This Is Us' Sterling K. Brown talks about his love of running for relaxation, and talks about who would win in a race against costar Justin Hartley

By Julie Mazziotta
August 15, 2017 09:00 AM
Credit: Michael Lewis

Between filming This Is Us and his many upcoming movies (and picking up awards and nominations), Sterling K. Brown relies on running to get him through the day.

The actor says that pulling on his running shoes gives him clarity to get through his busy schedule.

“Running gives me the confidence to be at my peak throughout the rest of my day,” Brown, 41, tells Runner’s World for their September issue. “I feel free and light. In the midst of this storm that has become my life, giving myself that little bit of time helps me endure the craziness of everything else.”

Though sometimes, he has trouble finding that workout zen when he’s out in public.

“In the gym, people’s enthusiasm tends to get the best of them,” Brown says. “They realize this is their opportunity to say hello or that they love my work … It doesn’t matter how profusely you’re sweating. I’ve had people come stand in front of the treadmill and wait for me to acknowledge their presence so they can speak.”

Sterling K. Brown
| Credit: Michael Lewis

Brown started his running career on the track team in high school, but says he was a “terrible” sprinter. It wasn’t until age 21 that he picked up a solid routine.

“The first time I went on a serious run was when I was 21 years old at Stanford University,” he says. “From 21 to 30 I continued the tradition and ran 10 miles every year on my birthday.”

And in between his annual run, Brown goes for shorter mileage to fit in more time with his family.

“Nowadays, four miles is my sweet spot because I maximize my burn, but I don’t take away from my wife and two kids,” he says.

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Brown loves racing his 6-year-old son, Andrew (who gets a 20-ft. headstart), but he would be interested in taking on his This Is Us costar Justin Hartley.

“I’m not sure who would win in a race,” Brown says. “He’s got some long legs but I feel like I’ve got a slightly quicker turnover. It’s really tit for tat. It’s like the perfect competition between brothers.”

But if he was to lose, Brown would likely be okay with it — he’s learned not to overthink his running.

“There are days where I push faster than what I’m capable of and I have to stop early. But the biggest lesson I’ve learned is: Forgive yourself when you fall short and get out the next day to finish what you started.”