Meet Brennan Lindner
Brennan Lindner (pictured with son Emerson) is the man behind Generic Events, the Southern California based company that produces the wildly popular XTERRA SoCal Trail Run Series. Due to the big rains that hit SoCal in the past few months, two of the SoCal trail races were rescheduled and now sit on back-to-back-to-back weekends. We caught up with Brennan before the madness starts with XTERRA Crystal Cove 5km/17km races this weekend.
What's your schedule like for the next couple months, got anything going on?
Crazy Busy. We are entering into 7 straight weekends of producing events (and I'm running the LA Marathon during this time). Pasadena Marathon / XTERRA Crystal Cove / XTERRA Mission Gorge / XTERRA Black Mountain / Pasadena Triathlon - then running LA Marathon / Pacific Half Marathon / Champions USA Adventure Race. Then a week off then XTERRA Redwood Peak. Yikes!
How'd you come up with "Generic Events"?
It's somewhat of homage to Repo Man (where everything they ate or drank was 'generic'). They were drinking BEER and eating FOOD. It also was my answer to the names that had been created over the year (Elite / Premiere / Amazing / etc.). I wanted the company to not be the brand, but the events to stand out for themselves. Our initial logo was a bar code.
As a race director, what is your favorite race distance to organize? As a runner, what is your favorite distance to run?
I enjoy creating races around 15-20k. This distance is challenging for almost anyone, and it does take an entire day to complete. And know that I think about it, it's also the distance I like to run. So now that I'm reflecting on this, I like to create races that I'd like to race in. 10ks are too short, I don't warm up until 4 miles. 15ks are pretty ideal, you can go at a fast pace and it's longer than a 10k sprint.
This might be painful, but can you please tell us the car-stuck-on-the-trail story?
Mission Gorge 2007 is one of the great memories for us. It's very, very unusual to actually run the trails when it rains here in Southern California. Parks close once it rains to protect the trails. For this race, the rain started 10 minutes after the start. I had driven into the back country with our medical team (San Diego Search & Rescue) to place our aid stations and staff. After the last runner passed our aid station, I needed to pick up to staff and equipment down in a valley. Against the recommendation of the SAR team, I headed down a muddy road/river. I had just purchased my Nissan Xterra and thought it could drive through anything. I picked up the aid station staff and began to head back up out of the valley to the base area. The first road proved to be too slick, and with the great clay based dirt, my tires became 'treadless' and useless. I then backed down and tried to go up another road. We were defeated again, and as we backed down, the road was off camber and we slid halfway off of a small cliff. I pushed out the team (fearing we were going to roll), and hiked out in the rain. It took a week for the trails to dry out and two wreckers to pull the vehicle out.
Many beginner trail runners are intimidated with XTERRA events. What advice would you give them?
Just go for it. XTERRA and trail running is inclusive and welcoming. The trails are for everyone, not just the fast 'freaks'. Everybody starts at 0/beginner/newbie. We work hard to make everyone welcome and get them excited. I've always said, trail running is like being a kid again, running - looking at the views, scrambling up rocks. You can't beat it.
Your sister Shannon is about to start a brand-new XTERRA Trail Run Series in Arizona this fall. What advice have you given her so far?
Just go for it. She's an experienced XTERRA athlete and trail runner (Leadville 100) and just earned her J.D. I told her to go find some courses, get some people out running. Its fun, and you get to be in a unique position of creating a community of people interested in the same things.
How are NorCal runners different than SoCal runners?
Interesting question, and it's hard to answer, since I'm from SoCal. NorCal has more of an earthy feel and SoCal is more beachy, and that reflects in the people. I think both groups are very similar - it's a mellow happy group, they love running, they love the trails and it's fun to do it with a bunch of people.
Out of all your races, what is your favorite venue to put on an event?
Each race is my favorite - but for different reasons. I like Boney for its toughness and remoteness, Mission Gorge has the stairs, Black Mountain is fast and a hidden gem amongst the sprawl of San Diego, Malibu has the MASH site and Bulldog, Point Mugu has a single track section overlooking the Pacific that can't be beat, the Turkey Trot also has some single track that is straight out of Alice in Wonderland. Crystal Cove - more great views, Redwood Peak - the last 2 miles are straight up under the historic redwoods, and finally there is Marin - where trail running probably started and you run past old battlements, along the Pacific coastline - views of the Golden Gate. They are all my favorite. :)
Are XTERRA athletes any different than other athletes you've encountered?
Definitely - My background is triathlon, which is typically type A, obsessive types, so after being surrounded by that for so long, it was like coming home with XTERRA. I grew up rock climbing in Arizona and went to College in Boulder, so after 10 years in Southern California, it was nice be reminded that there is life beyond the beach and city. XTERRA athletes love being outside, challenging themselves and others and continuing living. I say living in the concept that you have to keep exploring and keeping alive that feeling of discovery, which sport and the outdoors can provide.
Where do you hope to see the XTERRA SoCal and NorCal Trail Run Series go in the future?
We've reached a place where we like the number of events in the series (though I would like to add 2 more in NorCal and another in Orange County). We'd also like to create the events as a weekend of events, rather than just a morning event. This could be adding camping, some sprints, more kids events, etc.
How are you juggling everything with the kids?
Being a dad is the best experience anyone could ever ask for. Aside from being fun and entertaining, and experiencing love you never thought possible, you get to experience youth again, appreciate your parents more, and realize that time is finite. You realize you better stay in the moment, for before you know it, that time is gone. And with kids, time goes FAST.
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