Member: Alec Brand
Name: Alec Brand
Hometown: Doylestown, PA
High School: Central Bucks East
College: Shippensburg University
Occupation: Pharmaceutical Sales Representative
By: Kevin Brandon (12/07/17)
Alec, thanks for taking time to speak with us. Could you tell us a bit about yourself? How did you end up in Philadelphia and running with PRTC?
Well, I grew up in Doylestown, a Philadelphia suburb, and picked up running when I was a freshman in high school once I realized that I was mediocre at best at basketball and mostly warmed up the bench. As a triplet in a family with zero athletic prowess, my parents were shocked when I began seeing mild success in the sport of running. Though they never really understood how I could lose a race with advice like “I think you should try to run faster at the end”, they were always supportive. Being close to my family and receiving a job offer in Philadelphia after college, I was stoked to call the City of Brotherly Love home.
When did you first become a runner? Did a specific event compel you to take on the sport?
My freshman year of high school one of my basketball buddies informed me he was running a local charity 5k over the weekend and asked if I wanted to join him. I blindly accepted even though I later found out he only asked me because his parents told him he needed to find a ride. I showed up to the starting line in tattered Nike Hyperdunk hightops and ran my heart out. Though I ran what would later become my recovery run pace, I won my age group and won a free apple pie. If that doesn’t hook you on to a sport I don’t know what will.
Once you began running, how did your career develop? Take us through day one to today.
After that charity 5k, I joined the indoor track team that winter. After a few jogs to the park playing wallball with some of my friends, I decided to take things more seriously before my first race. When I lined up to run the mile that first time I ran a 4:55 and my coach’s jaw dropped. Once I realized I may have some promise I started doing everything I could to get better by reading literature on what makes an individual faster. By the next spring, I had dropped my mile time down to 4:30 and began setting incremental goals with the ultimate goal of earning a scholarship to college. Once I signed on the dotted line to Shippensburg, I was elated to see my hard work come to fruition.
What was it like running at Shippensburg under Coach (and Olympian) Steve Spence?
It was a joy and a privilege running under Coach Spence. I have a lot of friends who ran in college in various programs, and I can’t say confidently than any of them had as positive of an experience as myself and my teammates at Ship. Coach Spence operated under the most relaxed mentality and really allowed us to do what worked best for us as individuals while still fostering a strong team environment. His willingness to meet us where we were made me and my teammates gain an immense amount of respect for him, and on race day nobody would want to let him down. It also was always in the back of my mind that if I didn’t do what I was supposed to he would hammer me into the ground on a distance run. I swear that man is ageless, he’s still ripped.
Can you tell us about a favorite running accomplishment or moment?
It was the 2016 Colonial Relays down in Williamsburg, VA and I was running the 10k. I was just trying to hit my conference qualifier, but seeing as my 21st birthday was two days prior I wasn’t feeling the most prepared mentally or physically. I gutted out 24 laps and when the bell rung, I needed a 63 to hit the mark. With each step I gained momentum, and my whole team was going nuts despite the fact that I was nowhere close to winning the race. When I finished, I looked up at the clock and saw I had missed the qualifier by .03 seconds. I began arguing with officials claiming there were too many people on the track and that had to count for something. I couldn’t help but smile when all of my coaches and teammates hugged me cracking up at such an unfortunate occurrence brings people together quite like a bit of failure.
How about a not-so-great moment?
Regarding your running future, what are your near and long-term goals?
I just completed my first half-marathon and I’d like to take a crack at a marathon sometime soon. I think with some consistent training, I could run between 2:38 – 2:40 next fall.
You’re in Philly as a working professional. Can you tell us about your day job?
I’m a pharmaceutical sales rep so my office is essentially my car. I work closely with many of the area doctors to provide education on my products and see if they have patients that fit the disease states those products are indicated for. Philadelphia is such a great place to work in the healthcare industry, and I feel very fortunate to have the opportunity to work here.
As a relative newcomer to Philly, have you found a favorite bar, restaurant, or other establishments?
I have too many places that I frequent to even begin to list them. This question is making me evaluate my spending habits, and they are slightly concerning.
Any non-running related hobbies, hidden skills or talents we may enjoy hearing about?
I’ve been told that I’m an incredible chef. Signature dishes include Annie’s Mac and Cheese and nachos.