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Interview

Get to know three Brooks Run Happy Ambassadors, also known as Gurus

We’re all passionate about the run at Brooks, but did you know there is a special group of road- and trail-tested people here who are ready to answer your most burning questions about our gear and running in general? We call these experts “Gurus.”

Our popular Ask a Guru program allows any runner to receive a completely personalized experience from a runner who knows the ins-and-outs of the sport.

To learn more about what makes a runner’s brain tick, we chatted with Gurus Josh Browning, Alan Walker, and Elaina Bailey about funny running stories, their go-to Brooks shoes, why they run, and more.

Three separate profile pictures of Brooks Gurus Josh Browning, Alan Walker, and Elaina Bailey
Meet the Gurus

Clockwise from top left: Josh Browning (@brooksguruneworleans), Elaina Bailey (@elaina_brooks), Alan Walker (@alan_brooks_walker)

How would you define a running expert?

Josh Browning: We have some excellent coaches and people who really study the sport, but to me, a running expert is someone who just loves running and gets out there and does it on a regular basis. 

Alan Walker: My own internal definition of a running expert is an individual who has a bank of knowledge, but at the same time has the passion to continually grow and learn as the sport evolves.

Elaina Bailey: A running expert is someone who has a strong background in running and understands the mechanics of the human body.

How do you train? With people? Alone? On road or trail? Do you cross train?

Josh Browning: I do most of my running solo just for convenience and not having to wait for anybody on those easy running days. I do also train with a local club, The Power Miler Track Club, in New Orleans and we meet up for track workouts every Tuesday and long runs on Sunday morning. I mostly run on the roads and can get a little trail action on St. Charles Streetcar line, but there just isn’t much dirt to run on in New Orleans.

Alan Walker: Currently, my focus is maintaining fitness and enjoying simple routines. I try to complete a workout, a longer run, and run every day during the week. The rest of pieces to the puzzle I let fall where they may. Typically, I run alone as it is a chance to decompress and listen to my body, I try to meet with a buddy once a week to catch up on life. I tend to run on various terrains.

Elaina Bailey: I typically run seven days a week with a specific plan that incorporates a recovery run, long run, workout with intervals and tempos, and weight training. I do my weight training and many of my recovery runs with my husband and our dog Magnolia. I usually do long runs and workouts solo, but have a strong group of friends who I join when possible. As for terrain, I stay mainly on the road and track. I normally only cross train when I’m injured or when I need a day off from running and that typically involves swimming or biking.

Do you listen to any specific types of music/playlists while you’re running? What gets you the most pumped?

Josh Browning: I actually don’t like to listen to any music while I am running. I hate having to carry anything extra on the run!

Alan Walker: I’m not a music person during the run because I enjoy the sounds of the outdoors. However, after the run I like to spend 30 min stretching which involves me hydrating and listening to country music out of the back of my car.

Elaina Bailey: The only time I listen to music is when weather has forced me to run on the treadmill. One of the best parts of running is the relaxation and clarity that comes from being outside.

What’s your funniest running story?

Josh Browning: I think one of my funniest running stories was when I raced the San Destin Triathlon back in 2016. Everything was just not going my way. Like every good triathlete, I had all my gear packed and ready to go the night before the race. I woke up on time, had a nice breakfast and coffee and drove to the race-start around 4:45 a.m. I started setting up my transition gear and then I realized I forgot my running shoes! I didn’t have a backup pair to use for the race with me. I thought maybe I just left them in the car about ¾ of a mile away so ran quickly to the car but they weren’t there. Luckily, my wife was coming to spectate the race that day and she grabbed my shoes. The race was going to start before they got there so I was just hoping the shoes would be there once I got back to transition. After receiving a few jellyfish stings in the swim, I made it back to transition to head on the bike. The shoes were there and I was able to complete the race!

Alan Walker: In 2015, I had the privilege to run the Boston Marathon. When I arrived it was raining and I immediately thought “I don’t really want to sit under a tent on a trash bag if I can avoid it.” As I walked to the port-a-john it began to rain harder, so I quickly jumped in. I made the executive decision to use this as housing where I took a nap for the next 45 minutes. Upon waking from my slumber, I realized I had to hustle to the start line only to have to stop and use the restroom 4 miles into the race. The challenge now was my hands were like frozen popsicles. I managed to make the best of the situation and complete Boston Marathon with only a mild case of hypothermia.

Elaina Bailey: As a college freshman on my first ever long run with the team, I somehow took a wrong turn on a new trail that I had never run on. I ended up getting lost, running an extra 6 miles, and my coach had to come find me in his car and give me a ride back to school.

Why do you run?

Josh Browning: For me running is a chance to have some alone time and release some of the stress of everyday life. It also provides me with a regular challenge to keep me motivated to train and see how fast I can run.

Alan Walker: Much like how I train has changed over time, so has my purpose. I find that these days my purpose is more about internal goals I set for myself during a run/workout/week. My racing is more driven on the idea of seeing a new city and spending time with the people I don’t get to run with on a regular basis. It’s a lot less pressure driven and more about the fun of running.

Elaina Bailey: I’ve always enjoyed running and being outside. In high school it was the one sport I was decent at. I had some success as a runner, so it was something I stayed with and have never looked backed. I’ve always enjoyed pushing my limits and setting PRs. It’s fun to see what I can do.

What’s your favorite race?

Josh Browning: The Crescent City Classic 10k! Although I don’t like racing the 10k, this race is always the Saturday before Easter in New Orleans and the whole city gets out to run this race. It’s the only race that I have done every year since I started running back in 2013.

Alan Walker: My favorite race I have been a part of would have to be Rock N Roll San Diego. I’ve run various distances at the event for multiple years and have some of my fondest memories there with my friends and family.

Elaina Bailey: As of now my favorite race would probably be CIM. It was the first marathon I felt fully prepared for and had a goal of breaking 3 hours (which I achieved) and overall loved the whole race experience.

An illustration of three sets of runners’ legs running a race in Brooks shoes.

What is your go-to Brooks shoe?

Josh Browning: Right now, I’m loving the Transcend 7! It’s my go-to recovery shoe for easy days and I love logging long runs in this shoe right now.

Alan Walker: That is a trick question. I use a triad of shoes: Ravenna for my everyday trainer, Transcend for my cruisin’ days, and Hyperion Tempo for those days I want fly.

Elaina Bailey: I love the Ghost! It’s light enough to run fast and yet it also has enough cushion for the longer runs. Living in Colorado I end up on trails and roads in the same run and the Ghost also has amazing traction to keep me in control.

What advice would you give to runners everywhere?

Josh Browning: My favorite piece of advice to tell runners is to have fun with it! Don’t worry about form, foot strike, time, or anything like that. Just get a pair of shoes that feel good on the feet and get out the door. If you aren’t getting injured, you are doing it right!

Alan Walker: My best advice for runners is live to fight another day. It’s great to push yourself and improve, but most runners are far happier when they can get out the door the next day. Be smart and pick your days to dig deep and don’t be afraid to take it easy and just enjoy the purity of the run.

Elaina Bailey: Running is not about being faster than someone else, it’s all about creating the best and fittest version of yourself!