A couple years ago, I met Bruckner Chase under the most ordinary of circumstances. I was taking a quiet stroll on a beach in Monterey and he was out for a little swim. OK, that’s not entirely correct. Actually, I was elbow-to-elbow in a crowded press pool covering a national story of Bruckner completing a 14-hour, 28-mile open ocean swim, from Santa Cruz to Monterey Bay. Since then, I have enjoyed a long distance friendship with this uber athlete. (Note the small print in the picture above: finish line at the “Mountain Masochist 50-miler”)
1. Every runner has a “WHY.” Why did you start running? As a high school Junior, I headed to Australia for a year as an exchange student. As luck would have it, my host father was a marathon runner, training for the upcoming Melbourne Big M Marathon. Since I had already left everything I knew about myself on the other side of the world, I jumped at the chance to run the first few miles with him knowing that I would drop out after a few miles. The lucky few get to point to those epiphany moments in their lives, and the 8-mile mark of that run was mine. Almost five hours later, I staggered across that finish line at the age of 16, accomplishing something that I believed to the core of my young soul was only for others. From that day on, no finish line was too daunting or too far away to keep me from starting.
2. What pushes you to keep going? An acknowledgement that there is a world out there in which I don’t know what I don’t know, and a recognition that pursuing the unknown, the unpredictable, and the extreme has had a positive impact on every part of my life.
3. What is your running/fitness routine for a typical week? It varies with the season, but I’ll give you the 30,000 ft. view. In the winter, I swim 25,000 meters, run 10 miles, paddle or surfski 15 miles, and practice Yoga for three hours. During the summer, I swim 50,000 meters, run 15-20 miles, paddle or surfski 30 miles and practice Yoga for two hours.
4. What is your favorite distance to run? Why? These days, it’s three to 4 miles barefoot along the beach, because it’s just enough time to reconnect to the earth and myself.
5. Best running memory? I have two. First, escorting my brother-in-law in his first marathon in 1999, and then escorting my sister in her first half-marathon in 2002.
6. Trail, track or road? TRAIL!
7. Craziest thing that has happened to you on a run? My first experience at running 100 miles and watching the sun come up…twice. It was a week before I could remember what day it was. I just seemed to have lost one in the woods of Vermont.
8. Do you race for the medals or the memories? Memories.
9. What is your worst running moment? Finishing the Bull Run 50-Miler in June, in Virginia. I knew I was in bad shape, so I started walking over towards the medical crew. When I came to, I had I.V.’s in each arm and an oxygen mask as they calmly told me I was on my way to the hospital after blacking out.
10. Give your younger self some advice about running. Nothing! The discovery of new limits and a new self-perception was the best part.
How do you connect with other runners or runner communities? Just through local clubs, on the running trail and in the stores. My favorites in Santa Cruz are: Nissene Marks, DeLaveaga, and Fleet Feet, Aptos.
Do you have a website or blog? www.brucknerchase.com
Editor's note: Photo, courtesy Bruckner Chase