CEO on the Run – Adam Goldstein


Royal Caribbean’s Adam Goldstein combines globetrotting with serious running.

By Bob Cooper

How can the head of one of the world’s leading cruise companies find time to train for a competitive sport? Not easily, but Royal Caribbean president and CEO Adam Goldstein, 54, feels like he’s making up for lost time.

Goldstein didn’t run at all from 1979 to 2007. He doesn’t blame the 28-year break on Harvard Law School, the corporate ladder, or raising two kids — he blames pain. During all those years, almost all forms of physical activity triggered waves of back pain that started with the removal of a giant tumor from his spinal canal at age 21.

“I assumed there was no chance I would ever run again,” said Goldstein at the Miami offices of Royal Caribbean International. “So I got on with my life.” But he assumed wrong, as six years ago, a new combination of medications and physical therapy gave him his wings back. Before long, he was sprinting past guests on the world’s longest shipboard tracks (740 meters) on the Oasis of the Seas and Allure of the Seas, features he insisted on when those world’s-largest cruise ships were under construction.

Soon, Goldstein began hitting race times that ranked well nationally in his age group — times which most men half his age could brag about. In high school in Berwyn, Pennsylvania, he’d been a good tennis player, cross-country runner, and half-miler, then an elite rower on the Princeton lightweight crew team. But the back surgery, which could have left him paralyzed, put an early end to that dimension of his life.

“I was totally amazed I could run again,” he says. His times since turning 50 include 67 seconds for 400 meters (one lap of a standard track) and 19:17 in the 5K (a zesty 6:12 per mile). In each of the last two Mercedes-Benz Corporate Run 5Ks in Miami, he’s been the second CEO to cross the finish line … to a man who’s 11 years younger. And he’s made it close. He hates to lose.


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