One great thing about being human is that we all have our own stories. What dives us to be the people we turn out to be is different for each and every person. I have my own story, there will definitely be similarities in many of our lives. However, in my opinion it is important to keep in mind is that we are all driven by something, whether it is a memory, the sunshine, or your internal desire, there is a reason we do what we do.
I have talked a lot about Seth on my blog/website, and he has asked if he could introduce himself and give you all a little glimpse of how he has been shaped into the runner he is today.
Hello Everyone, I am Seth Brown. I am from a very small town, LaPlata, in Northeast Missouri. This town is not exactly the runner’s running capitol of the world, but it is where I call home.
It all started when my father, Kurt Brown met my Mom. Of course like every love story, they fell in love and started a family. I was their first born and a year or so later my brother, Jace was born. I also have a half brother, Zack, who my dad had before he met my mom. The four of us were a very happy family.
My dad was a very hard worker. Everyone who has ever met him raves to this day about his work ethic. He constructed bridges and worked constantly. He never left a job unfinished. He loved what he did. Aside from work he was an avid pilot. He owned his own plane. There was even a mowed runway built at the house where he could land the plane. He loved to fly and so do many of my family members.
In early July of 2000 dad got a job that required long drives. To make life easier he decided he would fly to work. However, on one particular flight, his plane crashed. Between the impact, the explosion, or any other injury sustained in the wreck, both passengers on the plane were killed. The worst part was not knowing any of the answers. All evidence and people were burnt so there was no way of figuring out what went wrong. At the time of the crash Zack was eleven, I was four, and Jace was three. This tragedy was unexpected leaving us lost and confused. Mom wasn’t sure how she could support all of us.
The first couple of years after the crash were rough but we managed to make it. Mom often talks about how different things would be if dad were still alive. Mom mentions how he was a very stern man and was raised to always work hard. If you put in the work the outcome would leave you with everything you needed in order to live a happy and successful life. He would have had us working from a young age, like most of the people in this neck of the woods. My brothers and I did thinks a little differently. Instead of work, we traveled around and play lots of sports. I know that if my Dad was still around I would not be running as much as I do today. Instead of a life of running, I would be working on cars, building constructions, or helping my dad work.
I definitely don’t see his death as a blessing, but as a hidden opportunity. My mom exposed us to several sports after my Dads crash. She wanted us to find something to devote our time to other than working, since we’d be working for the rest of our adult lives. We started playing baseball, basketball, soccer, and swimming; really just anything we said looked fun
After a while I was exposed to running. Running was different. It is different. I do not get the same feeling participating in other sports as I do when I run. I truly love the sport, the atmosphere, the people, and the lifestyle. I look back and think I may not have been blessed with the opportunity to run without the devastation of loosing someone so close. If I had the choice between running or getting my dad back, there is no doubt I would want my dad back, but I would have a void in my life. Unfortunately there is no bringing him back, so I do see it as a hidden opportunity and I realize it did happen for a reason. I would not be where I am today if the tragedy did not take place.
As time has passed I have grown more comfortable talking about dad’s wreck. I have realized that I can’t look at it as a set back but as motivation. Zack, my oldest brother, always told me that growing up without a dad was not the worst thing that could happen. There are many people out there you can look to as a father figure. In my life there are a few I look to for advice and knowledge. Zack has always been one of those people. He’s been with me from the start. He has taught me to never feel bad for myself and to always have a positive outlook on life. No matter what happens.
His advice has been a true blessing over the last few years. I have really developed my running career. I have been fortunate enough to be semi successful. My motivation during most races comes from my dad. I have wanted to make him proud and to use the same work ethic he always used. It is what he taught me.
I have been lucky enough to have a very supportive family when it comes to running. My mom and Grandma Linda never miss a meet. Zack and Jace have also attended many of my races. Zack was always particularly enthusiastic at the state meets he attended. Every relative I talked to, even the ones I do not normally get to see often talked about how much Zack bragged about me when I won state. He told everyone, “My brother is a state champion, no big deal or anything.” I was so happy to see someone so close to me and someone I looked up to so much be so proud and enthusiastic towards my accomplishments.
Life appeared perfect. Then just a few weeks ago after I participated in a local 5k, Grandma Linda came running in and hugged us. After the embraces she informed everyone that Zack had been killed in an accident that night. The news hit mom the hardest. Jace and I just could not believe it. We had talked to him on the phone just two days before.
We immediately left for Iowa to be with the family. Everyone was stunned. The story does not make sense. We knew it involved two men getting struck by a train. No car was involved. The details are still not clear. We may never know what exactly happened but just like that, another role model, father figure, and friend was taken from us.
The funeral services were by far the most painful thing I have ever experienced. Zack made so many friends over the years and it seemed like all of them showed up. Countless hugs were given and we cried for what seemed like forever.
Right now, it’s hard to see why Zack was taken from us. When dad was killed I had no idea why it had to happen to us, but as life went on I realized it was so I could find my love for running. I found something to motivate and drive me. I saw how proud Zack was at state and I want to do more. I want him to be proud. All I know is Zacks death happened for a reason. I feel like I need to find that reason and make it count. All I can do now is stay positive and keep working because I know that is what Dad and Zack would want. So everything I do from here on out is for them. I know they will be watching over me.
Keep your family close because you never know when or why they will leave. So enjoy life and run for something.