Andrew Brooks, Sr. was spending nearly an hour simply traveling to work each day, located only 12 miles from his home in the Northern Virginia area. He decided to beat the morning traffic by getting into the city early. With that extra time in the city, he hit the gym before his workday started. A friend and colleague encouraged him to consider signing up for a race since he had been working out so diligently in the gym. In October 2010, he completed his first 10K (6.2 mile) road race in Washington, D.C. In May 2011, he conquered his first half marathon. Fast forward ten years and Andrew just completed his 180th marathon in June. His one hundred and eightieth marathon!
“I started running to lose weight and to mitigate my frustrations from the traffic. Then I became motivated to get a better finishing time. During my first 50k (31 miles), I ended up walking from mile 17 to the finish line because the course was very technical and I did not train accordingly. During my long walk, I had time to reflect on my running experience. I decided that I wanted to be a pacer to make sure what happened to me, would never happen to another runner. To become a pacer, I had to have racing experience, so I signed up for more marathons, which included pacing my wife through her first marathon. As a pacer, my current motivation is to see others cross the finish line.”
Andrew goes on to share a little more about his decision to run as a member of the Northeast Team Beef program, funded by beef farmers and ranchers through the beef checkoff program.
“I signed up for a marathon series, which was 5 marathons in 5 states in 5 days. I decided that I would eat beef instead of carb loading every day during my training. Because of the success, I started incorporating more beef into my diet. When I ran my first race as a Team Beef member, hearing all the spectators cheer, “Go Team Beef” just resonated with me and added more motivation for me to get to the finish line.
After running so many races as a Team Beef member, I have had many memorable encounters. One that I thought was cool is during my first Team Beef race event, I posted so much on my social media platforms that when I went to the Marine Corps Marathon to pick up my packet in non-team beef gear, I could hear people whispering, “That’s that Beef dude!”
Living in the suburbs of Washington, D.C., Andrew is certainly experiencing a fair share of disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“COVID-19 has majorly affected my running experience. I was supposed to run the Tokyo Marathon in March; however, it was cancelled due to COVID. I was scheduled to pace the London Marathon in April, which was going to be a family vacation as well, and it is currently rescheduled to October. Because of the lack of races, I have been struggling to run!”
Andrew isn’t the only one struggling to remain motivated with personal exercise during these challenging times. Schedules are disrupted, gym access is limited and large road races are not taking place in-person. As a Northeast Team Beef member, Andrew can benefit from the comradery and accountability of many other regionally based teammates. This summer, the team has been participating in the 2020 Prime Cuts Program. Every time a member completes a designated ‘challenge’ to continue their beef education, prepare a new beef dish, set and accomplish a new goal, cheer on another teammate, or challenge themselves in a new way, they earn points. When the program concludes on September 1, the two members with the highest number of points will earn a bundle of fresh beef and all participating members will earn a new item of Team Beef gear.