Name: Kevin Brandon
Hometown: Lewisberry, PA
High School: Red Land
College: University of Hartford
Personal Bests: 800m – 1:56.4; 1500m – 4:00.36; 5k – 14:49; 10 mile – 51:02
Career Highlights: Broad Street 2015 – 10th Place; Hartford Corporate 5k 2013 – 1st; 1500m Record Holder – University of Hartford (2012)
Running Goals: 1500m – Sub 4:00; Mile – Sub 4:15; 5k – Sub 14:35; 10 mile- Sub 51:00
Interview by: Jessica Fragola
So, tell us a little about yourself. How did you first get into running? When did you get serious about running?
I’ve been a runner for most of my life. My first “serious” athletic experience was soccer. I was mediocre at best, but always won playing time as a midfielder. Running the length of the field came naturally to me. Unfortunately, my coordination skills never really caught up to my endurance abilities. I ended up winning my school mile in 6th grade. After that, I began to consider running as a replacement sport. My Dad ran in college (and after) and racing suddenly seemed fun. I signed up for middle school cross country the next year. We were coached with the high school team and I fell in love with the sport immediately. We goofed off plenty, but I always took training (and competing!) seriously.
What are your running goals and aspirations now and in the long term?
I’m currently working to improve my 5k time. I’d also like to break 4 minutes in the 1500. I have a few “reach” goals in distances from the 5k to half-marathon along with bucket list races. For the fall, I really enjoyed racing cross country with PRTC last year. I’m hoping to put myself in a position to contribute at USATF Club XC Nationals again. Lastly, I suppose I’ll take on a marathon at some point.
Long-term, I aim to run happy and healthy. My college cross country coach (Kathy Manizza) is a big advocate of life-long fitness. She appropriately trained us to avoid injury and burn-out. I’m thankful for that and still enjoy racing to better my times. Eventually, I’ll have a tougher time achieving PR’s. I’m not looking forward to that day, but am aiming to stay active for most of my life.
How have you evolved as a runner over the years? What has changed, what lessons have you learned, and how do you view running differently as an adult rather than as a college athlete?
I’ve learned quite a bit over 13 years of running. The biggest changes I’ve noticed are improved physical maturity and experience. Things like how I best train and compete. When I was younger, I followed a relatively low-mileage training plan. Today, I feel better equipped to manage higher mileage. Hitting a certain pace and applying race tactics comes second nature now. It’s fun step onto a starting line and feel like a “veteran”. On the flip side, I feel less of that exciting nervous/anxious emotion that comes right before the starting gun is fired.
What is/are your favorite events? And do you have a favorite workout you’d share?
My favorite race is the mile. It’s a classic distance and always exciting to watch or run. I also favor certain cross country courses and large road races like Broad Street.
My favorite workout has changed over time. In high school, repeat miles were fun. In college, I enjoyed long runs exploring various places in Connecticut. Here in Philly, Tuesday night workouts at Franklin Field (when the weather is nice) are my favorite.
Any particular moments in which you experienced a breakthrough in your running? If so, what do you attribute it to?
I’ve had a few breakthroughs over my running career. As a senior in high school, I managed to crack 4:30 in the mile and 2 minutes in the 800. In college, my best race was a DMR Relay in which I ran 4:16 in the mile and later a 1500 meter race where I ran 4 flat. I also consider last year’s Broad Street Run a breakthrough along with some success in the 5k in 2015. The theme between all of these races has been strong team support and a solid training base.
Can you recount any particularly memorable races or moments in running for us?
My favorite moments in running center around the friends I’ve made through the sport. I’ve been fortunate to have great coaches and teammates throughout my career. I’m awful at training by myself, so while I run to compete, I enjoy the comradery that develops among teammates and training partners just as much as actually racing.
And finally, what are you doing when you aren’t running around the streets of Philadelphia?
Aside from running, I like exploring Philly on my bike, spending time with my girlfriend (Aliah) and writing.
I grew up skiing, but haven’t had many chances to get out since I moved to Philly. I work for an insurance company and find my job to be pretty interesting most days. I studied politics in college and still keep up with current events, so I’m always up for a conversation or debate. Lastly, I like learning and having new experiences.