Friday, August 14, 2009

Marathon Man

Dr. Jerry Brockman has been running "his whole life". As a youngster attending a country school, he would call the time and temperature operator and use her as a 'stop watch'. He would then take off running, and upon reaching school, would again dial the number, and record the exact timing of his run.

Brockman graduated from O'Neill High School, and after schooling on the west coast, he continued his education at the University of Nebraska at Lincoln, earning a degree in Dentistry. He has been practicing his profession for 33 years, the last 25 at his present office location.

A two-mile relay race in high school was Jerry's first 'official' race. As a Freshman, he breezed past his competitors --3 Seniors -- and won a medal. After high school Jerry, along with Tim French and Tim Edwards, organized the Shamrock Fun Run, a race held every year during the St. Patrick's Day celebration in O'Neill. Jerry's wife Therese Sullivan, a Registered Dental Hygienist and accomplished runner is also an award winner herself. The Shamrock Fun Run is currently sponsored by the O'Neill Rotary Club, and is now in it's 30th year. It has been recognized as the one of oldest organized runs in the state.

Inevitably, at some point in a runner's career, one may in a sense, 'bite the dust'. This low point for Jerry occurred during a triathlon in Grand Island, Nebraska in 1990. During the swimming portion of the event, he panicked and nearly drowned; "The good swimmers have their own life guards, the bad swimmers are on their own..." Fortunately, he was able to compose himself and swim to shore. However, his next 'bump in the road', was the result of "too big of a loop in his shoestring"... he finished close to last, skinned and bloody.

In the year 2000, he ran the 1/2 Marathon in the Lincoln Marathon. Most of his runs are 5 or 6.2 miles. For the last five years, he and his friends have teamed up to run one race a year out of state: Virginia Beach, Virginia was the location for the 2005 run, 2006; Big Sur, 2007; Chicago, Illinois, 2008; Boulder, Colorado, and this year's race was on Peak's Island by Portland, Maine. The lucky participants in the 2009 race were treated to a lobster fest at the end of the event!

Brockman runs all year long, actually prefering the colder months to the summer's heat. His favorite experience is covering the Cowboy Trail in the early morning hours with his two dogs, Rory and Liesl. In addition to having seen badgers, skunk, deer, wild turkey, osprey, and even Bald Eagles, his most special day along the trail was when he spied a mother otter and her five babies. Upon returning home, he was anxious to share about what he had encountered, however, that day happened to be September 11, 2001, and no one was interested in his experience.
Why O'Neill? Jerry stated, "Living in Los Angeles for four years made Holt County look like paradise." "It's (O'Neill) home. I was able to return with a profession and live in this area." He commented that we have "excellent people here". His dental practice has grown and in addition to having "great patients", he stressed that he has an "excellent dental team that works well together".
Jerry enjoys running because "It makes me feel good, and it is something I can do with my wife and dogs". He also appreciates the friendship, fellowship, and camaraderie with others who engage in this sport. As for goals... the 13 mile Deadwood Mickelson Trail in Deadwood, South Dakota is on the horizon for 2010.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, Joy! What a great read! And what a cool claim to fame this guy has, starting the longest running race in the state!?! That's incredible!

    I can relate to his decision to withdraw from the west coast...I'm a native San Diegan myself, but moved here to Virginia almost 11 years ago now and while California is a great place to vacation, I honestly would never move back...I love it out here, so beautiful, best kept secret in the country : ) ...

    Thanks again for taking the time to put this inspiring story together! Tell "Marathon Man" to think good thoughts at me and MY running! ; )


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