Hum three notes of most any rock/pop song on the radio between 1965 and 1983 and I’ll name it!
President and CEO
I started running when I was a parent of three young kids to get some time by myself. I still run because it’s such a good rush and is a great way to start my day — I do a lot of my best thinking during those early morning hours. When I’m done, I feel focused and ready to face the world.
Today, science backs the evidence that running, and exercise in general, boosts not only emotional health, but blood flow to the brain, making it easier to stay on task and learn better. This is especially true for school children, who spend much of their time in classrooms and are expected to pay attention and do their work.
Without an outlet to positively direct energy and boost blood flow to support brain function, concentration suffers, which can be disastrous for so many kids.
My Elementary and Jr. High Years
I know what it’s like to be the student who can’t sit still, has a hard time focusing and listening to the teacher. That was me as a child. I was always being called out for disrupting the classroom. It wasn’t until I was an adult that I understood the positive relationship between movement and learning.
I look back at those years and the lingering effects with empathy for that little girl, but I know she wasn’t — and isn’t — alone.
The Founding of RunningBrooke
My experience has been a huge factor in my life and was in large part what led me to starting RunningBrooke in 2009. With the need greatest for marginalized and underserved children, I thought, “If we could provide access to critical tools they need for social and academic success, we could help level the learning field.”
A key part of RunningBrooke’s Move2Learn program is for students to turn on the connection between learning and movement. Understanding that connection helps kids identify and attend to feelings of restlessness or boredom before they lose focus and tune out.
These days, RunningBrooke is zeroed in on serving kids in the classroom. We outfit classrooms with kinesthetic equipment and our innovative Move2Learn Toolkits and provide training opportunities for teachers and administrators as well as educator grants. The results are real — simple yet revolutionary.
Little did I know that what started out as a way to find time for myself would lead me to launch a nonprofit that has now served tens of thousands of children. I’m honored to work with the staff and board of RunningBrooke to fulfill this vitally important mission.
Other Facts about Brooke:
- She’s a native Virginian
- She was named a Living Legend of Alexandria, an honor bestowed on individuals who have significantly impacted the quality of life in Alexandria
- She’s run more than 150 marathons, covering every continent and every US state
- She’s participated in two Ironman competitions
- She won a 100 Ultramarathon for her age group (a nonstop 100 mile endurance run)
- She’s won the women’s division of the Easter Island, Antarctica and Icebreaker marathons
- She ran the Marine Corps Marathon six months after she suffered a near-fatal brain aneurysm
- She runs with asthma and exercise-induced asthma
- She love to be encouraged and to encourage others who are struggling to cross the finish line