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Trey Braun: Offensive Lineman Turned Marathon Runner Fighting to End Autism

Georgia Tech has some pretty awesome graduates

Trey Braun is a pretty cool guy
Jason Getz-USA TODAY Sports

Author's Note: I wrote this story for my Intro to Sports Reporting Class for an assignment that was due about a week and a half to two weeks ago, so that is why it talks about things that have already happened. Anyway, enjoy the story!

Normally, when people think of runners, they do not think of former offensive linemen. Well, former Georgia Tech offensive guard Trey Braun is not the typical person either.

Now that his football career is over, Braun is looking to keep a promise he made to is mom.

“It’s definitely something that I wanted to do for her, and trying to make sure she knows that I listened to her advice,” he said, “that I’ve been doing what I can to transition from being healthy in a football sense to being healthy in a non-football sense.”

His mother “encouraged him to ‘put the fork down’ when football was over and continue to live a healthy lifestyle.”

To accomplish this promise to his mom, Braun decided to become a runner. To help him train for this, he looked to his wife Anna Marie and her father, who are both consistent runners.

“Any time I am available I'll throw my shoes on and run alongside him,” Anna Marie said. “I love running with him. I think we push each other to be better runners.”

Since Braun’s father-in-law is starting to get older, he is looking at retiring from running and has decided the 2017 Rome Marathon will be his last. With all of these things falling into place, Braun decided that that would be a good goal to aim for.

Braun has credited his lifelong football career and the lessons he learned there for the ease withhis transition into running.

“I think that ability to push and fight through adversity has really been able to transfer over to running,” he said. “It’s much much easier in running to get away with not working that hard, so having that mentality from football has been very helpful.”

In his training, Braun has partnered with a running shop called West Stride, which is located in Atlanta. With them, he is able to both run with that team and also work with them to help set up races and raise money for other causes.

“Our biggest value has been as a resource to answer all of his questions and connect him to a seasoned group of runners who can relay their experiences,” West Stride spokesperson Stephanie Jacob said. “In fact, his enthusiasm and commitment to taking on this new endeavor inspired us to support him by outfitting him in West Stride gear and adding him to our West Stride Running Team, a community running team that represents the store in races and runs.”

Running for the sake of being healthier is not the sole reason Braun decided to take up running. He also wants to use it as a way to get promotion for the nonprofit he and his wife are trying to start.

“My wife and I really want to start a non-profit for military families who have kids on the autism spectrum,” Braun said. “So what I’m trying to do is through running, I can generate interest.”

Braun’s inspiration for this non-profit came from his grandfather, who served as a chaplain in the Vietnam War and in a state school in Texas, where he would be able to impact the lives of both people in the military and on the autism spectrum. He said that his grandfather’s life “was dedicated to helping these people.”

Children that are on the autism spectrum, Braun explained, receive lots of therapy and special schools with charities and nonprofits to help sponsor that, “but I think what’s missing is having funds available for kids to do things like take swimming lessons or take karate or take an art class or just little ‘quality of life’ things that sort of get overlooked when you have to pay for therapy and school.”

Braun and his wife are planning on beginning the paperwork for the charity and then generate interest and possible donors over the summer through running in different races and spreading their message.

By the fall, the couple hopes to set up donations for their foundation and then have everything come to a point by the time the Rome Marathon comes around in April 2017. Bythen, ideally, they hope to be funding a couple of families.