The right move

The right move

All of us have experienced a moment when we’ve been asked about something that occurred in our past only to have memories long forgotten come flooding back.

All of us have experienced a moment when we’ve been asked about something that occurred in our past only to have memories long forgotten come flooding back. With the simple question “when was the 1st time you visited Camp Casey?” a successful professor and research scientist with the Univ. of Montana is taken back in time to the summer of ‘86. Brent Ruby had just transferred from Colorado into SPU as a sophomore with plans to attend a pre-season cross-country camp. “I remember taking the ferry over to Whidbey with all my new teammates hearing stories of running adventures in and around Casey … Running through the wooded trails around the camp made me realize that I had made the right move!”

Since 2005 Brent and his wife, Jo, have been participating in the Falcon Running Camp. SPU’s Falcon Running Camp is the longest running camp in the country thanks to the generous contributions of alumni such as Brent and Jo. Using his experience as Director of the Montana Center for Work Physiology and Exercise Metabolism, Brent provides educational talks to the runners – sharing recent and past research. By sharing his excitement about science and what the human body can accomplish he teaches the runners proper healthy training habits. And given his passion for running he also assists with organizing running drill segments. His wife Jo, also an SPU Alum and current Head Cross Country Coach with Mountain West Youth Track, directs and coordinates most of the fun events. She has become “Camp Casey famous for her approach to the reading of funny love letters runners end up writing to one another.”

On a personal note Brent was kind enough to share how his career evolved from that sophomore attending Camp Casey to an accomplished researcher and professor. In fact, his name was highlighted after Runner’s World magazine did a massive 8 page story on him. He graduated from SPU in ‘89 with a Bachelors in Exercise Science. Married Jo and moved to Albuquerque for graduate school. Got a taste for research, and after completing his PhD in ’94, found his home in Missoula as a researcher/professor. His work has included topics such as heat stress, finding the ceiling of human endurance, and exercising at altitude as well as nutritional strategies during ultra-endurance work/competition, and muscle metabolism during and after exercise. Brent said he’s always tried to make certain that his research is translated into a language “that the end users we work with can understand.”

All of us should be fortunate enough as Brent to blend a love of research with a “love of physical activity, racing, and outdoor fun.”  His pursuits include cycling, Ironman triathlons, hunting, fishing, stand up paddle boarding (did we mention he builds stand up paddle boards as a healthy release from the world of academics) and surfing.

Any advice for the rest of us? Brent says: “Mix up your workouts, and if you fear over training … look for ways to increase mental and physical rest. In my experience, it is not the workout…it is the decisions athletes make in the other 22 hours of the day that eventually causes problems.”

So what it is that keeps those memories alive for Brent? What keeps him and Jo coming back each year for the SPU Falcon Running Camp? “I connect Camp Casey with SPU and my professors and coaches.” Brent says they helped construct the foundation for his entire professional career. Camp Casey and the entire SPU family “has a special place in my heart and I am forever grateful for my time on camps and on the various trails at the Camp “…and I’ve been privileged to watch “amazing runners grow up around us.”

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