MARYVILLE, Tenn. (WATE) – On an overcast evening in Blount County, Brent Bueche sprints down a hill toward Lamar Alexander Parkway. Another evening’s run has come to an end, with the day’s 10 total miles logged in his Garmin.
“I’m running as fast as I’ve run in 15 to 20 years,” he says later, wonderment about where he’s arrived physically edging his voice. “I’m gonna slow down; just like everyone else, my day will come. But I can’t not take advantage while it’s fun.”
At 57 years old, it’s been a great year for Bueche. He owns eight Tennessee state running records this year (classified by individual ages and gender).
“3k, 2 mile, 5k, 4 mile, 10k, 10 mile, half marathon and 30k,” he recounts, pausing between each to make sure he’s right. Then, with a laugh, “I think that’s all of them.”
“I was a hunter, my dad and both my brothers were big rabbit hunters. And the best places to hunt were the farthest away, and my dad always said not to be home past dark. I figured out, pretty early on, I could go farther if I could run back and save time.”
The pavement pounding ways instilled in the Maryville resident as he grew up in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.
He never stopped.
“When I met him, he was running,” says wife Mimi, of 27 years. “He’s very motivated and he just loves it. He’s just loved it all his life.”
Bueche ran his first marathon in 1987, but has transformed in his mid-50s thanks to a stricter diet, yoga, core strengthening, and his beloved beet power.
“It reacts with your nitric acid and creates nitric oxide. It dilates your blood vessels and helps improve your oxygen flow. And best of all, it’s all natural. I was skeptical, I tried it, and that’s when I noticed my performance really starting to improve and I started breaking those records.”
He pours a few ounces of bottled water into a well-worn cup, dumps a measured amount into the cup, and whips out a small, portable blender to whisk the two together. In one easy motion, he puts back his concoction.
“Oh it’s nasty,” Mimi says through a laugh. “I’ve smelled it, but I’ve never tasted it.”
One of his many running partners, Michelle Nuchols, agrees. “He’ll tell you, it tastes like dirt! No thank you!”
Tasty or not, the beets help. But the beat he creates in rhythm with the road is a tempo all of his own. The music was never sweeter than June in New Mexico. After struggling through the 5k due to an abnormally elevated heart rate, he bounced back with a 39:31 second place finish in the 10k, propelling him to the gold medal in his 55-60 age group.
“We knew it was coming, we knew it was coming,” Nuchols said. “He’s just worked so hard, he’s one of the most dedicated runners we have out here in Blount County.”
Nuchols laughs when she’s asked what it’s like to run with him. There’s not much keeping up with Bueche. He’s run more than 3,000 miles over the last 12 months. But it’s never been about where he’s going, rather, the family and friends by his side.
“Fast is a physical thing. That comes and goes. It’s fun being fast, but it means a lot more for people to say, hey you’re alright. We look up to you. It means a whole lot more.”