Rusty Branch is the February Athlete of the Month. Rusty’s athletic ability is surpassed only by his humble attitude and generosity in giving back to the sport of running. After only a couple of years as a runner he competed in his first marathon finishing in 2 hours and 59 minutes and only one year later improved his finish time in the marathon to 2 hours and 51 minutes. His greatest accomplishment as a competitive runner, though, is his encouraging spirit in helping others reach their goals. Rusty does all this while effectively balancing a full time career, being a supportive husband to his wife Melanie and father to three young children, and serving as senior pastor of a church.
We asked Rusty a few questions about his running…
Why did you start running?
I started running because a friend (Jeremy Lloyd) told me he had started running and invited me to join him.
How has Running Wild helped you reach your goals?
Running Wild has been essential to me meeting my running goals from getting me into the right shoes, to providing effective running plans, to consistent groups runs that have tested and stretched my running abilities.
What is your favorite thing about training with Running Wild?
My favorite thing about training with Running Wild is that the runs are all planned. You don’t have to worry about routes, water stops and all the other stuff that would be a part of a training run…you simply show up and run.
What is your greatest athletic accomplishment to date and why?
My favorite accomplishment in running to date is a sub 3:00 hour marathon in my first marathon. The two main reason that is my favorite, because it was the first true running goal I set and I was able to meet it. The second is that several people not only doubted I could do it, but told me flat out that there was no way it was going to happen.
What is your favorite running gear and why?
My favorite running gear is my Red Pearl Izumi beanie. It fits well, it’s comfortable, it’s bright and I just like it.
What shoes do you train in and why do you like them?
I train in Brooks Adrenaline GTS. They provide good support, but don’t have the feel of a bulky support shoe.
What is your next athletic goal and how do you plan to reach it?
My next goal is to finish the Boston Marathon in under 3 hours. I plan to reach it by sticking with a Running Wild, tried and true, marathon training plan as developed by Paul Epstein.
Good luck at Boston Rusty. You are a hard worker and we know you’ll represent.