I'd like to introduce you to our newest East Nasty of the Week (ENOW), Brian Murray! For those of you who don't know, Brian is a little bit of a before and after story. Let's get to know Brian!
Brian was born in Maryland, but his father was a musician and in radio so they moved a lot. Brian went to high school at DuPont High School here in Nashville, which he says, "A) doesn’t exist anymore; B) is named after a chemical company; and C) was burned down twice in a two month span". He was "100% geek" in high school. Name any geek cliché and Brian guarantees it applied to him: plaid pants, D&D, good grades, and not very good at sports. Brian adds, "I did go to high school with my wife and we did date at the very end of senior year, so I guess that makes us highschool sweethearts. She’s definitely the most valuable thing I got out of high school. Well, that and learning to type."
Brian's first two years of college were at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute in Troy, NY because "I thought MIT was too mainstream". He got a 3.8 his first semester, by semester four he was pulling a 0.8: "We called that the square root club because the square root of the GPA was higher than the actual GPA. Oh, engineers, what a funny bunch." Brian transferred to Georgia Tech and graduated with a BSIE (Industrial Engineering) with high honors.
Brian and his wife moved to Austin, TX right out of college and lived there until 1994. Then they moved back to Nashville since both he and his wife’s families are here. Brian works in information technology (IT) for a large university/medical center here in town. We have two boys: one, age 29, works in Washington D.C. and the other, age 22, is wrapping up his degree at Northeastern University in Boston. "So, yes, I have a child who is probably older than the average East Nasty runner."
I asked Brian when he started running and he said, "You know how people tell you to “listen to your body”? Well mine told me to lay on the couch, so that’s what I did for almost 25 years. I didn’t start any kind of regular running until 2008."
In 2007, Brian agreed to train with his wife to walk a half marathon. Their first walk was two miles and he had to take a break in the middle. They completed the half marathon together on a 91 degree day in October. It took almost 4 hours and he was the last male finisher. They were training for the 2008 CMHM when she fell at work and couldn’t exercise. Brian decided to continue, but quickly discovered that walking 8-10 miles by yourself is boring so he started to work in some running. He’d jog 60 seconds and then walk 5 minutes. He completed the 2008 CMHM in 2:38, cutting 1:20 off his previous time. "I was surprised to learn that I couldn’t count on that kind of improvement every 6 months."
Brian says, "For me, my biggest accomplishment in running is that I ran this morning. If you had said 5.5 years ago that I would be a regular runner, I wouldn’t have believed you. The fact that I’ve kept at it steadily all this time is what I’m most proud of." His legit answer is that he ran a 4:09 PR at the Derby Festival Marathon in Louisville this past April, which was marathon number 8 for him.
Brian's first East Nasty run was in March of 2009. He was training for his first full marathon and looking for a way to put some variety in his training. Chuck Hargrove had posted on the Nashville Striders message board about Wednesday night group runs. What really attracted him was that Chuck said “all paces welcome” . Brian says, "I remember the first run very clearly. It was run #1 (the old version), Chuck was the sweeper and about a mile in he passed me, waved and went on to chat up some young ladies. I’d never been in East Nashville before, didn’t know the route and became hopelessly lost. From that point I made sure to write-up a cue sheet each week. Before long, several of my co-workers were running on Wednesdays, too so it was easy to keep coming back even after the marathon was over."
When asked what he enjoys most about East Nasty, Brian says, "I know everyone else says the people, the camaraderie, etc. While all of that is true, for me my favorite part is still the running. I run harder on Wednesdays and have more fun doing it than I do any other day of the week. I love being in a crowd of like-minded people and just getting into the flow. And the beer."
Brian's had a lot of memorable East Nasty experiences: the time he and a bunch of East Nasties got trapped in the brewery by a thunderstorm after the inaugural Yazoo Beer Run; the time he got carried out of Percy Warner in an ambulance and more than a dozen Nasties stopped to check on him. But without a doubt, he says, "the most memorable experience was being a part of the wedding of Greg Kyle and Erica (Tober) Kyle. That evening was a distillation of what East Nasty is (minus the running). A community of people, gathered in love and friendship, to celebrate their own."
Speaking of Greg Kyle. Here is what Greg had to say about Brian:
"Brian and I started our running careers back in 2008 with the Country Music Half Marathon. We work together at Vanderbilt and decided to start checking out this “East Nasty” thing. Since then, we have traveled together to Chicago, Memphis (x 2), New Orleans (x 2), and Las Vegas for races. Oh wait, the Las Vegas trip was my bachelor party and a different type of endurance activity. Brian is just a great friend with whom you can always have a good conversation."
One last thing to know about Brian is that he's part of the PR Bandits group within East Nasty. Brian Freeman, fellow Bandit, had this to say about Brian:
"I started running with East Nasty in 2009 because Brian Murray and Greg Kyle invited me to join them on runs. Luckily I was FAST ENOUGH to keep up with Brian on many of those early runs. He was kind of a mentor and motivator for me early on and I did what I could to keep up with him. I saw Brian run all these half/full marathons, so it motivated me to sign up for my first half marathon (Memphis St. Jude) in 2010. Now here I am, 8 half marathons and 1 full marathon later , a product of Brian's dedication to running that most definitely rubbed off on me. So I would like to say "THANKS" to Brian Murray for helping me become the runner that I am today. Also, Brian is known for his epic pre-run route description posts on the PR Bandits Facebook page. Pretty funny stuff. Here's an example: https://www.facebook.com/groups/running.off.leash/permalink/399089990208830/
Brian, you're an inspiration and this post is well deserved. Congratulations and welcome to the ENOW club!