GETTING TO KNOW......Terry BRAHM

11/30/2015
 
Terry Brahm is a Hoosier through-and-through.  He grew up in St. Meinrad (population 600) a small farming community nestled between Evansville and Louisville (Ky.) in southern Indiana.  In 1980, as a high school junior at Heritage Hills High School he placed second at the Indiana state championships in the 1600m running 4:12.9 and the following year improved to 4:11.14.  In 1981 he enrolled at Indiana University where he majored in special education and was guided by the legendary hall of fame coach Sam Bell.  At IU he developed into one of the most dominate runners in the Big Ten Conference; winning five conference titles, earning six all-American honors, and winning the 1986 NCAA 5000m title in Indianapolis. His 3:54.56 was the Big Ten 1 mile record for 29 years (since eclipse by Andy Bayer in 2013). In 1984 and 1985 he was named the Athlete of the Championships at the Big Ten Indoor Championships after claiming the 1 mile / 2 mile double each year.  As a Junior he competed in the 1500m at the 1984 Olympic Trials in Los Angeles.  Post-collegiately, Brahm remained in Bloomington where Coach Bell continued to mold him into a world class athlete.  At the 1987 World Indoor Championships (held in Indianapolis) he won the bronze medal in the 3000m.  The following year he finished second in the 5000m at the Olympic Trials, also held in Indianapolis, to secure a spot on the ’88 Olympic Team.  In 
South Korea he finished 30th.  In 1991 he won the 3000m at the USA Indoor Championships.  He retired from competitive running in 1992 and now resides in Indianapolis.  He has taught at Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center for 26 years and has severed in various coaching capacities during that time.  His wife Nina (nee Lux) was the 1983 Indiana state high school 1600m champion and competed for Indiana University.  His son Luke is a senior at Princeton University and a member of the track team and his daughter Connie is Freshman at IU and is a member of the crew team.  The family runs Brahms Running Camp each summer in Lincoln City, Indiana.  In September Brahm was elected to serve on the USATF board of directors.

So let’s get to know Mr. Hoosier beyond just the titles and accolades.
 
What are you doing these days in terms of your job? 
I am a special education teacher at Ben Davis Ninth Grade Center. I team teach in an Algebra class and a Biology class. I work with a variety of students who have an IEP. I also serve as the Dept chair for the Special ed dept at the Ninth Grade Center. I have taught for 26 years.
 
Track or Cross Country? 
Without a doubt - Track! (editors note: Brahm finished 20th at the 1984 NCAA Cross Country Championships)
 
Favorite Food? 
Bananas, it's the world's most perfect food!!!
 
Favorite Band? 
3 way tie - Paul Simon, U2, Johnny Cash
 
Favorite author: 
Jonathon Franzen. Love his books. He appears to have a strong personality, but is great writer. 
 
Favorite book: 
Viktor Frankl's "Man's Search For Meaning". It's the only book besides, "Go Dog, Go." that I have read 6 times.
 
Favorite Movie
This is Spinal Tap
 
Favorite Competitor: 
Tim Hacker from Wisconsin was someone I always respected and admired. Tim ran at a high level from his freshman year at Wisconsin until he retired. We were in the same graduating class. I knew if I could compete with him that I would be in a good place. He always beat me in cross country, I beat him in indoors and he usually got the better of me outdoors.  Tim and I got to know each other at NCAA meets. If you were from the Big Ten and made it to Nationals we hung out because we knew each other from the Big Tens etc... He had a tremendous range  from the 1500 to 10k. Guys like Tim Hacker made the experience of running in the Big Tens and NCAAs in the 80's highly competitive  and a much richer experience. With out Tim at Wisconsin I might have won a few more Big Ten titles, but with him it was a much more meaningful experience. 
 
If you could have lunch with a person you have never met, who would it be?
I never met my Grandpa Brahm, he passed away 10 years before I was born. I think that would be interesting to gain some insight and perspective.
 
How about dinner?
I would say Vicktor Frankl. If you see some clips of him teaching on you-tube you see a man that is full of life and ideas to help to live that life. 
 
