Q&A with Coach Hervat


Brett Hervat is the boys cross country coach, a science teacher at Bellaire and has an impressive background as a runner. Hervat has won numerous awards for running and has 26 years of experience as a coach.

Zoe George: When did you start the summer running program Wills Hills?

Brett Hervat: We have been running Wills Hills about 9 or 10 years, I forget the exact date, but for almost a decade.

ZG: Did any members on Bellaire Cross Country team participate in Wills Hills during the summer?

BH: This summer I had three kids running with me. Normally I have a lot more, but sometimes I have 15 or so. That is just from our team. We get about 100 kids from all over the city come and run in total.

ZG: How long have you been coaching?

BH: I started coaching 25 or 26 years ago, i have been coaching for a long time.

ZG: How do you identify a talented runner?

BH: You can tell a talented runner right away, some kids are just naturally faster runners than others.  In the first couple days you can see who is near the front and who is not.

ZG: So what skills does a talented runner have?

BH: Most of the talented runners are genetically gifted. They just have big lungs and a big cardio vascular system. Their muscles work more efficiently than most people, so running is just easy for them. They can run at a fast pace and it does not really have an effect on them, whereas normal people get tired almost immediately. A talented runner  can just run and run and run.

ZG: How many of your runners have gone off to get scholarships for college?

BH: I have had about four or five students run at the college level and some in division 1 and some have been division three. Some have received scholarships, but others have not. I have had two people get full on division 1 full ride scholarships. I have had other people get partial scholarships, and division North American.

ZG: Did you attend a university?

BH: I went to the University of Wisconsin, but I did not run cross country or track.

ZG: When did you first start running?

BH: I started running as a freshman in high school on the cross country team. I was not fast enough to run in college.

ZG: What advice do you have for the upcoming freshman who want to run cross country?

BH: You need to stick with it. The first few weeks and the first month is the hardest. You need to get through that initial tiredness because your body takes a while to adjust and improve. you have to give it time to do that and then things start getting easier. Once you have been running for five or six weeks.

ZG: What advice do you have for runners who are struggling?

BH: The same kind of thing you have to pay attention to your running form. A lot of beginners will shuffle their feet while they run, and you do not want to do that. A lot will bend over ,you want to run with good form, nice and tall.  You need to be nice and loose and let yourself run and It’s a skill that’s learned. You have to kind of practice that and if you stick with it you will become more efficient. It gets easier and better. The main thing is do not give up you have to keep working at it.

ZG: If you practice more will that make you a better runner?

BH: Obviously the more miles you put in every week the better. It takes a while for people to adjust to running. People do not become good runners in a week. Sometimes it takes years to improve but, the more they run and the more they pay attention to diet, the little details, the more quickly they are going to improve.