Happy Friday my friends! I had a GREAT day today! I'm definitely still on a high from last night's NBGNO event, but, let's talk about that a little later, ok? Today, I headed over to the NEW New Balance headquarters and had the opportunity to interview elite runner, Sarah Brown. Sarah has a SERIOUS running resume which I've shared below. However, I want to tell you that I spent about an hour with her and I could tell off the bat that she's a really incredible person. We met briefly in the lobby and then headed upstairs to conduct the interview. Her husband (and coach) then came over and I chatted with him for a bit. There is definitely a huge passion for running in their relationship (obviously), but, I could also tell that they are truly supportive and respectful of each other and I found that very inspiring.
Sarah and I share a passion for New Balance and the Susan G. Komen Foundation as we both have family members that have been diagnosed with this terrible disease. Sarah's mom was diagnosed in 2001 and my sister Stacy was diagnosed last year. We are both running the Komen MA Race for the Cure this weekend and Sarah is the Team New Balance Captain! Here's how the interview went (which you can also view on PERISCOPE until around 2pm tomorrow)!
1. Sarah, when did you first start running?
I first started running when I was 13, I actually started as a soccer player at 6 years old but the benefit I had in soccer was my speed and endurance (I'd just keep running around the field <laughs>). My parents recognized that in me and when I was 13, put me in a Hershey Track & Field Race and then that same year, someone from Hershey Track & Field told me about AAU Track & Field. So, I ended up competing in the National meet where I ran my first face. The Hershey Track & Field is a 1600 meter and the AAU Track & Field is a 1500 meter and I actually won! I didn't really have a whole lot of experience. One of my first races was in a soccer jersey and cheerleading shoes! So, it's been one of those things where no one in my family came from a running background so we grew together and learned about it through the years.
2. What is your favorite race and what is your personal record?
My favorite race, I think is always changing a little bit and that's going to come when you have personal break-throughs. This year, that came to me in the Prefontaine Classic. I was a last minute entry in the 1500 and I was on the wait list, crossing my fingers saying "please let me get in this race, please let me get in" <laughing>. Two days before the race, I got the call and hopped on a flight and headed up there. It was a 1500 meter and I ran my personal best of 4:03.20. It was just one of those justifying moments. It was a big break-through for me, I had an injury last year as I broke my foot. I still ran well coming out of it but, I didn't have that break-through. And so, it's always nice just to get that justification. And hopefully as I move forward and maybe breaking 4:00 -- THAT will be my favorite race!
3. When did you start working with New Balance and what do you find most special about this brand?
I graduated from the University of Tennesse in 2009 and signed with NB right after that. So I've been very fortunate to be with them for many years <laughs> -- "I'm getting old". But, I think the thing that I love the most about the brand is their recognition of you as an individual -- they really care about everybody all their athletes and they care about you as a human, not just an athlete. I've always appreciated that. They've showed me support and loyalty. I really love this brand and I feel honored that they allow me to represent them. Just from the changes they've made in their product from when I first signed, until now and seeing their journey beyond athletics. For instance, the (Susan G.) Komen Foundation. My mom was diagnosed with cancer in 2001 and so when I signed with NB I noticed they had that partnership. They've had it for 26 years which show so MUCH LOYALTY to what they invest in. And they put that same investment in me.
4. The Komen MA Race for the Cure is this Sunday and you're not only running it but will also serve as the New Balance Team Captain. What does this race mean to you and can you share some of your story?
My mom was diagnosed in 2001 and watching her go through that.... that's one of the hardest things - watching your mom go through such a battle like that. You think of your mom as untouchable. My mom isn't necessarily the most athletic person but, seeing her fight and her drive, it just shows you what a hero and what her spirit can be. It doesn't have to manifest in being a super-athlete but, there can be all kinds of strength and toughness. Seeing that in her is really motivating for me.
The race - I really love the idea of the race because when it comes to fighting cancer it's about having a support system and a community to help you get through that and know that you're not alone. A race like this, it's kind of the same thing. To get through a race, you need that support and community and so I'm just really excited to be out there and help everyone -- be a cheerleader and a competitor at the same time. It has so much meaning and that sense of community and coming-together for a cause.
5. Changing gears, do you have some tips for everyday runners on how to stay injury-free?
I incorporate a lot of cross-training. My husband works for a company called and "Elliptigo", it's basically an elliptical that can go outside and I do a lot of runs into what we call "chasers' where I then jump onto the Elliptigo and then extend my workouts that way. I'm fragile, I'll admit it <laughs>. If anyone is injury-prone, I know what that's like! But we've just gone through ways of figuring it out whether it be Elliptigo, swimming, etc. and supplementing some of the mileage.
6. What about motivational techniques and key practices?
For me, I think it's about finding a group or a friend or someone to work out with. I think that's definitely key in staying motivated because you hold each other accountable. I also think that picking a goal like picking a race can keep you motivated, as well . So, it's really just about finding those things where you have an end goal so that you take the necessary steps to get there; and having a friend or group to work toward that with you. It creates a level of socialization that makes it fun.
7. Finally, do you have a "mantra"? If so, What is it?!
I think every year my mantra changes. But, this year it's really been "I"m not afraid to try". So, I recently found out that I was pregnant and it was a big surprise and it holds a lot of unknowns with it, but my husband is my coach and we've talked about it so I'm going to keep training as much as I can - in the healthy way that I need to do it. For me, it's that I'm not afraid to try to do what I need to do to get to the Olympic trials. It will be one of my biggest feats yet, but, I'm not afraid to put it out there and give it a shot.
Here is a look at Sarah's Resume... told you it was impressive:
Sarah Brown grew up in Warrenton, VA where she attended Fauquier High School. For her collegiate career, she attended The University of Tennessee where she graduated in 2009 with a degree in Human Resource Management. She also attended graduate school at UT and graduated in 2012 with a Masters in Communications. Today, Sarah trains in Southern California where she is coached by her husband, Darren Brown, who has run a sub 4:00 mile.
Four-Time NCAA Champion
Nine-Time NCAA All-American
2010 Indoor World Championships Team USA Member in 1500m
2013 Outdoor World Championship Team USA Member in 1500m
Leading The Way To Excellent:
In high school ran the fastest high school only girls mile in 4:36.95 / Distance Medley Relay indoor world record holder / Former 4 x 1500 meter world record holder / Former 4 x 800 meter U.S. Record holder / 2008 NCAA Indoor Scholar-Athlete of the Year
*Interview modified very slightly, as needed. Full interview available on Periscope. Photo provided by New Balance.
Thanks again, Sarah! See you on Sunday!