrossFit is a combination of three types of exercise: Olympic weightlifting, gymnastics and cardio.
At the encouragement of a neighbor, Koester started doing CrossFit about two years ago.
“I just kind of fell in love with it,” he said. “I’ve always worked out and exercised all my life at a high level.”
When he was in grade school, he also participated in competitive gymnastics.
“It definitely gives me an advantage,” he said.
Koester didn’t participate in the CrossFit Open until 2016.
“After seeing how he compared to other athletes his age, he made it his mission to train and make it to the Games competition in 2017,” according to a press release.
During the 2017 Open, Koester placed 14th in the world and advanced to the next round: the Online Qualifier.
Leading up to the Games, Koester trained at the Kirkland CrossFit for 2-3 hours a day between work.
“I went in with the goal at the beginning of last year to qualify to the games,” he said. “After the qualifiers, I was in the No. 1 position. That’s when I changed my goal: Not only am I going to the games, I’m going to win the games.”
He said it feels “amazing to have a goal and obtain it.”
“It wasn’t about proving myself to anyone, the medal or the check,” he said.
What’s been more rewarding is the amount of people who have contacted him to tell him how inspired they are.
“It’s been pretty overwhelming,” he said.
Koester got back to the Eastside Aug. 7 and has already hit the gym.
Koester is president and owner of Apex Steel and Apex Tower Crane, Inc., based in Kirkland. As an iron worker by trade, his friends call him “Iron Man,” a fitting nickname, Koester agreed, considering his new title of “Fittest On Earth.”