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Speedy Bret Greene plans to keep on running

By Lucy Peng

Bret Greene races toward yet another finish line.
Bret Greene races toward yet another finish line.

Alameda High School senior Bret Greene has had a stellar athletic career. Although he only began running seriously in the spring of his sophomore year when he joined the track team, he quickly distinguished himself as a top runner in both the sports of cross country and track and field.

Greene qualified individually for the 2014 North Coast Section Division II meet, a sporting event organized and governed by the statewide California Interscholastic Federation association,  in his senior year and ran one of the fastest times ever for any Hornet runner, running a 5k in a time of 16:43 minutes  or 5:23 minutes per mile.

Although the cross country team Greene led made fourth place and just missed qualifying for state championships, he placed in the top 10.

He also was the fastest runner who participated in the Alameda Midway Shelter Run-and-Walk event, with a time of 17:47.

Greene has always possessed a natural talent for running. He played soccer in middle school and though “he wasn’t good at it,” according to his sister Alanna Greene, he was “very fast and was put as a forward.”

Soccer never evoked the same passion from him as running did and he soon lost interest in the sport, joining the track team after his coach’s urgings.

“I had played soccer for a long time and enjoyed going for runs, not competitively,” Greene said. A friend of his told him about cross country “when they saw [him] going for a run on [his] own” and encouraged him to go to one of the practices.

“It turns out I had some talent,” he added. The coach urged him to continue with cross country and he “stuck with it.”

To prepare his body for racing season, Greene runs at least seven miles a day and attends practices usually two hours long, even running on his own if he misses practice. He also diligently stretches and ices his muscles after workouts to improve his agility and recovery time.

Over the most recent summer, he logged a staggering 500+ base miles to condition his body for fall cross country.

Alameda High cross country coach Nino Hernandez praised Greene, saying, “Bret is a coach’s dream athlete. He is willing to listen, learn, and help those around him.” Hernandez adds that his success stems from “his determination to be great.”

Greene’s peers and teammates echo Hernandez’s sentiments and unanimously agree that he is “a nice guy and considerate” and deeply committed to his sport.

Fellow cross country and track athlete Donald Wu said, “even though Bret is a relatively new runner, he is successful because of his natural talent and ability to keep up with his teammates. He listens to instruction well races consistently, and isn’t afraid to put in work.”

Senior Dong Thai agrees, saying Greene always puts in “hard work and dedication to running” and through that, was able to achieve his goals.

Thai adds that “Bret has an optimistic personality” and is “always positive about running.” After a bad race, “he doesn’t get frustrated about it but uses it as a mind set to train harder to do better the next race.”


One of Greene’s favorite moments in his athletic career was attending cross country’s 2013 summer training camp. It was a “really memorable team bonding experience,” Greene said. “We got good runs in” and “trained really hard.”

Thai says his favorite memory of Greene “was when he beat Kevin Feng at the first race of the season which made Kevin very mad.”

Wu recalls that during training camp, Greene “fought a racoon and tried to catch it,” creating “an experience for all of us that was fun and scary at the same time.”

“And it’s funny to make fun of him for not taking showers, since sometimes he decides to take a bath or go swimming in the pool instead. He’s aware it’s gross,” Wu jokes.

Greene will continue to pursue running in college. He plans to attend “one or two years at Chabot Community College,” where he was recruited, “and after that run for a school like UC San Diego or the University of Boulder.”

“I will miss Bret very much. I am extremely confident in his future as a student athlete,” Hernandez said.

His sister said, “It’s kind of amazing to see how far he’s come” and “find something where he’s included.”

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The Oak Leaf, a product of the journalism class, is a vehicle of student expression and a public forum for the Alameda High School community.