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Meet Coach Brandon: His Story, Running Background, and Coaching Experience

A devastating accident left Brandon, a professional runner, unable to take a single step—but gratitude for life and a love for running helped bring him back to competing for the Olympic standard.

Brandon grew up playing soccer in Texas. His father ran an indoor soccer complex and Brandon spent his days playing multiple games, refereeing games, and running the clock. He got plenty of running in over the course of a game. During his sophomore year, his coach recommended he go out for track to keep in shape. Brandon took eighth at regionals his first year, and he kept running over the summer. 

While Brandon loved soccer, by his next year of high school he was burnt out from the pressure of playing at a higher level. He decided to focus on running, winning the district his first cross-country season and placing 7th at the state track meet in the 2 mile. Brandon was recruited by multiple colleges, but he ended up going to the University of Texas at Austin. 

At UT, Brandon ran with role models like future Olympian Leo Manzano, but he struggled with the heat and humidity. (Years later, Brandon found out this was due to a benign brain tumor.) After two years, he decided to transfer to a school with cooler weather. He had a friend running at Adams State University in Alamosa, Colorado, and Brandon quickly fell in love with the mountains when he visited. He ended up transferring and finished his college eligibility at Adams State. Brandon led the cross country team to a fourth-place national title his senior year, which remains his proudest running moment. 

Brandon initially studied sports nutrition and exercise science at UT, but switched to exercise physiology at Adams State. Post-college, he was recruited to run for Adidas back in his home state, but he was still intolerant of the weather. After a year of battling the Houston heat and humidity, Brandon joined the American Distance Project in Colorado Springs. He also ran with Adidas’s Boulder Running Company team. All the running paid off: in 2013, he ran his debut half-marathon and qualified for the Olympic trials. 

However, a foot surgery altered Brandon’s plans, and he went back Alamosa and Adams State to get his MBA. He volunteered his time with the cross country program and its coach Damon Martin. After finishing his MBA, he and his wife Brittni moved to Santa Barbara. 

Shortly after relocating, Brandon was cycling and got into a terrible accident that left him with 33 broken bones total, including his neck, eight broken vertebrae in his back, a lacerated liver, and a collapsed lung. The accident changed Brandon and Brittni’s outlook on life. They had been researching van life for a couple years, and after the accident they decided to go for it. They built out their own van and lived on the road for three years before returning to Alamosa. In 2019, they launched their own 4x4 Sprinter van business. 

Throughout their time on the road, Brandon coached Brittni to qualify for the 2020 Olympic trials. By then, Brandon had been coaching full-time for three years after meeting Cory and being introduced to Run Your Personal Best while living in Santa Barbara. 

Following his bike accident, Brandon’s personal training has looked different from his collegiate running days. While his doctors originally wanted to amputate Brandon’s foot, he underwent six surgeries and spent 18 months on crutches instead. He was in physical therapy for two years with the goal of being able to run with Brittni again. Slowly, over the years, he’s built up his mileage by cross-training with his bike and focusing on quality efforts. Brandon enjoys tempos, fartleks, and track workouts the most, though after his accident he’s grateful to be able to run at all and has a newfound appreciation for the sport. 

As a coach, Brandon is focused on purposeful training. He realizes what works for one runner may not work for another, and he places a high value on longevity in running. He’s coached distances from 800 meters to 100-mile ultras. Three of Brandon’s athletes have qualified for Olympic trials, and he coached the Irish national record holder for eight- and 24-hour races. Brandon likes to work with runners who are motivated but need help with specificity and recovery, as well as runners who need pushing and accountability. 

Having tested the limits of what’s possible himself, Brandon loves to see regular people do more than they ever thought they could. 

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