BRANDON ROWE '04: CHASING THE OLYMPIC DREAM
"The good runner thinks only of what is in front of him and, stretching his mind toward the finish line and putting his hope of victory in his feet, does not plot against the fellow next to him or even consider his competitors."
â€”Lucian, author and philosopher, 170 A.D.
Brandon Rowe '04 is focused on the long road ahead of him as he counts down to the 2008 Olympic Trials.
As part of his training for the 10,000 meter (about 6 miles), he runs approximately 400 miles a month. He completes what he calls an easy run in the morning of 3-5 miles and an afternoon run of 7-13 miles.
Rowe has wanted to compete in the Olympics since his junior year of high school. It was then that he realized just how much hard work pays off.
“With running, the harder you worked, the better you got,” says Rowe.“You didn't have to be big or tall, you just had to train and you could go as far with running as you wanted, even the Olympics.”
Before coming to Haverford and during his first two years on the track team, Rowe says he became discouraged by bad races.
“I would think that I'm not in good shape and that I needed to train harder to compensate,” says Rowe.“Now I've learned to not let one bad race ruin my confidence.”
In 2002 at Haverford, he won his first conference race, set the meet record for the 10,000 meter, and got a strong provisional qualifier for the national competition.
He credits coach Tom Donnelly as a great source of inspiration.
“Tom will come right out and say that he thinks I can be a national caliber runner,” says Rowe.“One conversation with Tom can keep me motivated for months of training.”
Though it is Donnelly's job to encourage his team, his comments to Rowe are far from empty praise.
“Brandon is a great competitor and I think he can be pretty good,” says Donnelly.“He has the capacity to get to the national level. I don't say something like that lightly.”
According to Donnelly, Rowe would have the best chance of making it to the Olympics if he runs the 10,000 meter in less than 29 minutes. To reach that goal, Rowe must shave two minutes from his personal record in that event.
Rowe embraces the challenge.
“There's a deep sense of satisfaction when you run faster than you ever have before and push yourself further than you have before,” says Rowe.“I think a lot of people don't really get why anybody would want to race a distance event. It's not fun, it's painful, and it's hard, and that's why it's so satisfying.”
Unlike the professional runners who receive sponsorships to assist with training, amateur runners, like Rowe, must find creative ways to balance training and work schedules. Rowe decided to merge his passion for running with his experience as a Web designer.
His Web site, www.pennypermile.com, offers a way for people to fund his Olympic aspirationsâ€”a penny per each mile that he runs in training. It also features a running log with daily mileage totals, training synopsis, profiles of his sponsors, and a message board.
Since the site's launch on Dec. 5, 2005, Rowe has run 668 miles in 64 days, and has received one sponsor.
â€” Amy Steinberg