Grounded Running Featured Runner of the Week
Every runner deserves to be featured here! All have their unique attributes and stories. The aim of having a Featured Runner of the Week is not to necessarily single out any individuals but we want to feature runners who through their uniqueness may one day inspire you to run or reach for new running highs. Every runner has broken their own barriers, whether it was the first big obstacle to take the first running step or entering a race. Each runner will have their own story and to most these stories to others are very inspiring.
We welcome your feedback and nominations of runners who you feel deserve to be featured here. Our Featured Runner of the Week is selected at random. Every runner deserves to be mentioned and we will do our best to select a wide field of runners to bring their stories for you to enjoy.
This week we feature another amazing local runner that can be found running and racing all over the South East and continues to find himself on the podium and sometimes in costume! This week, let’s take a few minutes and get to know Bren Tompkins:
Bren Tompkins – Featured Runner of the Week
Name: Bren Tompkins
Where are you originally from? Savannah, Ga Eastsiddddde!!!
What is your favorite distance to race? Why? I like all distances. 5K to 24hrs. My favorite distance is a tie really. I like 50ks and 50 milers. Both I feel I can really push myself and not be walking funny for a week afterwards. When it really starts hurting, it’s over for these distances. Of course a 50 miler is a whole other level, but still the strategy I use for both is basically the same. Run until I die and then run some more. Kidding!! Marathons and halfs it’s more like a controlled bonfire and lots of willpower (to me), that’s why I say they’re so difficult. They hurt in your soul. Then 5k and 10k is more of an all out sprint. Lungs are melted and all you have is a bag of water to breath out of. 24Hrs and 100 milers you run with your heart.
In my mind I think I have a better grasp on 50k\50 milers than on some of the others I race because I feel more at home with them for some reason. Not entirely sure, they’re just what I like. Figures crossed I can find that with the other distances too.
What originally got you into running? I played a lot of sports as a teen; nothing on a team really, but in my free time I was playing baseball or basketball. Eventually I stopped and grew up. Got lazy except for work. I worked construction for 14 years and that’s where I injured my back. In October 2010 I could not physically walk the whole month. I could crawl and that’s about it. I was diagnosed with degenerative spine disease. I felt like my body was rejecting me; I had just quit smoking almost 3 packs a day in May of that year and now my back was done with how I’d been treating it. The Dr. told me after I’d recovered some that I could never run or climb again. I was already climbing at work and I needed to lose weight.
Maybe I took it as a dare or maybe seeing all the people in my neighborhood run everyday inspired me. Either way, I decided I wanted to start to lose some of the extra weight I’d gained since quitting smoking, so running it was gonna be. A great side effect from running – my back feels better after, so I was hooked. I remember driving to Daffin Park, which is less than a mile from my house, and then doing one loop. It’s a 1.5 mile loop, I’d run as far as I could, then walk, and then run more if I could until I finished it. Everyday I’d try to go a little further. Then I’d drive home feeling accomplished having worked all day and then ran. I did that for a year or so and started racing some, met people that introduced me to ultrarunning, and haven’t looked back. I have gone from a smoker to someone that has ran Boston and 100 miles in one day. Still blows my mind.
Running really has changed my life. If you ever talk to me at an ultra, particularly after – I’m sure I’ll tell ya while crying. I get emotional running long.
What is your main motivation to keep going? The feeling of not thinking you can do something and you do it anyway. There’s no greater feeling to me. Also just the people in the ultra and running community keep me going.
When you’re not running, what do you do? I work in IT now fixing computers all day. I’ve been doing it for about 4 years now and I’m glad I made the career switch. Electronics are my passion besides running; I just like nerdy stuff! I’m also usually making nerdy stuff at home. I always have some project going it seems like. I enjoy cosplay at Comic Cons/etc. and sometimes that crosses-over into running.
What is your next race? The Flatlanders Canyon Crash Trail Run 50k in the little Grand Canyon of Georgia (Providence Canyon State Park) tomorrow and then Fort Clinch 100 March 25th Fernandina Beach Florida.
Describe your perfect run: When you can run and everything disappears. Everything fades away and you just run. Hours feel like minutes.
What piece of advice do you have for someone who is just starting out?
- Be patient.
- Be consistent.
- Listen to your body.
- Do not compare your progress to others progress.
- Celebrate small victories, but not too much.
- Always celebrate the big victories. (still not too much)
- Cross-train/ Strengthen your hips, legs and core.
- Find what works for you. What allows you to improve and not get hurt.
- Most important, have fun!
Goals for this year? I’m hoping to complete a few 100 milers/24hrs this year. I’ve had some setbacks from my back and other things, but I’m hoping that I’m ready to do my best in those distances this year. I’ll be happy if I can race my best regardless in any distance and just have fun – that’s what it’s all about!
Bren is a Brand Ambassador for the Carson Footwear Team. Since 2013, Carson Footwear has made minimally-designed, lightweight (9.5 oz) running shoes in the USA. Carson Footwear shoes are built with a zero-drop, 10mm, polyurethane midsole/outsole with a light, flexible upper, finished them off with a 5mm sockliner for ultimate comfort and added protection. All of their shoes are made to order by hand, with love, in beautiful Milwaukie, Oregon. We are thrilled to be one of two retail locations that stock Carson’s at Grounded Running Beaufort.
Thank you for taking the time to tell us your story Bren, you continue to inspire those around you and you should be proud of all your accomplishments! Keep up the great work and we wish you the best of luck this year! #staygrounded #runbeaufort