by Ilene Denton
Photography by Barbara Banks
Hydrograss Technologies’ Bob Arello is a world-champion thrower.
“I’ll go out after work and throw for an hour and a half. I call it my therapy.”
HYDROGRASS TECHNOLOGIES CEO Bob Arello stood on a podium at the World Masters Athletics championships in Budapest, Hungary, last year and accepted the gold medal for his 48-foot, six-inch shot-put throw that landed a full five feet farther than his nearest competitor’s.
A Master thrower who ranks No. 1 in the world in his 55-60 age group for the pentathlon and superweight throw (that’s up to 300 pounds, folks), Arello, 56, is self-effacing about his after-hours passion. “How far can you throw 300 pounds?” he asks. “Not far. Last year, the first time I [competed] in ultraweight, I threw it four feet and won the nationals.”
Arello, who threw competitively in college and returned to the sport nine years ago, built a throwing circle on an acre of land adjacent to his Lakewood Ranch office, which is a branch of his Massachusetts-based company. (Hydrograss Technologies helps clients like site developers, state departments of transportation and even a golf course in Dubai prevent erosion by applying products that bind up soils and promote grass growth. “It’s a less expensive alternative to sodding,” he says.)
USA Track & Field (USATF) named Arello the 2014 Athlete of the Year in his age group. He credits his success to a rotational spin he’s developed. “I’m not giant like some of the guys who compete. I’m quick,” he says. He practices hammer throw and other throws two or three days a week and in-between does cross-fit training. “At my age, less is more,” he says. “I’m always battling injuries—shoulders, elbows. Sometimes you need the rest more than the training.”
Arello competed in Jacksonville in July at the USATF nationals, and in Seattle in August in the USA Masters Throws Championships. He won’t be going to the world championships, which this year will be held in Lyon, France, because they coincide with his daughter’s graduation from Florida State University. Plus, “When you run two businesses, with 50 people working for you, it gets crazy,” he says. “I’ll go out after work and throw for an hour and a half. I call it my therapy.” ■