Auburn Villager: How did you get your start running cross-country?
Stewart Brown: My dad, he ran in high school He ran the 400 and the 800. And then my older brother, he started doing it while I was little, little, so I was never really a part of it.
And then my older sister, she graduated 2016, and she would do it, and that was when I was in seventh grade. They start at the junior high, so I had to just get into it. I wasn't very good, but then I decided to do track, try out for the soccer team. I didn't make the seventh grade soccer team, which was a heartbreak.
And then I started to get good at track and it then it went on from there. In eighth grade, I started to get really good.
AV: Did you pick up any thing from your family about running?
SB: They mostly did it for social reasons. They just had friends. They never really trained super-hard, so I've kind of had to pick that up on my own and learn how to live that way on my own.
AV: What is your training regimen like?
SB: Well, we have practice every afternoon, which can be long, long runs like 6 to 10 miles, including the weekends. So we run on the weekends. I have to watch what I eat, drink a lot of water, so it's just making the choice to be a good athlete.
AV: What do you like most about running cross-country?
SB: I like spending time with my friends the most because I'm so close to some of the boys on the team. But it just feels good to just go fast once you get going. It just feels good.
AV: What's the most challenging part about running cross-country?
SB: All of it, the running. You get to the wall in a race, and you've just got to push through it. The pain is just the hardest part, but you can get over the pain, so it's mostly just great.
AV: How do you approach the mental aspect of running such long distances?
SB: Well, you kind of break the race into categories, know when to move at a certain point. You've got to get a good start, be up in the front pack and get in a good rhythm.
And then you've got to take it step by step. It's 3.1 miles-ish — take it by mile, break it up into half-miles or whatever. That's really your deal. If your coach is calling out the time, you know how fast you need to be a that point in the race.
AV: How is the season going so far?
SB: We've had two races. We had a small one in Smiths Station. It was just a 3K. We did really well; we won. And the just last Saturday we had one in Fayetteville, Georgia. And we swept that one as well. That was a really good race.
AV: What are your goals for this season?
SB: State championship, I hope we can win it this year. We had a really good team average time at Fayetteville, so hopefully if we can get our group to speed up and get closer together, then the scoring will be lower.
AV: Do you have any professional or collegiate runners that you watch?
SB: Yeah. Our coach, coach (Anthony) Benitez, he ran for Army, and he's coached a lot of professional athletes as well. There's just watching collegiate athletes, which is something — not most people watch running expect for runners.
AV: Do you play any other sports?
SB: Not anymore. I did do soccer for a little bit a long time ago, but not anymore.
AV: Do you have any hobbies outside of sports?
SB: Not really. I just come to school and run. That's about it
Interview by Brian Woodham