Brad Brown of Clive was once quite a runner.
“I still hold the East High record in the mile,” says Brown. “I think I still hold the high school record for the indoor mile on the Drake indoor track, too.”
Brown’s record, a 4:16, at East High earned him a scholarship on the track team at the University of Iowa, where his specialty was the mile, but he also ran the 1,000 and 800-meter dash.
“I tried to run cross country my first year at Iowa,” he says. “I didn’t need to, as my scholarship was in track, but I thought it would be good for me. It actually did more harm than good, though, as I messed up a tendon in my foot that fall and missed my freshmen year in track.”
His foot healed. He decided against cross country the following fall and was able to compete on the track his sophomore year.
“I ran a 4:09 in college, and I still have the old spikes that I wore,” says Brown. “I just can’t get rid of them. The school gave us spikes to wear, and I had several pairs, but I found these and bought them. I just liked how they felt and looked. They were pretty cool — bright blue with bright green Adidas stripes on the side. They made me feel fast.”
While Brown continued to run while at Iowa, it began to feel like a job.
“I got pretty burnt out of running,” he says. “I ran a little bit after college, but mostly picked up basketball. It was there that I tore my ACL, and now I’m missing half the cartilage in my left knee.”
After several surgeries, he is now able to run, but chooses to ride his bike to stay in shape instead.
“I just love to ride my bike. I’ve made some great friends, and it’s easy on my knees. No pounding,” says Brown. “I enjoy doing RAGBRAI as much as I can, but I don’t get into the competitive nature of the bike.”
Brown has channelled his competitive nature into his work as a financial advisor with Principal.
“I still have the same competitive drive that I had in high school and college,” he says. “But I just use it to build my business now.”
Though he does not run like he did before the surgeries, he was able to run a 5K several years ago, wanting to finish in 21 minutes.
“I just made my goal, so I haven’t run since,” he says. “My knees just don’t need the pounding.”
He will, however, continue to keep those old Adidas track spikes as a reminder of the days when he could challenge the best in the state on a quarter-mile-long oval.