Barclays Trader Rubin Defends Title as Wall Street’s Top Athlete

Mark Rubin of Barclays Plc won the RBC Decathlon for the second straight year and said defending his title as Wall Street’s best athlete was more challenging than his breakthrough victory.

Evelyn Konrad of Standard & Poor’s will get to experience that next year after winning the inaugural women’s title.

Rubin, a former Pennsylvania State University safety who spent time with several National Football League teams, finished atop a field of 170 financial industry workers in yesterday’s 10-event competition that raised more than $1.4 million for Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York.

“What makes the event so fun is the level of competition,” said the 27-year-old Rubin, who’s in his third year selling fixed-income futures at Barclays. “You really can’t have an off event or an off race. You just have to try to be consistent and attack every event. Last year was hard and this year was even harder.”

Rubin finished with 7,630 points, almost 300 more than runner-up Jay Li of Trafelet & Co.

Former Harvard University football captain Collin Zych, who attended training camp with the Dallas Cowboys in 2011, finished in third place, followed by fellow first-time Decathlon participant Tom McCarthy of Morgan Stanley. McCarthy was captain of the football team at Yale University in 2011 and spent time in NFL training camps with the Atlanta Falcons and Jacksonville Jaguars.

Konrad, 46, was crowned Wall Street’s best woman athlete just over a month after joining Standard & Poor’s as a compliance officer. It also came two weeks after she competed in the 100-, 200- and 400-meter sprints at the USA Masters Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Olathe, Kansas.

Supportive Group

“It was tough competition, but it was good fun at the end of the day,” Konrad said following yesterday’s event at Columbia University’s Wien Stadium in Manhattan. “It was a phenomenal group of women, really supportive and we really brought out the best in each other. I’m glad they opened it up to women. I think there are going to be a lot more women next year and that bar is going to be that much higher.”

There were three running events in the RBC Decathlon, at distances of 40 yards, 400 meters and 800 meters. Also in the one-day competition were pull-ups, a football throw, an agility drill, rowing, vertical jump, bench press and dips -- a triceps exercise using one’s own weight.

Konrad has also participated in duathlons and triathlons, and returned to competition as a sprinter several years ago after giving up track following high school. She said having experienced that level of competition benefitted her yesterday.

‘Pain Thresholds’

“It definitely helped, just knowing there are certain pain thresholds that you need to get through,” Konrad said. “It’s a mental game of being able to say, ‘It’s going to be hard, just keep going.’ Just like many things in life.”

In addition to the prizes awarded to the women’s winner and the top three men’s finishers, there were titles awarded in the executive division and several age groups.

Clinton Biondo of Fir Tree Partners, last year’s runner-up, won the top executive title and was seventh overall in the final standings. Li was the top finisher in the 30-39 age division, Andrew Hogue of Goldman Sachs won the 40-49 group and Greg Wilson of MBIA Inc. finished first among those over 50.

Health Warrior

Li and Lesley Kelly of Visium Funds will have their images emblazoned on boxes of Health Warrior chia power bars after earning the titles of strongest man and woman on Wall Street. As part of its partnership with the RBC Decathlon, the company is incorporating the likeness of the two competitors with the best overall scores in the strength events -- bench press, pull ups and dips -- on the nutrition product’s packaging.

When it came to an overall combination of strength, speed and agility, nobody could top Rubin, who signed with the St. Louis Rams as an undrafted free agent in 2009 before getting waived in Week 1 of the NFL season. After later tryouts with the Buffalo Bills and Minnesota Vikings failed to yield an NFL roster spot, he returned to business school at Penn State and joined Barclays in 2010.

Rubin is now focused on his career on Wall Street and said he’ll be back next year to try for a Decathlon three-peat. Konrad also said she plans on returning.

“I do think I’ll be back,” she said. “My husband said, ‘You’re not a true champion unless you defend.”’

Before it's here, it's on the Bloomberg Terminal.