What were your high school bests for each year:
Freshmen -  59 for 400m (longest race that year)
Sophomore -  4:23 1600m
Junior - 4:12.9 1600m
Senior - 4:11.14 1600m, 1:56 800m, 9:23 3200m, ran 14:57 for 5 k Cross Country, 3rd at State Meet, only year I ran Cross in HS
 
When did you first realize you might have some talent and a future in the sport? 
After my Junior year I was 2nd in the 1600m at the state meet and my coach (Greg Hale) and I started to have conversation about running in college. This allowed me to look to the next 5 years or so. The last two years of college I began to compete at the National level. I ran 3:54 for a Mile as a 21 year old, so Coach Bell and I had discussions about what it would take to get to the next level. After graduating from IU and ran for Athletics West, a club sponsored by Nike. 
 
Tell us what it was like to run for Coach Bell? 
The first thing about Coach Bell was that he was passionate about Track & Field. He created the culture at IU that challenged all of us to reach our potential. Certainly he had expectations for each athlete, and he would communicate those clearly to each of us. If he thought I could win the mile / 2 mile double at Big Tens, he would tell me, "Terry, we are counting on 20 points from you at Big Tens" It wasn't something that was up for debate. What would come before that was the confidence he built into the workouts and program so that by the time he thought you could win a Big Ten title, he had you physically and mentally in a place where it was logical so that when he said he was counted on 20 points, my response was, "Yeah that make sense." We had ample opportunities to test those abilities in practice. We learned to race fast by running fast in practice and by being put in competitive situations that would test us. Once you went through that process for some months/years you were ready to roll. The other thing about Coach Bell is that while he had great expectations he was also very compassionate. He was always your greatest ally when things did not go well and would start the process of rebuilding confidence. By far he was the best teacher I had while I was at IU, and I had some great professors.

Best training partner? 
There were many great people to train with at IU. Bob Kennedy was a great training partner: he was wise beyond his years, he understood the overall plan of work outs, He went to the well when it was time and he recovered on easy days. He was very calm and had very high expectations for himself. When you did a work out with Bob you knew he was good for the entire work out. If the work out required 6 x 1k, you knew he would hit the same time for the 6th one as he would hit on the 1st. 
 
Worst training partner: 
Any one that would over run the easy days and then not be able to do the workout on a hard day. We called these guys the "Easy Day Kings.”
 
What were your expectations/goals going into the ’88 Olympic Trials? 
The goal for '88 was to make the Olympic Team at 5000m. I had made the trials in '84 in the 1500, did not come anywhere near making the team that time. Over the next 4 years Coach Bell and I kept the 5000m in mind and prepared accordingly. More tempo training, more repeat 1000m, more strength, but kept the speed. 
 
What were the top three memories from your running career? 
Interestingly all three are from events held in Indianapolis
- 1986 NCAA Championships 5000m (1st place)
- 1987 World Indoor Championships 3000m (3rd place)
- 1988 Olympic Trails 5000m (2nd place)
 
 
Tell us about Brahms' Running Camp
Brahms' Running Camp was started in 1998 as a partnership between my wife, Nina and I. The idea of a camp was hers. She had to do some convincing to get me on board. Her main idea was to have a camp in Southern Indiana that gave an opportunity for high school runners to experience a high quality camp at an affordable price. In our 18 years of operation, we have stuck to that idea. The camp is more a reflection of our campers and staff as it is of Nina and I. We try to create a culture that is conducive for development and growth for the campers at multiple levels: mentally, socially and physically. The coolest thing about camp is the realization that if you provide the environment, young people really pick up the theme and go with it well beyond the limits we thought possible. Our original idea was to give something back to our sport. While I think we have done that, it is humbling each Summer that Nina and I benefit from camp in terms of growth as much as the cam pers. 
 
We understand that the IUPUI campus is a special place for you and your family.  Can you elaborate?  
It is a special place for us. It started in 1983 when my wife Nina Lux Brahm won the 1600 State Championship on the IUPUI Track. In 1986 I won the NCAA 5000m championships and then in 1988 I made the Olympic team on that track. Later both of our children were born at IU Hospital, which is part of the IUPUI Campus. I got my Masters there in 1993.
 
You were recently elected to serve on the USATF Indiana Board.  What made you decide to run? 
I wanted to be a part of USATF Indiana to give back to the sport in a small way. Track & Field remains one of the great opportunities for young people to get involved in. It has something for everyone. Indiana is a great state for Track & Field. 

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