Claire Brickson: Born to Run

Claire Brickson PO ’14 is a molecular biology major from Madison, Wisconsin and has been an integral part of the Pomona-Pitzer women’s cross country team’s success so far this season. Most recently, Brickson finished first among her fellow Sagehens at the SCIAC Multi-Duals, placing seventh overall to help the team finish in third place. The senior runner also runs for the P-P track and field team in the spring and helped both the Sagehen 4×1600-meter and the 4×800-meter relay teams set school records last spring.  She took the time to tell TSL about her experience as a runner as well as a world traveler. 

TSL: How did you start running? Have you always been athletic?

Claire Brickson: My older brother ran cross county in high school. My parents dragged me to all his meets and I always pictured myself doing it too. I guess you could say I was indoctrinated at a young age.

TSL: Did you play any other sports growing up?

CB: I played soccer for nine years and a little bit of tennis, too.

TSL: What events do you run currently?

CB: In track I’ve been running the five-kilometer and 10-kilometer. Everyone runs six-kilometers in cross country.

TSL: What do you like about it?

CB: I like that running is a fairly simple thing that clears my head and always improves my mood. It just feels like a really natural thing to do. Racing appeals to me because it’s completely honest. You have to earn everything through hard work, which makes success that much more rewarding.

TSL: What’s a normal practice day like?

CB: Well, we obviously run a lot and there’s usually some silliness involved. We do our faster workouts on the track or around the Wash and usually drive to trails to do our long runs. Apart from running we do strength exercises, core, lift weights, and aquajog [running workouts in the pool]. 

TSL: Has running caused any obstacles that you’ve had to overcome?

CB: I’ve actually been incredibly lucky, in that I haven’t really ever been seriously injured. I have Achilles tendinitis right now, which is the worst injury I’ve had to deal with.

TSL: Do you like to run to music? If so, what’s your favorite thing to run to?

CB: I only listen to music occasionally when I do long runs by myself. I’d say it’s hard to beat Bruce Springsteen when it comes to running music, or any other kind of music for that matter.

TSL: Have you traveled anywhere interesting?

CB: The most exotic place I’ve been to is India.

TSL: Did you study abroad as a junior? 

CB: I didn’t study abroad so I could be around for last year’s cross country season, but I did spend the summer before that in Guatemala, living with two nuns and volunteering at a health care project near Guatemala City.

TSL: When you’re not running or studying, what do you like to do?

CB: Those take up most of my life at the moment, but I also like reading, music, traveling, and spending time outdoors.

TSL: Do you have any favorite movies or TV shows?

CB: American Beauty, Casablanca, The Wire, Friday Night Lights.

TSL: Have any advice for other athletes?

CB: Apart from telling people to take up running, I’d say be more conscious of the joy you get from your sport. At a basic level, we play sports because they make us happy, and I think good results come from focusing on your love for whatever you’re doing.

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