Brian Sell - US 25k Champ
Brian Sell - US 25k Champ
Rochester Hills, MI
Brian Sell busted out onto the scene nearly two years ago with his runner up finish in the U.S. 20k championships in New Haven. Shortly thereafter, Brian made it clear he wanted more by taking the lead for more than half the race at the U.S. Marathon Olympic Trials. Brian suffered a hard finish to that race but bounced back with solid performances since, including a 2:13 marathon that qualified him to run on the U.S. World Championship Marathon team in Helsinki, Finland this August. Read more to see how Brian feels about his running and chances at the World Champs this summer.
RunMichigan: Brian, congratulations on your 25k US Championship. How did you feel about your race and did it go as planned?
BS: Thank you, it went well as far as the US Championship was concerned, but I would have liked to have been a bit more competitive with the Kenyans in the field. The plan was to run 4:50’s, we went out in 4:41, 4:40, 4:42 and at that point I backed off a bit and let them go. Finishing that close to the Kenyan in third made me think, “What if I had gone with them even just one more mile?” But as Mike Franko would say, “If ifs and buts were candy and nuts, it would be Christmas everyday.”
RunMichigan: Looking back over the past year or so, can you believe what you have accomplished? I remember you telling me that you thought you were done right after the marathon trials. Are you glad that you stuck around to see all this?
BS: I am for sure, but I want to keep my head on straight and not get too comfortable. The minute you think you’re big time, some young buck like yourself last year or one of the new guys like Moen or Gaudette will come out and take you down a peg.
RunMichigan: Do you feel that you would be able to be as successful as you are training on your own? How much do you owe your success to the group training that you have been part of for more than 3 years at Hanson’s?
BS: No, I owe every PR I have hit and every penny I made to the team. When I go home for Christmas or Easter, I generally run the low end of things and workouts are usually slower than prescribed pace. There’s nothing like being out at Stoney Creek rolling through 4:50 miles and having two or three other guys right there sweating it out with you. Again, the team keeps me motivated and honest.
RunMichigan: You will now be getting ready for the World Championships marathon with two of your Hanson/Brooks teammates. What is it like to be getting ready for such a big race and knowing that you will have two other teammates to toe the line with you?
BS: It will be great to get out there every day with Trent and Clint (and the other guys) and “get ‘er done”. We have a long way to go as of this weekend, but we also have two months to get in shape and most importantly we have a good group to work with.
RunMichigan: Have you guys already talked to your coaches about racing strategies and possible race plans for the world champs marathon?
BS: I think we have a definite goal in mind, but we haven’t discussed race strategy too much. A lot of it will depend on how training goes this segment and how we look one or two weeks out. I think all three of us would like to be in the top 25 and put the US team up there place-wise as well.
RunMichigan: What would be the bare minimum result that would happen for you to be able to walk away from that race satisfied and content and why?
BS: I think top 25 would be bare minimum. I am 27 years old now, and I want to see a certain progression in my running as I age, otherwise I feel like I am wasting Kevin and Keith’s time and money. So top 25 would be sort of the line that would determine what the future holds.
RunMichigan: Do you feel any pressure from various outside sources to perform? In a sense, do running websites, family, or friends make you any more nervous when a big race is coming up?
BS: Not really anymore. My family has been super-supportive in all that I do. I love going home for holidays because my family acts like I’m some kind of celebrity. I look up to all my relatives so much, because they have made me what I am today. I’m still a redneck from the cove that likes to run. My friends here and at home have been great too. I don’t think I would have too much of a friendship with someone who just likes me because I do well at this race or run that time. As far as running websites go, if I want to know what some 18 minute 5k guy thinks about the state of things I’ll ask my wife.
RunMichigan: Plenty of people would like to be where you are at running wise. What would you say to them is your key to success and why do you feel that way?
BS: I think just working hard and trying to stay injury free is key. I have seen a lot of guys on our team even, that could/would kick my butt in a race, but they will get injured and never get to prove it. It’s a delicate balance and I have been lucky to avoid major injuries up to this point. I think my never being satisfied with where I’m at helps, too. I really want to compete with the top guys out there, and while I may never win an Olympic gold medal, I hope people look back and say he sure did try. We have guys over there in Iraq risking their lives everyday, so the least I can do is put in an honest effort. Thanks for the great interview! (Interview conducted by Nick Cordes)