There's this California punk* named Brett Gotcher. He says his name like Go-tcher (not Gaw) because he Gos. Not really. I'll bet he pronounces his name Go-tcher because that's how his ancestry came upon the pronunciation. But I didn't come here to talk about the vowel modulation of a California punk's last name, I came here to talk about a California punk and how he runs.
*Punk is an endearing term in my vocabulary, by the way.
Brett Gotcher, a graduate of Stanford University, is 27 and trains in the mountains of Flagstaff, Arizona. While spending time with a few hip 'n edgy NAU graduates in Arizona last summer, we learned that locals do not call it Flagstaff. They refer to it as just Flag. As in We're going to Flag for the weekend, or, NAU is in Flag.
Flag is at 7000 feet, so I see why Brett would choose Flag as his high altitude training station. He is part of Greg McMillan's elite post collegiate program, and holds the fourth fastest marathon qualifying time – a smoking 2:10:36. This Brett Gotcher is most definitely a contender.
Incidentally, Greg McMillan holds a Spring and Fall running/training camp for old people (aka adults.) I want to go. Anyone wanna go to Flag and run with me? I'm being serious. (For reals. Now, had I said "seriously" instead of "I'm being serious," then you could rest assured that I'm not all that invested, as "seriously" has joined the ranks of "what's up with that?" and "it's all good" and other such euphemisms made popular in this, the 21st century, which, while they mean something, they've become diluted by illustrious use.)
This professional distance running thing is so much work. Did you know that? As I've read various bios, and what each has been up to, I've noticed that all of them fight the daily battle of health. Brett Gotcher has had hip issues. Dathan Ritzenhein, an achilles issue requiring multiple surgeries. And Meb Keflezighi missed many weeks of training because of a foot infection. Keeping each athlete's machine in top working order is no small feat. And gearing them up for a specific day is a divine work of art. To compete, their bodies must be spot on. To do well, their willpower brain-stuff must be dialed in as well.
My hat is off to all of them.