My #IndyMini Story: Brett Braunecker

In 2014, I was the heaviest I had ever been. This was an extremely difficult time for me because I always considered myself a fitness enthusiast and took care of my health. The weight crept up over time, mostly because of stress, poor eating, and inactivity due to multiple knee surgeries. I was 75lbs overweight and desperate for a change, but I struggled to make a plan and stick with it.

The turning point for me came when my mom was diagnosed with cancer, and she began the fight for her life. Watching her battle to maintain her health through chemotherapy treatments, I realized how horribly I was treating my own body. My mom’s tenacity was the motivation I needed to take control of my health and start making changes.

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It seems silly to say now, but I never considered myself a “runner”. I was discouraged by knee surgeries and what I thought was lack of natural ability. But, when I changed my eating and exercise habits my confidence soared, so I decided to give running a try. Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off; by August 2014 I lost all of the extra weight that I was carrying around.

My mom gave me more than just the purpose to begin my weight loss journey. She was my biggest supporter, and was behind me from the start. Watching her strength and perseverance through illness inspired me to push beyond my limits and accomplish my goals.

In 2015, I made a goal to run my first half marathon. I decided to run the OneAmerica 500 Festival Mini-Marathon in honor of my mom. Unfortunately, my mom passed away in February of that year, so she was not there to meet me at the end, but I was not alone.  In an emotional moment, my wife, kids, and friends surprised me at the finish line cheering with cowbells and wearing custom t-shirts.

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My mom’s legacy is the reason I run the #IndyMini , and this year my brother is coming in from Missouri to run in honor of her too. My goal is to finish the Indy Mini in under 1:50:00 to achieve a personal best. I want to give my best for my mom who never gave me any less!

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