Featured Athlete Week of 9/17 Jackson Brannen

Jackson Brannen is a sophomore at Goffstown High School. He sets very high goalsjackson at the beginning of each season and enjoys competing in the most competitive meets. He set Meet of Champions as his freshman goals last year and was able to accomplish that in cross country, finishing 13th in Division 2 as well as a 4th place finish in the 1600 (4:29) at the Div.2 state meet in spring track. Jackson enjoys the daily grind of pushing himself and his teammates each day at practice to see how much they can all improve over the course of the season. He also plays basketball and is the president of the sophomore class. He has set a long term goal to run in college and some day coach high school cross country and basketball.

What is your go-to prerace meal?
I always like some pasta before my race. Usually the night before the race I’ll eat a big bowl of elbow macaroni. On race day I don’t really like to eat much but I’ll usually have like a granola bar or something a little before the race.
What is your favorite cross training activity?
For Goffstown we have this hill and it’s called Worthley Hill and we usually do like 2 or 3 times up the hill. The hill is a half mile up and the second half is just brutally steep. Our team has done some terribly hard workouts on Worthley.
How does your coach motivate you?
My coach likes to give me goals that I know I can do better than and he will doubt my ability and so he gets me to try and prove him wrong. I usually do.
If you could go anywhere in the world where would you go?
Disney World. I went there once as a kid and it’s just my favorite place ever. To go there again would just be amazing.
When did you start running?
I started running when I was in 5th grade. I just decided to give cross country a shot. I liked it at first but I wasn’t all in on it. I still played baseball and basketball and cross country was like my 3rd sport. When I got to high school my senior mentor Andy MacGibbon really took me under his wing and showed me how everything works. The camaraderie between the runners throughout the state and the intense competition really made me love cross country.
Do you have a favorite prerace song?
I actually don’t listen to music before a race. I usually just lie down and on the bus I might take a nap on the way there. It helps me stay cool and just not constantly be thinking about the race.

What motivates you most to do well?
What motivates me the most is just the satisfaction of improving and standing out as an elite runner. I might not be there yet but getting there keeps me motivated to work hard at practice and improve every day.
What would you do if you knew you could not fail?
I would like to either be an actor or an author. I think either one of those would just be so cool. I love movies and if I could be one of those actors that everyone remembers, like Jack Nicholson, would be awesome. Being a writer would be cool because I could just write one page of my book a day and then just do whatever I want the rest of the time.

What is the best advice ever given to you?
The best advice I’ve ever been given is probably to make sure you do what you love and to find a profession that makes working not feel like working.

What is your favorite quote?
My favorite quote comes from my favorite movie “The Shawshank Redemption” and it is ” Get busy living or get busy dying!”
If you go to college, do you plan to run? And where?
I do plan to run at the college level and I would like to do so at the University of Michigan. Michigan is my dream school and I know their running program is one of the best but I like to set my goals high and I believe I can run there.
What is your favorite thing about Cross Country?
My favorite thing about cross country is after a race when you know you just ran a great race. There isn’t a better feeling than to know you just went out there and killed it.
What is your favorite course to run? (High school courses)
In my opinion this isn’t a valid question. It’s easily Derryfield. There just isn’t anything like it. McIntyre, the roar of the fans and the final finish just make it the greatest course there is. The anticipation to running there is great also. I know I’ve only raced there twice but I look forward to many more in the following years.
What is your favorite race outside of the high school season?
I really like the Turkey Trot at Fisher Cat stadium. Some of my cousins do it and I beat my coach last year. Plus you get to pig out afterwards so I have a great time doing the Turkey Trot 5k.