When Larry Senn stands with his arms raised atop a winner’s podium after a grueling triathlon, he’s usually alone.
That’s because the 82-year-old usually doesn’t have anybody to compete against in his age bracket.
As atypical as they come, Senn has managed to frequently summon the strength to take part in several triathlons a year, all while running a business that demands weekly cross-country travel.
“I have this belief that in order to be your best mentally, you have to be your best physically,” Senn said.
Senn, who lives in Sunset Beach, traces his dedication to physical endurance to his love for his family.
He has five kids, ranging in age from 17 to 52. After the birth of his youngest child, Logan, Senn felt he needed to devote himself to a more rigid health plan so that he could live to see his son grow.
“I tell people that when I see a chocolate chip cookie, I see my son’s face on it and I don’t eat it,” Senn said. “I want to be around for my family.”
Senn competes in about five triathlons a year. He has finished each of them and has never come in last overall, though Logan likes to quip that his father manages to come in first and last in his age bracket.
To be physically capable of performing these races, Senn maintains a strict daily regimen that includes meditation, stretching and running. On weekends he tends to bike or swim, sometimes mixing in his own mini triathlon.
His diet is also stringently clean. Terming himself a “pescavegan,” Senn eats mostly greens with some fish, usually salmon due to its high content of omega-3 oils.
“I am on zero meds and, biologically, I am probably in my 50s in terms of my heart rate, blood pressure and other vital statistics,” said Senn, pointing out that he has 5% body fat.
Senn’s children also marvel at his capabilities.
“He has this natural energy, but he doesn’t even drink coffee,” said Kendra Senn, 26, of Irvine.
Kendra Senn said her father’s drive has influenced each of the Senn children. She started a corporate wellness business a few years back that has since closed. The others are an amalgamation of surfers and a power lifter.
“I don’t think anyone can be that disciplined without having a purpose,” Kendra Senn said of her father. “He wants to make an impact in the world through not only his family, but also his business.”
Senn founded his Huntington Beach-based business, Senn Delaney, about 40 years ago with the intent of helping organizations develop healthier corporate cultures that are more conducive to success.
Senn said he pioneered the field after witnessing the downfall of a business that was crippled by company politics and lethargic bureaucracy. His 1970 doctoral dissertation, “Organizational Character as a Tool in the Analysis of Business Organizations,” is considered the first case study of American business culture.
Senn has worked with more than 100 Fortune 500 CEOs, a handful of presidents of major universities and a few state governors.
He’s still traveling weekly for the business, most recently leading a seminar with hundreds of attendees.
“Many people are retired by now, but I get enormous satisfaction from this job,” Senn said.
Senn’s next competition will be the annual “Race on the Base” triathlon at the Los Alamitos Training Base on Feb. 23 and 24.
He doubts there will be anybody else competing in his bracket, so another first, and last, place spot may be in the cards.
“My goal is mostly to have a decent time and finish the race,” Senn said. “I don’t have to worry about beating many people because there is nobody to beat. I am mostly competing against myself. I want to see if I can do this when I am 90.”