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Gotta’ Run: Brayden Self sets good example for young runners

It is always exciting for me when I see a young runner who enjoys the whole aspect of racing. I first met Brayden Self a few years ago. If Rowan has an event, it’s likely that Brayden will be there racing against the seasoned runners, nearly all of them a good bit older than him. It has long been my opinion that to be good at racing, a runner has to race often. Sadly, many high school runners only compete in their school events and are not seen otherwise.

Brayden said, “The first time I started running was in middle school doing hurdles in track. One day, Coach Roseman gave me the “you look like a runner” talk. As a freshman, I did hurdles in track again. I started cross country during my sophomore year and loved it, and every season since then I did distance events. I fell in love with the sport and loved seeing myself improve. You get out what you put in, and each year I kept getting progressively faster and just kept loving the sport even more.”

The abbreviated high school cross country season still was as exciting as usual. Brayden’s East Rowan High School team surprised a few to win the North Piedmont Conference. He said, “My most satisfying moments running so far have to be the county cross country meet and winning the conference championship as a team. I got my PR during the county meet and winning the conference championship was super special because it showed how good we were as a team and how hard we worked all season.”

About competing against the older runners, Brayden said, “I enjoy running against the older runners because I can always learn something from them. I am still just starting to run and usually at every race there is someone who is a lot faster than me. I’ll talk to them after the race or see what they are doing differently and learn from them. After the 5K this past weekend, Dave Shields talked to me about how to improve in the mile and 800. It is always nice learning from the people who have already been through what I am experiencing right now.”

The past two years, Brayden has been training year-round, another key to success. He said, “I will typically take 4-7 days off after a season, whether it is cross country, indoor track or outdoor track to let my body recover. And during the off season, I will steadily increase my mileage and start speed work as the season approaches.

Brayden’s family includes his mom, dad and two brothers. He said, “My brother Cohen runs track and cross country for East as well and I think he can be very fast in the future. Younger brother Thatcher is in sixth grade and he will run track at Erwin when he gets a little bit older, but he loves running as well. Mom Ashlee enjoyed running when she was younger but was never a ‘runner,’ but she always loves to come watch and support me. Dad Jamie ran track in high school but didn’t do long-distance races, he mostly ran the 400 and 800. Uncle Joey also runs. Most of my family has running history which is really cool!”

Brayden plans to continue running. He said, “Until I can no longer do it anymore. I’m attending App State in the fall and looking forward to running recreationally there. I will come back to Salisbury and run the 5Ks here when I can because I have always loved racing. At college, I will up my mileage and start training for a half marathon. After completing a half, then a full marathon will be next.”

I asked Brayden to explain the benefits of running, He said, “I love being physically fit year-round. And the best part about running for me is the people I’ve met and become friends with along the way. Some of my best friends are people I have met or grown closer to due to running.”

The calendar for April includes a prediction run for April 24 and a new date for the Bare Bones 5K, this year moving to May 1. Go to www.salisburyrowanrunners.org for details.

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