Rob Brink’s Running Times

Usually, Dan Goldberg says, he and his friends don’t get each other birthday presents. A drink at a bar is a big deal.

But Goldberg’s 30th birthday present for longtime friend — and former Staples High School (Class of 2003) track teammate — Rob Brink made the New York Times.

On Thursday, the sports section described the caper. Goldberg — a private equity guy — flew in a top distance runner from Arizona to race with (and against) Brink, a grad student at Cornell University business school.

The kicker: that elite runner is a woman.

The Times story noted that Brink — the “most competitive person” Goldberg knows — regularly beats him, his twin Mark and their fellow runners. “It kind of feels like a present to ourselves,” Goldberg said, anticipating that Sara Slattery would kick Brink’s butt.

After all, she’d run a 1-hour, 13-minute half-marathon — 4 minutes faster than Brink’s personal best.

In Brink’s favor: 12 weeks before, Slattery gave birth to a baby girl.

The story — written in typical Times let’s-see-what-those-crazy-millennials-are-up-to style — describes Slattery’s gifts for Brink (running gear, energy tablets and a watch); the pre-game dinner at Goldberg’s apartment (at which Slattery described the pain of childbirth as “worse than racing”), and the combination of excitement and fear all the friends felt about the coming gender showdown (Brink will “say he hasn’t been training, which is a complete lie,” Goldberg said).

Sara Slattery and Rob Brink, at East River Park. (Photo/Hilary Swift for New York Times)

Sara Slattery and Rob Brink, at East River Park. (Photo/Hilary Swift for New York Times)

The 12-mile workout consisted of 8 1,000-meter intervals, drills, and 20-minute “jogs.”

Slattery gave Brink everything she had. She set a brutal pace. The race was all everyone — especially Goldberg and his buddies — hoped it would be.

During the last interval, Brink pulled ahead. Goldberg ran with him as inspiration. Near the end, they slowed down so they could finish together with Slattery.

Brink called Slattery “amazing.” Six weeks earlier, he said, “I was running an ultra-marathon. You were giving birth. I am totally wiped.”

He called it “the best birthday ever.”

(To read the entire New York Times story, click here. Hat tip: Rob Sobelman)

4 responses to “Rob Brink’s Running Times

  1. If the NYT story were merely about the joy of athletic competition, it wouldn’t focus on the detail of one investment banker bro HIRING an elite female runner as birthday entertainment for his bud. In fact, the Times story also mentions another Manhattan financier who received the services of a Kenyan runner as his birthday present. Am I not alone in finding this kind of “look what I can do with my money” stuff a little creepy?

  2. Steve Stein

    Enjoyed reading the story originally in the NY Times about Brink, Slattery and Goldberg. 12 week postpartum elite woman track star versus the ultra competitive non elite 30 something former trackman. The thrill of the competition overcame the lose/lose situation he was in- get beat by a gal who had a baby recently or beat a gal who had a baby recently.

    I totally missed the Westport connection. What I got from the story was a mixed message of doing exceptional things for close friends (making dreams come true) and a tale of conspicuous consumption when the investment banker and financier connection was added.

    Personally I wish someone set up a match race between me and Usain Bolt. Lose/lose setup for the fastest man on Earth- beat a septuagenarian or get beat by a septuagenarian (former trackman who currently is on a strict regimen of brisk walks with his wife from Compo Beach to Mill Beach and back with an occasional bathroom and seltzer stop at Elvira)!!

  3. Marcy Anson Fralick Staples '70

    Why are these elite runners allowing themselves to be purchased as gifts for someone else? Is it for the money, publicity or is it for the competitive spirit? If it’s just for the money and/or publicity, then I’m disappointed in the runners. If it’s because they love to run, and love the challenge, then I think it’s great. But, the whole situation still smacks of conspicuous consumption. Why not give your buddy the gift of a donation to a program for disadvantaged kids who love to run, but need shoes and other equipment to fulfill their dream?

  4. James Holmes

    Oh those wacky one percenters….

    Waste of print in the NYT – shows how far the Grey Lady has fallen