Name: Russell Brown
Sport/Event: Track & Field / 1500m
DOB: March 6, 1985
Hometown: Hanover, NH
Current Residence: Eugene, OR
Years competing: 17
How did you get started in your sport?
My gym teacher, Mrs. O’Donnell, had a track & field unit in gym class in fifth grade. We had a meet that we all participated in at the end of it. I won some races and got hooked. Mrs. O’Donnell saw a race of mine two summers ago, and it was a really cool moment. I got to thank her for getting me into the sport.
What are some notable highs from your career?
In college [at Stanford], I anchored our winning DMR team at the NCAAs in 2007, and won a Pac-10 title in the 1500m. As a pro, I won the Boston Indoor Games mile last year. I think those have been my biggest moments. I have had better races, but I didn’t win them.
What is the lowest point you’ve experienced? How did you bounce back?
My season ended early and badly in 2008 because of anemia, a common and easily-fixable blood condition. Then I spent my first two years as a pro hurt, racing only a handful of times. Between 2008 and 2010, I was never at my best, and it was really difficult. I still believed I was talented, but I began to wonder if I would ever get to realize that talent. In this sport many do not. I dealt with my injuries systemically rather than one at a time, and worked on all of the things that would help to avoid injuries in the future. It took a long time, but I have not been injured for two years now, and am beginning to reap the benefits of that training.
What are your goals, both short term and long term?
My short-term goal is to make this Olympic team. My long-term goal is to never take the opportunity to do what I am doing for granted. It is the best profession anyone could ask for, and I try to wake up everyday reminding myself how lucky I am to be doing it.
Would 2012 be your first Olympic team? If not, what is your fondest Olympic memory?
This would be the first. If I make it, I’m sure I’ll have a lot of fond memories to look back on.
What surprises have you experienced in your career?
There are rarely surprises in this sport. You know when you are in shape. When you are in shape, you know a good race is imminent. Sometimes, results can be a little more complicated than that, but in my experience, when I put in the work, I get results.
What brought you to Oregon?
I wanted to live in a community of people committed to the same things I am. I am surrounded by teammates with similar goals. I am also surrounded by a community of people that understand and support us during that process. I live in Tracktown USA. There is no better place to be.
What is your favorite thing about Oregon athletically?
I like the respect athletes get. People here know how hard we work, and recognize how meaningful athletic goals are.
When you’re not training or competing, what do you like to do?
I like to read and watch movies mostly. I like going on some of Nick Symmonds’ adventures into the wild, like fishing and crabbing. I like barbecues, which we have a lot of around here. My favorite thing is to visit my family back home. I don’t get to do that too much, so I look forward to it all year.
Hobbies? Favorite restaurant? Favorite hangout?
My only hobby is running. I can’t get enough Indian food, and Taste of India has the best buffet in America. Max’s is a good bar, although I’m getting a little too old for it.
(Editor’s note: Russell and Oregon Track Club Elite teammate (and fellow New Englander) Andrew Wheating have a website, behindthestands.com, where they post humorous videos, often involving their OTC teammates. It is worth checking out.)