Name: Nathan Brannen
CAN Fund Recipient Since: 2014
2006 Commonwealth Games Silver Medalist
Top 15 at the 2008 and 2012 Olympic Games
10th at the 2013 World Track and Field Championships
6x Canadian Champion, 1500m
Canadian Record holder in 4 events
Hometown: Cambridge, ON
Horoscope Sign: Vergo
On The National Team Since: 2001
How does being a CAN Fund Recipient make a difference for you?
The hardest thing about being an athlete is the financial instability and with the help of CAN Fund that will take one less stress away from my life and allow me to fully focus on being the best track and field athlete I can be.
When was the moment you knew you wanted to represent Canada?
I’ve always known I wanted to represent Canada and from a young age I dreamt of being an Olympian. I remember playing as a kid and pretending I was competing in the Olympics and that dream became a reality in 2008 when I qualified for my first Canadian Olympic Team.
How did you get involved in your sport?
I was very active growing up and played every sport that was available. I had aspirations of playing in the NHL one day but when entering grade 9 and weighing only a little over 100lbs, I knew running was probably my future. It was then that I fully focused on athletics and saw my dreams slowly become reality.
What is the best part about representing Canada?
I think the pinnacle of sport is being able to represent your country on the World stage. I had represented Canada at numerous events but nothing compared to wearing my Canadian singlet at the Olympic Games and in front of the world and my country.
What is your proudest moment?
My proudest moment is also one of my hardest moments in my life. It was when I fell during the 2012 Olympic Games 1500m semi-final and getting back up to fight for a qualifying spot in the final. It wasn’t until after this fall and knowing how much I touched those supporting me by getting back up and competing all the way to the finish that I realized this was one of my proudest moments. I could have stayed on the track and said why me but that never crossed my mind. I knew what I was there to do and the first thought was to get back up, compete and finish. I received over 400 emails and messages after this fall and it was those thoughtful messages that helped me get through such a low point of my career.
Do you have any pre-competition superstitions or routines?
I always say I don’t have any superstitions or routines but I do the same thing before every race so that in itself is a routine. I try to be as normal as possible on race day and do what I’ve been training to do all along. I always leave room for error or something to potentially not go as planned. For the most part I just try to keep things as normal as possible.
What is a healthy snack you eat before or after training sessions?
My go to recovery drink is Endorox Recovery Formula. Over the years, I’ve become addicted to the taste after a hard session and that’s the first thing I want to get in my body.
What is your pre-game meal?
Being on the road and racing in different countries and parts of the world, I try not to stress about eating the exact same thing before every race but I do try to eat light and similar to what I would normally have. I keep the rest of the pre-meet day the same as any other race so if I can’t get what I normally eat it’s ok.
What is in your refrigerator right now?
Haha, I have 2 young kids, a 3 year old and 4 month old so I have a lot of juice boxes, yogurt go-gurt, cut up vegetables and anything healthy and easy for a kid to snack on.
What do you value most in your friends?
True friendship. It might not sound like the best answer but true friendship is a hard thing to find. I have a few childhood friends that have been my closest friends my entire life. We are all over the country now so it makes it hard to see each other often. We don’t call each other to see what’s new, we don’t check in, but we are always there for each other and every time we meet up it’s like we saw each other yesterday.
What is the greatest advice a coach has ever given you?
You need to give up hockey and focus on running. My coach told me that in grade 9 and I was reluctant at first but he saw greatness and without fully focusing on running I would never get there. It was my Club Coach, Peter Grinbergs, in high school that truly made me the runner I am today.
What advice would you give to young kids or teenagers about following their dreams?
Stay the course. Life will throw you hard balls but it’s those that overcome the obstacles in a positive way that will do great things. I’ve had to overcome a lot of setbacks in my career and each one has made me a better athlete, person, husband and father as a result.
What are you favourite places in the world you have visited?
My best running trip was the Commonwealth Games in Melbourne, Australia. It was an amazing trip and I really got to take advantage of the trip and see a lot of great things. I’ve been to some amazing places through running and everyone is a gift in itself.
If you were stranded on a desert island what three items would you take with you?
If I wasn’t able to bring my wife and 2 kids it would have to be a pair of running shoes, computer and watch. Yes, I know, I might not make it too long on the island with these three items but these 3 items are with me most.
What three items do you take with you on every road trip?
Running Shoes, Running Clothes and my Garmin GPS Watch.
Describe your typical day. Day in the life of…
I’m pretty boring. My day usually consists of getting up around 7:30am when my daughter comes in and says “Good morning Daddy.” Then I get out for my first run of the day or workout. Come home and eat lunch with my daughter. Play with Gianna and Grayson a little bit then relax while they nap in the afternoon. Then around 4:30-5pm I head out for my second run of the day. Eat dinner as family then spend time with the kids. 7:30pm is always bath time no matter where I am in the world. If I’m away, that means I’m on Skype for bath time, then read books and put them to bed. After they go to bed I usually stretch and do core work before turning out the lights myself. So, pretty boring but I like it.
What are your hobbies?
DIY projects, spending time with my kids, skiing and movies
What is your favourite quote?
“To give anything less than your best is to sacrifice the gift”
What is your favourite movie?
What is your favourite book?
The Da Vinci Code
What is your favourite tv series?
The Walking Dead