Rich graduated from Stanford University and Cornell Law School and is an accomplished vegan ultra-endurance athlete and full-time wellness & plant-based nutrition advocate and motivational speaker. He has inspired people worldwide with his transformative example of courageousness and healthy living.
In 2012, his inspirational memoir Finding Ultra: Rejecting Middle Age, Becoming One of the World’s Fittest Men, and Discovering Myself (Crown Archetype) was a bestseller. In 2013, following on from the success of the book, Rich launched the wildly popular Rich Roll Podcast, which regularly tops the iTunes top-10 lists.
In May 2010, Rich and his ultra-colleague Jason Lester accomplished an unprecedented feat of staggering endurance many said was not possible. They called it the EPIC5 CHALLENGE – completing 5 ironman-distance triathlons on 5 islands of Hawaii in under a week. Commencing on Kauai, they travelled to Oahu, Molokai and Maui before finishing on the Big Island, following the course of the Ironman World Championships on the Kona coast.
Rich has also been a top finisher at the Ultraman World Championships in Hawaii in both '08 and '09. Considered by many to be one of world’s most daunting and grueling endurance races on the planet, Ultraman is a 3-day / 320 mile double-ironman distance triathlon that circumnavigates the entire Big Island. Only 35 carefully selected participants from all over the world take part in this invitation only event where Day 1 involves a 6.2 mile ocean swim followed by a 90 mile cross-country cycling race. Day 2 is a 170 mile cycling race, with Day 3 culminating with a 52 mile double marathon run on the searing hot lava fields of the Kona coast.
Remarkably, less than two years prior to his first Ultraman, Rich didn’t even own a bike, let alone race one.
Although he competed as a butterfly swimmer at Stanford University in the late 80’s, Rich’s career was cut short by struggles with drugs and alcohol — an addiction that led him astray for the next decade, alienating friends, colleagues and family, landing him in jails, institutions and ultimately rehab at age 31. Although sober, Rich soon found himself 3 and a half stone overweight; the furthest thing from fit. Everything came to head on the eve of his 40th birthday. Defeated by a mere flight of stairs that left him buckled over in pain, he foresaw the almost certain heart attack looming in his near future.
It was time for a major life change.
The day after his staircase epiphany, Rich overhauled his life: he became a dedicated vegan, put on his running shoes and returned to the pool. It wasn’t long before ambition took hold and his quest to participate in Ultraman slowly began. Within two years he had lost 3 anbd a half stone and fueled by nothing but plants, surprised the triathlon & ultra communities by not only becoming the first vegan to complete the 320-mile über-endurance event, but by finishing in the top 10 males (3rd fastest American) with the 2nd fastest swim split — all despite having never previously completed even a half-ironman distance triathlon.
In 2009 Rich returned to Ultraman and won the swimming element with a 2:21 swim victory (6th fastest of all time) and a third fastest bike leg to win the day with a 10 minute lead on the field. On Day 2 Richard suffered a serious bike crash but managed to salvage the day in 6th place overall. With an injured knee and shoulder Richard nonetheless went on to a 7:51 Day 3 double-marathon to hold onto 6th place overall.
Thes plant-fueled feats of boundary-pushing athleticism have led to features on CNN, the LA Times Sunday Magazine, The Huffington Post, Stanford Magazine, Men’s Health Living, VegNews, Triathlete, Outside, 3/GO Magazine and Men’s Fitness Magazine, which named Rich as one of the 25 Fittest Men in the World.” He has also spoken to organisations around the world including Bloomberg, Genentech, Allianz, Deloitte .
Along with his wife and four children, Rich resides in Malibu Canyon outside of Los Angeles.
When he isn’t writing, podcasting or spending time with his family, you can find him lost on the remote trails of the Santa Monica Mountains.