Saturday Spotlight- Brandon Berman

Name: Brandon Berman

Spouse: Christine Berman

Son: Brian (He’ll be 9 on 8/4)

Cat: Brice (3 years old)

Guily Pleasures: Chocolate, Celebrity Gossip/TMZ

Occupation: Senior Business Analyst (generic title) in Provider Quality area for UnitedHealthcare. I mostly do sql coding for reports, SSRS reports, databases, processes, etc. Some VB, VBA, sharepoint,
etc. Geek work, but I like it.

My life began pretty rough. I grew up in an unhappy, contentious household. My grades in school/High School were decent enough, but I never worked hard to achieve them and I could have done much better in a different environment. I was more focused on finding activities to stay out of the house than worry about schoolwork too much. Although I was out of the house most times just looking for something/anything to do, I never really got into trouble. I’m proud to say that I have never used an illicit drug. I know that’s pretty rare. I figured with my home life, it would be a steep/slippery slope….. I’ve never been in handcuffs either. Yay me….

I sometimes feel like I had 2 births; my biologic birth and when I went away to college I was reborn. Being away from the daily fighting and nonsense of home life allowed me to finally blossom in school. My college friends and I would be competitive with each other over our grades. Nothing mean spirited. We met a few times a week in the library to study together. There were also the important meetings at taverns. It was the type of fun competitiveness found in our running community. You want to beat your friends in a race, but you also kind of hope that they do so well that they beat you.

I began running in college on a treadmill in the gym. I was just hanging around with a friend that mostly weightlifted. My friend’s weightlifting seemed boring to me as his breaks between sets were long. My treadmill running would continue for nearly 20 years. When my wife and I lived in Coram, I would go to the World Gym and run on the treadmill about 5 days a week. I knew nothing about pacing or races. For all the running that I did, I didn’t even run very fast on the treadmill. I was clueless, but happy with my treadmill running.

My first race was a 5K from the Brickhouse Brewery. Nicolle Zeman encouraged me to run it with her. That race day was VERY warm and HUMID. You could see the thick haze. It was a tough, brutal race. I was probably very slow, but I didn’t care. My 2nd race was also with Nicolle Zeman. We ran the 4K Northport VA Cross Country race on the golf course. This race was VERY cold. The start was delayed so that the frost could melt and the turf on the golf course wouldn’t be damaged. I did better with this race and was happy with my finishing time.

My running continued in this manner for a while. I would train solely on the treadmill and run a few races from time to time. I even ran the Shelter Island 10K with Jennifer McCourt one year after training solely on the treadmill.

It was not until I won an age group award that I even bought a real pair of running sneakers. This was a big step for me. I went to the Sayville Running Company to see what they would recommend. Jennifer McCourt met me there as she was also interested in hearing what kind of shoes they’d recommend for her. Safety in numbers. No runner goes it alone…

The next biggest change to my running came when Briana Taylor told me about the formation of a running club. She asked if I’d be interested in joining. Briana said that I would do more long runs with a club and that I would do things that I never thought possible. Those words were very prophetic. North Country Road Warriors was formed and I joined in on some group runs and eventually the track workouts. I’m pretty shy so I didn’t speak with many people. I don’t speak much as it is. My wife more than makes up for that (ya know there had to be a dig at some point)…..

There had been some rumblings in the North Country Road Warriors about a 10K course called the Selden Hills. I immediately said that I wasn’t interested. Frank Capone & Ray Costanzo ran the Selden Hills course one Wednesday and came back to tell us about it. I still wasn’t interested. More and more people from the North Country Road Warriors ran the course. I finally bit the bullet and decided to run the Selden Hills course. On 7/25/2012 I ran the course for the first time. I mostly followed Kelly Mullady. As we approached the sights of the hills on Adirondack Drive, Kelly would turn around and look at me with a huge grin on her face. Yeah, she knew I was in trouble (in a good way)…

I did have to walk on Berkshire once for my first Selden Hills run. It was still a huge accomplishment that I was proud of. I felt a bit more defeated during my 2nd Selden Hills run when I had to walk twice on Berkshire. It was very humid during my 2nd Selden Hills run, so I shouldn’t have felt so bad.
I try to get to the Selden Hills as much as possible, but it’s a bit far for me and I have a tight schedule with my little man and crazy wife. I try to make the Selden Hills event runs as much as possible. I also try to bring in people to the Selden Hills family as you people are so supportive.
From pretty humble beginnings, I’ve come a long way in my life. The support that the running community has for each other is more beneficial that you can imagine. I know that I would still only be doing a few local 5Ks a year if I didn’t have the support and encouragement from the wonderful people I have met these last few years…

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