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Backpacker Magazine – January 2014

Readers' Choice 2014: Heroes

We asked readers to nominate the people who inspire them.

by: April Cumming


Michael Phipps, 53 
This NYPD cop helps train and motivate new hikers. 

Set a tough goal. Train hard. Collect sponsorships to raise money for cancer research and treatment. That’s Team in Training’s model—and its success depends on the support participants receive. Within the group’s hiking adventure program, Mike Phipps is a superstar coach. “He has a gift for getting you on the trail,” says Tara McCarthy, a four-year participant. 

Since 2006, Phipps has coached 14 teams of up to 30, culminating in adventures to five national parks and raising $840,000. He leads weekly hikes, keeps members motivated and on track, and advises on fundraising and gear—all while working full-time with the NYPD. “He knows exactly how to make an individual sport a team sport,” McCarthy says.   

Take it from me “Your comfort zone is a beautiful place, but nothing grows there.” 




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